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Author Topic: The idea mill  (Read 7879 times)
Quinn Yellowfox
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« on: May 29, 2011, 12:05:31 AM »

Our little garret in the back alleys of the internet seems to go through spurts of activity followed by duldrums. It's the natural course of things. Activity in the Furry Writers Guild is just a trickle. Other sites that I visit are the same. In fact, we seem to be buzzing along in comparison. Daily life and it's inherent impediments can't be overcome. Still, I know there are ways we can improve.

Please consider this a place to express any ideas for increasing our usefulness and appeal.

I've noticed ideas passed around in other threads. Hopefully this will be a better venue. If you have ideas but don't want to voice them here, please let Altivo or me know privately. We want FurRag to remain relevant and vibrant. To do that, we need your input.

I'm starting this thread because Aflor sent me a good idea in an email. Fresh insights are welcome. Since his idea may take a couple of helping hands... erm, paws, I'll let him post it openly if he wants to.

There are a lot of moving parts and software limitations. Please don't be offended if the only response is "Sorry. That won't work." It's very difficult and labor intensive to explain all of the foibles in a forum like this.

Still, impractical ideas may spawn unexpected solutions.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 12:38:10 AM by Quinn Yellowfox » Logged

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Alflor
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 12:56:38 AM »

Okay, here's my idea. I was thinking of creating an account on FA in the FurRag's name. We can post information, any special events we may be planning, and maybe a few sample stories. Each member can link it to their profile and -- theoretically -- that should provide some decent advertisement for the site.
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 06:23:20 AM »

Okay, here's my idea. I was thinking of creating an account on FA in the FurRag's name. We can post information, any special events we may be planning, and maybe a few sample stories. Each member can link it to their profile and -- theoretically -- that should provide some decent advertisement for the site.

This is a good idea.

Though we also should plan events.  That would help too.
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 11:47:54 AM »

I agree, that's a very good idea. Jacky and I were also discussing last week the possibility of creating a FurRag Twitter account, though that would of course require that we first do something(s) Twitter-worthy.
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 08:59:14 PM »

@ Korygon: What kind of event were you thinking about? ScottyDM at Anthrofiction has quarterly competitions but recently hasn't gotten very many entries. I doubt we'd fare any better. The only prize we could offer might be featured story status on the frontpage for a period of time.

@Reiter: The Scarlet Letters project, when it's ready and working, may feed twitter. The forum moderator would have to run the account. Would you be up to tweet from time to time?
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 09:57:28 PM »

@Reiter: The Scarlet Letters project, when it's ready and working, may feed twitter. The forum moderator would have to run the account. Would you be up to tweet from time to time?
Sure. I'm not exactly sure *what* there will be to tweet, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Is there anything else we could do (aside from critique) that would motivate writers to write? The story contest sounds like a good idea, but as you pointed out, interest in them has been dwindling lately.
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 10:26:36 PM »

@Reiter: The Scarlet Letters project, when it's ready and working, may feed twitter. The forum moderator would have to run the account. Would you be up to tweet from time to time?
Sure. I'm not exactly sure *what* there will be to tweet, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Is there anything else we could do (aside from critique) that would motivate writers to write? The story contest sounds like a good idea, but as you pointed out, interest in them has been dwindling lately.

Yeah, story contests, as cool as they are, tend to sound a bit grade-schoolish. Besides, short of having pleasure of being better than everyone else, what could we possibly offer up as a prize?

As far as tweeting goes... we could tweet about story contests ... buuut those don't look like they're gonna happen, so I'm fresh out of ideas. I mean, we could do inspirational quotes or something.

I do have a question. Should we be motivating? As far as my personal belief goes, motivation for writing needs to come strictly from the individual. Or I'm just a Cynical Sandy -- the Negative Nancy of cynics.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 10:29:39 PM by Alflor » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 03:30:41 AM »

Umm... Facebook anyone? That's about as good as it gets for promotion.

Beyond that, why not tap into the podcast market that's constantly growing? Maybe present some kind of 'Furrag Presents' cast or something: highlight authors, talk about open submissions and contest, cross-promote with furry sites and publishers, present writing and editing tips, etc.
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 04:12:38 PM »

Beyond that, why not tap into the podcast market that's constantly growing? Maybe present some kind of 'Furrag Presents' cast or something: highlight authors, talk about open submissions and contest, cross-promote with furry sites and publishers, present writing and editing tips, etc.
I like the idea, but we might need to "level up" in the editing and literary appreciation departments first. I'm proud of our little group here and our capability to churn out quality reviews, but the fact is, we're all relatively new in the business and we still have a lot to learn. Kyell Gold and KM Hirosaki have been in this business for quite a long time, for example. They have decades of experience in writing and going through slushpiles and thinking about the craft to back them up.

