Interview: Dajan Tafari on Spin the Bottle and Writing Vore

Content Warning: This interview contains discussions about adult works that include the topic of vore content.

Welcome back everyone — it’s time for our first interview of 2021! Today we sat down to interview Dajan Tafari, the author of the recently released Spin The Bottle from Fenris Publishing. Dajan is a lion furry who joined the fandom back in 2012 and was once the type to lurk while making pencil drawings in the fandom. Five years ago he began writing and drawing vore content and the rest is history.

With our introduction out of the way, let’s get to that interview!

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

Dajan: Well I guess that depends on what you mean by “good.” I’ve read stories that were badly written that I enjoy, and I’ve read well-written works that were a slog to get through. When I write, I tend to prioritize the emotional arc. I know I’ve done a good job with a story if I’ve made my readers feel something: happiness, relief, grief, laughter, anger. I ask myself, what contributes to that final catharsis.

Everything is just one brick in the road that takes the reader to that moment to maximize the emotional impact. I want to read a story that affects me similarly. I want to be moved. The stories that move me are the most memorable, and I’d say that is the most important thing for me when judging if a story (either mine or someone else’s) is “good.”

FWG: You wrote what is likely the first vore focused novella out for the furry market. What got you interested in writing a vore story?

Dajan: Well personally liking vore is a big part of it. Most of the stories I’ve written for FurAffinity were in the vore kink, and I’ve done a fair number of commission vore stories. There’s a lot of great vore art out there, but a good vore story is harder to find. Because vore is such a niche community, often times people have to take what they can get. So you see a lot—and this is more true for non-furry vore writers than furry vore writers by my estimates—of flash fiction single scene stories that are made quickly to satisfy quickly. You get a lot of carbon-copy flashes without much substance.

The problem with that is you miss out on all the stuff that can make erotica so engaging: the tension, the anticipation, the relationship itself. A good vore story has that. Some of the best vore stories I’ve ever read are actually quite long; ten thousand words or more.
I write the kinds of stories that I want to read myself. Most of my works available on FurAffinity are pretty long for short stories. I like to take my time building up to the actual indulgent scenes.

Erotica is all about feelings: arousal, tension, suspense, anticipation, and release. And so writing erotica in general lets me really focus on that emotion-centric writing process. My long stories earned praise that told me that I was doing something right. People would comment on the length and say in one way or another that it contributed to the enjoyment.

I think vore is an especially unique kink that can become incorporated into the world of the story itself. The way the rules of vore operate in a given scenario can influence the genre of the story. The way the society treats it can open up so many doors for plot. I’ve always been fascinated by the unique pred-prey relationships that can be afforded by furry fiction that you can’t see in human stories.

Vore lets me tell unique stories, and so after having moderate success in my freelance work, going to furry conventions and seeing people unashamedly buying vore-related art packs and merchandise from other artists, and then managing to have a vorish story published in Rechan’s and KC Alpinus’s “Thrill of the Hunt” anthology, made me want to go all the way. It made me realize that there’s not just a market for longer stories in the vore fandom. There’s a market for vore in the furry fandom.

When I started writing “Spin the Bottle” I imagined it would just be a short one-off story, maybe six to ten thousand words, but I became really invested in the characters while writing their earlier scenes, and I wanted to see how far I could take this. Once I was about thirty thousand words in, I knew this was the piece that I could take all the way. So I added some more vore scenes to help with the pacing, added a couple more characters to flesh out the arcs, and after a few months of rigorous edits and helpful feedback from my boyfriend, I had a working draft that I started to send to various furry publishers.

FWG: What challenges came with writing about a niche kink? Were there any concerns on if a publisher would pick it up?

Dajan: Oh there definitely was that concern. The furry fandom is wonderfully sex-positive in most regards, but you don’t want to push kinks on people, especially unsuspecting editors. So I started by reaching out via email to the various furry publications. They all have those emails listed to ask for submission guideline clarifications for a reason after all, so I started by just reaching out to see if it was even something they’d accept. It saved everyone a lot of time and potential discomfort. In the end I found two that were willing to publish vore writings at all, so the project basically had to get shelved until they opened for submissions. It’s just like writing any other book, except a single rejection would cut your prospects in half.

