Vixenscratch

Short stories and serials by Alexandra Herakai

Archive for the ‘Meta’ Category

I’m Warning You…

Two characters speaking, the smaller one looking apprehensive, as if just given a warning

A panel from the online comic I.C.Q., which I co-write with Veritas, featuring Toni Squire (cat) and Cassandra Martinez (chinchilla)

One concern that in a way is unique (and, in other ways, when you start looking further into things, really isn’t) to writing which is self-published on the Internet, is that of content warnings. TV shows like Cops will start with generic warnings like “Due to the nature of this program, viewer discretion is advised,” and the text on the screen may go into enough extra detail to establish that it’s about violence, but that’s about it. It doesn’t mention on the book jacket of Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear that it contains rape scenes, but perhaps it should. Readers and viewers of mainstream media have to resort to other methods to find out whether the work they’re considering consuming contains content they for some reason want to avoid.

These other methods are not available for most fiction published online, no matter whether it’s original or fannish in nature, whether it features furry or human characters. So, at some point in the past, someone came up with the brilliant idea of posting content warnings with their stories. I will admit that I’ve previously primarily thought of these as squick warnings; it was only in the past year or two that the idea that they might be triggering to past sufferers of trauma even crossed my mind. Since I was already in the habit of warning for content, this didn’t really affect me very profoundly; I started being a little more careful about warning for stories which feature e.g. characters in a fragile mental state, but in the end? Whether you want to avoid something because it squicks you or because it’ll cause you to relive past trauma doesn’t matter. It’s (mostly) all the same to me, though I will admit to teasing a couple of straight friends about their refusal to read anything I write featuring men getting it on.

I was, recently, exposed to a massive argument that went down some time a bit more than a year ago, regarding a writer’s moral obligation towards zir readers. Am I, as a writer, obligated to show my readers the kindness of telling them what to expect from my work? Possibly not. I think, however, that I, as a human being, am obligated to be at least thoughtful enough to inform potential readers about the common triggers.

Beyond that, well… I’d rather flag my stories for gay sex (provided they actually do contain gay sex, of course) and have people who enjoy gay sex read them, than not flag, and end up killing (or worse, confusing) the boner of that mythical, elusive straight reader. I don’t see how saying “two guys will end up getting it on in the space of this story” is spoiling much of anything. For those of you who are concerned about spoilers (I also have no problem reading synopses before consuming a work for the first time; if it’s really worth reading or viewing it’s worth doing so twice, and with anything short of sudden-onset selective amnesia I’d be spoiled the second time no matter what), check the link list at the end of the article for code that’s compatible with pretty much anything that isn’t a phone browser or possibly Lynx.

It makes my heart ache that there are people out there who don’t seem to think people who’ve suffered trauma or abuse in the past deserve the courtesy of warnings. Hell, it upsets me enough that there are people out there who think people who “just” find some content squicky don’t deserve warnings. I’m fortunate enough that I can “turn off” most of my squicks and read a story from a detached, technical point of view (and I do encourage people to branch out and at least read things that aren’t specifically their turn-ons, even if it’s up to the individual to decide whether they can handle reading squick objectively), but not everyone else is. I honestly don’t understand where the artistic value in offending your reader lies. Even my own The Gift of Rosiel, which is supposed to be unpleasant, was never intended to be offensive, and I’d never dream of not warning for the abuse, violence and rape that story contains.

If I don’t want to read about your characters eating feces, I’m not going to be any more receptive to this kink because you didn’t warn for it. In fact, the lack of warning will probably adversely affect my overall impression of your story, even if I don’t intend to let it do so, because you didn’t give me the chance to brace, mentally, for something I find squicky. Why would you want a review from someone who finds themselves unexpectedly reeling with disgust?

