by Michæl W. Bard
©2006 Michæl W. Bard
I admit it: As a writer, Ive always been a trifle miffed at the lack of respect writers get within furry fandom. As a reference, check out the Furry Social Order entry on Wikifur. Note how artists are on the very top; porn writers are in the middle; and furry story writers are at the very, very bottom, wallowing in the muck and crap.
In a conversation recently, I had an epiphany as to why this might be.
First, some background though, for those of you who are only familiar with the furry side of fiction. Transformational fiction is defined, for me, as fiction that describes the occurrence, and the results, of one individual transforming into another. To cite a simple example: A fur-fan transforms from their real-life human form into their preferred/dream furry form. As for transformation art, that is either a series of snapshots of a physical transformation, a video/animation of a transformation, or a single picture of the transformation event realization by the affected individual. This last sort generally depicts the instant they look at themselves and realize that Things Arent What They Should Be.
And, for the transformation reader fan who has followed me here, and to be fair, the definitions (my own anyway) of the furry equivalents.
What do I consider a furry? I define a furry as an anthropomorphic animal; that is to say, an animal with human characteristics. Sentience is an absolute requirement (for me, at least); in addition, there are often such typical traits as walking upright, possessing hands, and being able to communicate. A case can be made for sentient animals without any other human characteristics being considered furries.
Furry fiction is defined as a story in which some or all of the individuals are furries; furry art is artwork depicting at least one furry. Simple, isnt it?
So: Why is artwork much more popular than fiction in furrydom (when did somebody ever bid $10,000 for a furry story?), and why is fiction more popular than artwork in transformationdom? (And is that even a word?!)
For a transformation, it is far easier to depict a transformation in fictioni.e., the written wordthan to depict it in art. Art requires either many pictures, or a perfect instant to be captured. Neither are easy or simple. And, even the best ones fail to capture the emotions, feelings, scents, etc, experienced by the transformed individual. Or, in other words: Where transformation is concerned, fiction does a better job, and is easier to create well, than art.
For a furry individual, it is far easier to depict the furry as art, than in fiction. The reason is simple. A picture of a furry instantly and easily captures what the furry is, what they look like, and why theyre different from humans. However, in a story it is much harder! In fact, most furry fiction could be de-furry-ized by replacing all the characters with humans, and it would not significantly alter the story. Try it some time.
In other words: Furry art is comparatively easy to do well, and is distinctive, whereas furry fiction is far harder to do distinctively. Thus, each genre prefers the medium that is easier and more successful for their specific interests.
And there you go. Thoughts?