Yeah, story contests, as cool as they are, tend to sound a bit grade-schoolish. Besides, short of having pleasure of being better than everyone else, what could we possibly offer up as a prize?
Eh, I think they appear grade-schoolish only if one makes them grade-schoolish. The Anthrofiction contests, for example, are geared towards professionals as well as part-time writers. I'm not sure, but I vaguely recall hearing about some of the winning entries making it into literary magazines.

Anthrofiction doesn't have any kind of prize, as far as I know. If anything, it presents an opportunity for writers to test the waters, see how "good" they are in comparison to other writers (technically, thematically, etc), and learn from their mistakes as well as those of others. The sense of competition is also more tangible in contests, and if you set high standards, that in itself is motivation for writers to push themselves even further (which can be good if you're in a slump).

I do have a question. Should we be motivating? As far as my personal belief goes, motivation for writing needs to come strictly from the individual. Or I'm just a Cynical Sandy -- the Negative Nancy of cynics.
I think we do. Writing is a very solitary business, fraught with hardships and despaaair setbacks. It's easy for writers to feel unappreciated in the mainstream, and more so in the furry fandom. If your passion is to write furry literature that doesn't have sex scenes in it, mainstream readers could ignore you for the furry element, furry readers for the sexlessness. That's on top of the fact that we are already a very visual fandom, and artists easily get dozens of times more views and faves that writers do. It can be easy to lose the will to write when you think no one cares.
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 04:19:06 PM »

I feel like we could start up our own short story anthology thing, similar to Roar, Fang, etc.  We can take submissions and have a group look over them, and either accept them, or reject with feedback for improvement.  For now, we could release them as free ebook sort of things, but in the future, maybe I could talk to fuzzwolf or someone about publishing them.  Just an idea.
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 04:32:18 PM »

I feel like we could start up our own short story anthology thing, similar to Roar, Fang, etc.  We can take submissions and have a group look over them, and either accept them, or reject with feedback for improvement.  For now, we could release them as free ebook sort of things, but in the future, maybe I could talk to fuzzwolf or someone about publishing them.  Just an idea.

That's an interesting idea, but I am a little bit concerned for how well it'll fly. after what happened to "New Fables" this year, it almost feels like anthologies are losing steam a bit. But hey, it wouldn't hurt to try. If we can get enough material together, we should totally send it in.
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 05:25:10 PM »

Perhaps I should be more specific about the Facebook thing. What I mean is Furrag doesn't have a Facebook page. Fur Affinity has a group page but it hasn't been updated in who knows how long and I don't think it's run by FA admins or anything. Same with SoFurry. Having an official Furrag page updated by admins or at least people strongly connected with Furrag might be a good promotion tool, especially when 12,569 people 'like' the furry fandom. XP
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 05:33:11 PM »

I feel like we could start up our own short story anthology thing, similar to Roar, Fang, etc.  We can take submissions and have a group look over them, and either accept them, or reject with feedback for improvement.  For now, we could release them as free ebook sort of things, but in the future, maybe I could talk to fuzzwolf or someone about publishing them.  Just an idea.

That's an interesting idea, but I am a little bit concerned for how well it'll fly. after what happened to "New Fables" this year, it almost feels like anthologies are losing steam a bit. But hey, it wouldn't hurt to try. If we can get enough material together, we should totally send it in.

Even if the stuff doesn't get published (which it will, because when I start the publishing half of AnthroAquatic, I would intend to put these works out), it's still a project for the community to work on, and might inspire togetherness, friendship bonds, and all that crap that makes Disney movies vomit out profits.
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 08:40:38 PM »

I've been lurking for a while due to dealing some RL stuff, but here I'll chip in my 2 cents...

First, I think the activities ideas are good... whether it's a contest or a group activity or something, just get people involved. Sometimes folks need some prompting to get them interested. Also as far as awareness goes, Facebook and Twitter aren't magic bullets but they're a start... at least people can integrate them into their daily internet addiction even if they don't visit furrag.com. Of course, the flipside of that is then someone has to provide content for those feeds, which takes a non-trivial amount of work.

Second, one of the things that makes it hard for me to work with furrag.com is the separation between the forums and the reviews - it feels like two completely different sites, and if you look at the activity on them, you'll see some folks posting on one but not the other. I don't if it's technically feasible, but better integration between the two I think would increase the visibility of both and possibly get more forum posts from writers/reviewers and more reviews/stories from forum posters.
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 09:18:55 PM »

Second, one of the things that makes it hard for me to work with furrag.com is the separation between the forums and the reviews - it feels like two completely different sites, and if you look at the activity on them, you'll see some folks posting on one but not the other. I don't if it's technically feasible, but better integration between the two I think would increase the visibility of both and possibly get more forum posts from writers/reviewers and more reviews/stories from forum posters.

Quoting because I mentioned the same thing in another thread.  I still believe that having a subforum for this would help immensely.
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