I don’t intend to conflate squick and triggers by any of what I say above; I simply consider both worth being taken into account, and if you take all common squicks into account you’re going to be taking all common triggers into account, so in the end, if people can be convinced to warn for squick, the people with triggers will be all the better off for it. If you don’t want to warn for squick, at the very least you should warn for triggering subjects or, if you don’t even do that, have the basic fucking courtesy to warn that you don’t warn for content.

In a closing note, I’ll mention that on Vixenscratch, I do try to warn for triggers by way of post tags. This is not a perfect system (categories and tags show up at the bottom of the posts) if you’re being linked directly to the stories. It should be adequate for reading from the archive, as I also make sure to have no explicit content before the “read more” link. If I miss anything (being only human), let me know and I’ll fix it. I know some people have issues with the term “dub-con” (or “dubious consent” as I’ve tagged it). The way I use it, it’s generally for issues such as a character withdrawing consent after it’s already been given and not telling zir partner about it, or neither character being entirely in a state to give informed consent (who’s taking advantage of whom if you’re both piss drunk?).

Further Reading:
Sexual Assault, Triggering, and Warnings: An Essay by Impertinence (Warning: Very explicit discussion of sexual assault and the nature, anatomy, cause & effect of triggers. Is itself triggery.)
Warnings & How To Do ‘Em by Amadi (HTML code snippet for generating warnings.)

Image Caption Links:
The Mephit’s Tales – Veritas’s storyblog
I.C.Q. – Veritas’s and my free webcomic


Can’t Take the Heat

It's natural to need someone sometimes. The question is who?

The world of writing is, maybe by necessity, full of plot devices. Some of them work well more often than not, while some others tend to be implausible at best at least nine times out of ten. This entry is about one of the latter, one largely specific to the furry fandom.

Friction between characters, as we all know, tends to lead to conflict. And conflict, well… it’s hard to have plot without it. I’m not going to say impossible, because someone would come and prove me wrong (which would be embarrassing, since I’m never wrong), but most plot in some way is based around conflict. Maybe I see even more of this because I tend to favor character-driven stories, I don’t know.

While I’m not nearly silly enough to claim that furry writing is synonymous with porn, I won’t deny that there is a healthy slice out of the furry fiction cake which deals with (among other things) the (usually mutually enjoyable, though of course there are exceptions) exchange of bodily fluids. This is fine. Sex is a normal and healthy human activity, and all that. There are some things I really wish people would think more about when writing porn, but that’s for another article to ramble about. What I’m going to talk about here is much more basic:

Fucking the enemy.

It can be a great premise, no doubt there. Treachery, self-doubt, all kinds of mixed emotions to explore. Sometimes people really do get attracted to the people who are the worst for them. If you can pull it off, more power to you, and I’d love to read it. But for fuck’s sake… For all that is good and holy in this world… Why do so many writers resort to what may possibly be the cheapest plot device in the history of pornography? You want your character to fall for the enemy? Put her in heat! Have him go into rut! Problem solved!

Consider my suspension of disbelief seriously jarred. I’m talking shaken baby syndrome jarred, here.

Now, putting a character into season can make for an interesting story. Body says one thing, head says another; inner conflict is delicious. But what says that matter always has to win over mind? Or why don’t the characters (except in rare cases) at the very least rationalize their actions? This can be done marvellously. Writing characters having sex with someone they hate can result in some pretty damn powerful stuff. I had an excellent example of this in Cassandra Claire’s Harry Potter fanfiction work A Season in Hell, where Harry Potter and his archnemesis Draco Malfoy (you know, the poor bloke who “never stood a chance“) start up a sexual relationship when Hogwarts is under siege from the Death Eaters. Unfortunately, Ms. Claire has since taken this work offline. But the point stands. You can have sex with someone because you hate them that badly, with the right kind of mental somersaults.

Because the fact of the matter is, anyone who experiences heat or rut as powerfully as the characters in some furry erotic fiction do, most likely would have thought of ways to avoid getting caught in a position where they want to sex up someone who inspires nothing but loathing in them. I may have many other problems with the work, but Bernard Doove’s More Terrible Than Chains shows several examples of overpowering heat/rut done in a reasonable way. This despite the fact that the characters in question are custom-designed exotic sex slaves, who do in some cases throw themselves at anyone and anything when hit by the urge.

So they either make sure they don’t get put in that position (a rabbit doe builds a barricade of crates around herself, as anyone touching certain areas of her body throws her into uncontrollable lust and sends her intelligence down the drain), or they try to make sure there is nobody objectionable to throw themselves at when they’re put in that state (the hermaphroditic main character locks hirself in hir cabin during the peaks of hir male/female cycle rather than be the slave to hir overpowering sexual needs). None of the arrangements are particularly advanced; they’re the kind anyone could make if they have two brain cells to rub together, as long as the character genuinely doesn’t want to jump the bones of anything with a pulse.

This doesn’t mean that it’s always a paper-thin, cheap plot device when a character goes into season and ends up getting involved with someone unexpected. But it doesn’t take that much to establish that clouded judgement and overactive hormones are pushing a character to see more of their foe’s good qualities, and excusing the bad, rather than have the character, still thinking about how much they hate this guy, home in on his cock like a zombie hungers for brains.

Works mentioned:
A Season in Hell by Cassandra Claire. Previously published online; currently unavailable.
More Terrible Than Chains by Bernard Doove. ISBN 978-1440446962


What’s in a Name?

This young lady's name is Jenny Jones - can you guess why?

One part of writing that very few stories let you escape, and which I (and I believe many writers with me) often dread and try to put off, sometimes until it gets ridiculous, is naming the characters. Now, some of them seem to come with a name, and some are the kind of people for whom any old name will fit like a glove, but a lot of the time, naming characters is a lot of work. Naming them well is a little more work yet, and something that it sometimes seems like furry writers have more problems with than most.

The first thing that applies, regardless of how you choose your names, is consistency. I once read a very good essay on the topic, but I don’t seem able to locate it again. The main point there is that you have to keep in mind that someone named this character, as a child, and that someone didn’t exist in a vaccuum. The same small village is unlikely to be the birthplace of both John Doe and Drizzt Do’Urden, especially not if both children’s parents were born and bred in the village, and maybe also their parents before them. In some settings this is something that should receive world-wide consideration; in a column on The Guardian‘s website, Imogen Russel Williams criticizes Terry Goodkind for a poor choice of name for the protagonist of his Sword of Truth series, just because of that name’s incongruity with the rest of the setting. [1]

Now, there are several ways you can approach choosing a name for a character; sometimes you need to take your setting and/or your character’s culture into account when deciding which method is most appropriate for you, but that’s something you, as the writer, will know better than I. Still, the setting and culture in some way determine the first choice in a line of choices: do you pick a name at random (characters’ parents sat down with a book of baby names and picked ones they liked the sound of, with little to no regard to the name’s meaning), or do you want a name with meaning? Arguably, characters named after, say, a grandparent fall somewhere in between; their name has meaning to their immediate family, but it doesn’t need to be a name that will invoke anything to the reader, which is what I primarily am looking at when it comes to names with a meaning.

The kind of meaningful name that is probably the least work is simply sitting down with a half-decent baby name website and searching either names you like to find one that has a somewhat appropriate meaning, or searching meaning keywords until you find a name you can live with. This is usually a step in my naming my MUCK characters, though often I have some vague idea of what I’d like the name’s origin to be, as well. This may be what comes in the most handy to writers whose work is set in modern-day worlds which differ comparably little from the world we live in. After all, there may well be people named Legolas, Eowyn, Drizzt or Moon Child in our mundane world, but chances are their parents are hopeless nerds or hippies.

In the setting of Robin Hobb’s The Farseer trilogy, meaningful names are the priviledge of the royal family. They alone are given names which tradition has it will shape their future behavior and personality. [2] A descendant of the first king whose name is Humble can thus be expected to show humility. In Hobb’s case, these names seem to, to some extent, operate by “be careful what you wish for”; while most of the characters show the traits they’re named for, they often do so with a bitter aftertaste. This is almost in the tradition of Charles Dickens, whose writing includes quite a few characters whose names are evocative of some aspect of their personality or nature. This can be a very effective method of naming characters, but it can sometimes come off as too symbolic; Williams observes that with a name like that, J. K. Rowling’s “Draco Malfoy never stood a chance”. [1] By all means, do use this method of naming if it appeals to you, but proceed with caution — it may be best suited to seemingly “simple” tales.

I personally have used what may be a rather cruel twist on Hobb’s naming scheme on a character of mine created for the World Tree role-playing game, whom I journal for as “Stickseed”. The game’s rulebook describes the Herethroy (bug-people) names in actual everyday use as: [3]

Herethroy nicknames tend to be simple. Many are descriptive. Redspot probably has a prominent red spot on zir carapace. For variety, these nicknames may be given in different World Tree languages, which in this book are translated into different terrestrial languages: Arconegro (black curve), Mainvert (green hand), Braithdu (speckled black). Nondescriptive names tend to be herbal: Treeset, Greenswire, Eyebright.

The name Stickseed (nickname, really; the species has long and complicated names that are rarely really used, so for all sensible purposes, the nickname is the only name a player character is going to have in practise) was self-chosen, evocative of her desire to stick to her convictions however much it may be a thorn in her conspecifics’ eyes, much like a burr. Before leaving her home village, she was instead known as Greengrass; it’s a reminder from her parents that she is a nobody, just like green grass is nothing to take note of. A sort of twisted memento mori; “remember your inferiority.”

Which brings me to the next, related, class of meaningful names, and the one where, in my experience, most aspiring furry writers stumble. Names based on physical apperance. At a glance, these seem to be pretty simple; just stick together a descriptive name, right?

Wrong.

What I see far too many writers fail to take into account is that names based on appearance should be based on something that is distinctive about the individual. Let’s say you have a fox character named Red. Now, what reasons could his parents have had for giving him that name? There are a few possibilities:

  • Red was adopted by, say, a pack of wolves as an infant, so his typical-fox rust-reddish fur was actually distinctive to his “parents”.
  • Red’s fur isn’t just usual fox red-brown, but bright fire engine crayon red. Okay, at that point the red fur would be distinctive.
  • Red had absolute shit parents. You know, the kind that would name their son “Boy”.

Funnily, in most cases where I find foxes named Red, or equally generic names, none of the above seem to obviously be the case. But what I think writers need to remember is that names are (typically) given to children by parents, or in particularly unlucky cases, by an unlikeable bumbling idiot of a parish beadle. This doesn’t mean that names need to be particularly imaginative — I have an otherwise pure black unicorn character named Ace for the white Ace of Diamonds marking on his forehead — but if they’re based on appearance, they should probably not describe 90% or more of local children their age.

The last category of meaningful names, and the ones I may personally find the most entertaining to play with, are the ones that are meaningful not because of what meaning is assigned to the name in a book of baby names, but because of who else has carried that name before the character. Subtle (or not-so-subtle) nods to other works are hardly anything new, but done well, they can lend a new dimension to a work. T. S. Eliot, in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), introduces the reader to the nefarious criminal mastermind cat Macavity, who is described in a way that is clearly a homage to Arthur Conan Doyle’s archvillain Professor Moriarty. In a more recent example, characters in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events just so happen to share a last name with some poet or other (Baudelaire, Poe), and poetry figures in one way or another in several of the books.

I personally enjoy hiding literary references (often quite far-fetched) and puns (characters like a ferret named Jillian, a deer named Jane, a rabbit named Buck, etc.) as little “easter eggs” in my writing, in character names and sometimes also in situations or places featured in the text. The key to doing such effectively (and I’m not saying I can always pull this off) is to find the point where the people who get it are amused or feel like they’re in on some amazing secret, but the people who don’t catch the reference don’t feel like they’re missing something. Ideally it also shouldn’t come off as cheesy, but sometimes the joke is just too good to pass up.

Sources:
1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/mar/16/fantasy-character-names, retrieved Aug 8 2010
2. Mördarens lärling (orig. title Assassin’s Apprentice) by Robin Hobb. Chapter 1; page 11. ISBN 91-27-07119-7
3. World Tree by Bard and Victoria Bloom. Pages 24-25. ISBN 1-890096-10-5


For Posterity

'Is it safe to come out?'

One of the ever-present worries of the writer (and the artist, but we’re looking at the writer here – though I will say the image I’m illustrating this entry with dates back to 2001) is one’s older work. There’s a delicate balance there; how much should be kept around for posterity? How soon can one say “no, that tripe is embarrassing” and take it down in an attempt to forget it ever existed? How often is it really as bad as the writer, always his own harshest critic (though I’ve read some stories that make me doubt that adage), thinks it is?

I’m not innocent of this myself. I’ve neglected to bring some of my older writing onto this blog because I found it not up to my current standards. In many cases it’s not the plot, but the language; I tend to find my early English, whether in the form of creative writing or old chat logs, pretty embarrassing. What of it I still have around (which, honestly, is most of it, as I’m a horrible packrat – the only writing I know for sure I’ve ever lost is a couple of short scenes that got lost with my Creative Writing portfolio, and a number of pages of my 7th grade magnum opus that my younger brother deleted from the family computer for false, petty reasons) I’d probably share if someone came and asked me for that one story about this or that which they read way back when, but I’ll not share it spontaneously anymore. There’s enough bad writing to go around. My old comic work may be even harder hit by the “it’s old and embarrassing” mallet; a couple of years’ worth of my webcomic Paladins’ Haven is never again going to see the light of the Internet if I have any say.

Yet, despite all these failings of my own, and my determination to not make up for them by posting even the writing that’s still available elsewhere online unless I actually think it lives up to some fuzzy minimum quality standard, I think this is the wrong way to go about it in principle. I believe that, generally speaking, there’s probably a grain of good in most of the stuff we feel embarrassed about. I know someone who is quietly ignoring his old writing, while I still find it quite readable and enjoyable, though I will admit that the few pieces he did rewrites of were improved with his added experience in the writing craft.

I can look at my old art and see that it’s not nearly as horrible as I once thought, as though there’s a stage between recent and old where you know you can do better but don’t have the distance from the work to see the merits it still does have. I still don’t have that distance when it comes to writing, but I hope it will come in time, and when it does happen, I’ll be capable of doing good rewrites of old concepts. I look forward to revisiting some of those old stories, even if I have to completely revise the plots due to experience showing me just how plausible many of them weren’t. Not yet, but one day. So that’s one vote for “don’t burn your old notebooks.”

There’s more, however. I want to take another step. What I want to say from up here on my purely fictional soapbox, is don’t delete. Don’t take things down. Chances are someone enjoyed it, and will be saddened to come back to their old bookmarks to find it gone. Websites disappear, domains expire, free webspace suddenly goes for-pay, killing all the great free sites they once hosted. It happens. But I have to wonder how many of the now-forever-broken links on, say, Mia’s Index, were broken because the writer grew self-conscious. I went looking for a piece of fanfiction, yesterday, which I have read twice over the years, and which illustrated one aspect of a concept I want to touch on in here some time in the future quite well, as I recall. It was gone; the only thing that remains of it is vague mentions, a few recommendations, and two sentences’ worth of quotes from it in a LiveJournal post.

Don’t be ashamed of your writing. Don’t post with the intent of later removing the work. Sometimes you have to take that step, but don’t plan on it in advance, is all I ask, really. If nothing else, a budding writer will see how far you’ve come and be inspired.

There are worse things to be, than inspiration for someone’s striving to improve.

Related links:
Mia’s Index of Anthro Stories – textbook example of what happens over the years when you link and don’t archive
My Elfwood Library – see how far I’ve come; I’ll be over in that corner pretending I don’t know me


Where Do the Fur and Tail Come In?

There are many reasons for writing furry stories.

My personal character engaged with a sheet of paper and a pencil.

When furry writers start discussing furry fiction, two issues that seem to universally come up are what makes furry fiction, and what writing stories featuring anthropomorphic characters entails. In this entry I’m going to focus on the latter, and especially on physically anthropomorphic characters, as they are generally what is used in furry fandom.

One point that I’ve seen getting raised in practically every such discussion, is the idea that you should not include furry characters unless you have a good reason for it. If you can’t give a good reason why Susan is a wolf, you should just keep Susan as a human, without having fur, tail and ears stuck on. On the surface, this is a good, reasonable argument. In some circumstances, it holds water with the best of them, but in others, it’s honestly about as waterproof as the Titanic.

But that argument is forgetting one important point. And to illustrate that point, I’m going to tell you a story from my childhood.

When I was little, I had a friend who lived two houses over. She was 11 months older than I, and looking back I realize it probably wasn’t the most equal friendship, but at the time, well… kids are kids and not always the most insightful. But there’d be days when I just didn’t feel like playing with this friend, who could be very bossy and overbearing at times. She’d call and ask me to play, and I’d say “no”. So she’d ask why. I’d say “because”. And she’d say “because isn’t a real reason.”

She was wrong. “Because” is a perfectly adequate reason. I can write stories about bipedal foxes getting it on because I want to. You can write stories about anthropomorphic tigers because you like anthropomorphic tigers. It doesn’t have to go deeper than that.

Along with the idea that you need a deep reason to write about animal-people going about their day instead of about humans doing the same, goes the notion that you need to put deep thought into how a society of furries would have developed differently from ours. To some extent that may be a good idea, but when you get to the point of chairs and clothes appropriate for creatures with fur and a tail, you’re honestly forgetting another point: if this is a society where everyone has them, nobody’s going to reflect over how awesome it is that the chair has a gap for theil tail any more than you marvel over your shirt having holes for both your arms to come out.

The key, as in all world-building, is consistency. If you have an all-furry setting, and species influences the behavior of the dogs, it should influence the behavior of the cats, as well. There is no shame in writing where the furry components are little more than window dressing, as long as you’re aware that’s what you’re doing and do it for all your characters across the board. It is a lot more jarring to have a story full of characters which don’t act significantly different from humans and one labrador who compulsively chases cars and tennis balls, than it is to have a story of what I have seen described as “humans in fursuits”.

That said, if you have a setting which mixes humans and furries, it may be to your advantage to make sure there’s something other than the outside setting them apart, but what exactly this should be depends on your social setting. If there’s friction and distrust, chances are the differences will be greater than if everyone is living in harmony.

All you need to write furry fiction (as opposed to non-furry fiction — I’m sorry to say, if you can’t write, you can’t write) is the desire to write about anthropomorphic animals.

Further reading:
Academic essay about Colin Dann’s The Animals of Farthing Wood


What is Furry Fandom?

Dalia the Beerhorse and Toni Squire have a friendly glass of beer.

Dalia the Beerhorse and Toni Squire have a friendly glass of beer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, on and off, over the last couple of months. Furry fandom is, really, unique among fandoms, at least in western culture. I get the impression the doujinshi culture in Japan may in some ways be closer than most other examples, but I lack the deeper experience to really say one way or the other. I’m not going to get into definition of furry, as it’s not terribly relevant to what I’m trying to say here. There is an affinity for anthropomorphic animals, and it’s a respectably large fandom, with one of its best-known gallery sites reporting an active userbase of  over 200,000 at the turn of the year [1] and its largest convention reaching a final attendant count of 4,238 in 2010 [2]. That’s a lot of people. And that’s kind of what I’m talking about. Furry fandom as fandom, rather than as what they’re fans of.

One difference lies in that the fans and the content creators are to such a large degree the same. This is distinct from the creators-as-readers dynamic in, for instance, a writing circle, because of scale as well as lack of exclusivity. Zaush, the most popular artist on FurAffinity according to the site FA Rank, is still watching 745 other users, getting notified of their submissions [3]. The separation between content creators and fans that is inherent in most fandoms is simply largely inexistant; there is a lot less “us” (the creators) versus “them” (the unwashed mob that argues about whether Han Solo shot first).

Another difference, which further greys the boundary between fans and the object of their appreciation, is that fans are, in fact, in one way or another, the source for a lot of the content brought to the furry fandom. Fans pay for the content other fans appreciate. Not in the indirect sense of wandering down to the comic book shop and picking up the latest copy of Spider-Man or whatever it is you kids read these days, but directly, through requests and commissions. The fans’ thoughts fuel the creators, which is a pretty neat concept. If you want a picture of a hedgehog girl walking through a field with a wreath of flowers on her head, you can simply find an artist taking commissions, send them a few tenners through PayPal, and they will draw your hedgehog girl, because that’s what they do.

Thus, I would argue that furry fandom is, largely, a very self-appreciating sort of place. Anyone has something to bring to the party, and it doesn’t have to be just a common appreciation for Sailor Moon’s ability to kick a whole lot of ass in between bouts of crying. I have met very few furries who don’t eventually invest some of their imagination into the fandom. It could be drawing, writing, role-playing on forums, MU*s or IMs, commissioning artists to create content others will enjoy alongside the commissioner, or just something as simple as, in their own minds, creating the furry character they use to represent themselves.

Sources:
1. http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/1123385/, retrieved Jun 29 2010
2. http://twitter.com/anthrocon/statuses/17195986201, retrieved Jun 29 2010
3. http://superwailingbonus.com/farank/?page=1, retrieved Jun 29 2010


Introduction to Vixenscratch Meta

Violet vixen with a teacher's stick

"Listen up, class! I'm here with my teacher's stick to straighten things out for you..."

I’m a pretty opinionated person, as they go. It follows that I don’t just write, but I also have thoughts on writing, both as a craft and as it pertains to furry fandom. Hell, I have thoughts on fandom, too, in ways that I feel are relevant to my talking about furry writing but which still aren’t really about the writing side of fandom, as such. I could just post these up on my LiveJournal, of course, but I felt that these thoughts would be better off posted in connection to my writing, so I made it happen.

Some of what you can expect to see here are thoughts on big general tendencies within furry fandom, my thoughts on what should and should not be done in furry writing, and how, my thoughts on storytelling techniques, and maybe something like reviews or interpretations of larger works. I do not post things which are primarily or solely related to the visual art side of the furry fandom; for such musings, you’re better off trying my FA journal.

The form I utilize is typically a very rough bastardization of every referencing method in existence. I don’t subscribe to strict referencing standards, as having to find sources for everything I say is a constraint I’m seriously uncomfortable with in academic writing. The articles here are, when push comes to shove, opinion pieces. However, whenever I actually go look something up for the purpose of writing one of these pieces, I do make sure to take note of the sources, and as such there will often be source references inside my texts. Sometimes I include links or references to published works under the heading Further Reading, which contains reading which hasn’t strictly served as a source for the article, but which I feel is still somehow relevant. When applicable, I try to include ISBN numbers, as those are a very effective way of pinpointing an exact edition of a work.

I encourage you to read these articles, and take with you the ideas that strike a chord with you. Comment or pingback if you feel you have something relevant to say on the subject, and I may come back to it at a later date. I do charge my readers with one thing: if you’re going to comment, I do expect you to remain civil and respect other people’s opinions.