FWG: With those kinds of challenges in mind do you think it’s worth it for other authors to try and take on other specific niches similar to vore in their writing?

Dajan: I definitely think they should if for no other reason than to prove that niche material sells. The entire furry fandom is a living example of the good that can happen when people with a niche interest can come together and inspire each other to make great things. I doubt that what I wrote will do for vore what 50 Shades of Gray did for BDSM, but it’s a nice pipe dream. The furry fandom gets stronger when we share more unique stories not less.

When I submit non-erotic stories for publication in the fandom I often see that little blurb in the submission guidelines of “No foxes at Starbucks.” There’s already a desire to break away from clichés. What better way to do that then to open up more publications to these kinks? If more people are writing those stories, and more people are supporting those writers, I think the spaces will be made in one way or another to let non-traditional kink erotica have its place in the fandom. The furry fandom is already such an immense buffet (pun not intended) so why not strive to add one more side dish?

The barrier to entry is high right now, but I hope that if other erotica writers try to carve out the space for their work then maybe that barrier can whittle down over time. I hope that this is the start of a trend and not a lucky outlier, but time will tell. Personally I would love to fill my bookshelf with vore books by the authors I like. Writing is writing, but having something bound in paper adds a certain amount of legitimacy that I’d like to see extended to more furry authors

FWG: So do you have any other future projects in the works? A sequel to your already successful story?

Dajan: I always have future projects. “Spin the Bottle” IS going to get a sequel. The working title is “Truth or Dare” and it will pick up where the first book left off. As I mentioned before, I love exploring pred-prey relationships, and I’m looking forward to fleshing out—or I guess you could say fattening up—the world and side characters as well as exploring the notion of consequences, the effects and aftershocks of the first book’s events.

I also have a book of vore short stories in the works as well as adapting an old unfinished miniseries of mine into a book. And that’s just the erotica. I’ve got plenty of short stories, poems, and non-furry books to write that will keep me busy for a long time to come.

FWG: Would you have any advice for people who might want to write a vore story for the first time?

Dajan: I guess that depends on if the writer is into vore or not. If you’re into vore, you’ll know what you like (and there’s a lot of versatility to the kink). And because there’s so much versatility, if you aren’t into vore, if you’re approaching the kink as an outsider, you want to do your research. The aesthetics of vore tend to be obvious: big bellies, belches, bulges; you know, the three Bs. If you don’t know the nuances of what makes those things sexy (or comforting for my asexual vore-lovers), then you’ll step into the cliches that won’t spark joy.

In erotica, emotion is so critical. To go back to those infamous single-scene stories with no sense of build-up, I don’t typically come away feeling much of anything, especially arousal or satisfaction. So many of them are just, “Mean guy stomps in, says something demeaning to the prey, gulps them down, and then says something else demeaning.” It’s superficial. I’m not saying that those stories are made by people who aren’t in the vore community, but there are a lot of people in the vore community who wouldn’t make those pieces their go-to content, and outsiders who want to try their hand at the craft of vore stories would need to do their homework BECAUSE many people want more than that out of their vore stories.

I think any successful vore story needs to have some sort of arc to it (even if it’s something simple). It doesn’t need a big extravagant plot, but there needs to be a set-up, conflict, and pay-off whether physical, ethical, moral, societal, etc. Talk to vorephiles and come to them with a sense of curiosity. Even if you’re already into vore, talking to other vorephiles is critical. What one person might find sexy, another person might find offputting. Knowing turn-ons and turn-offs is especially necessary when doing freelance writing for others. And learning about the ins and outs of the fetish from other people can often enrich your own appreciation of it. Try to build a sense of community if you don’t have that. Make friends who you can talk to about it. Sharing and bouncing ideas off each other is great for inspiration and developing stories in the early stages.

Spin the Bottle wouldn’t have gotten as far as it did without my boyfriend and other good friends in the vore community to help edit and expand it. Talking to people about your ideas and desires, the things you want to try, other ways to approach the kink, and what you both love about other stories you’ve read is one of the most important things you can do to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the kink and its community so that you can create works that will bring satisfaction to others. No writing can happen in a vacuum, and that’s especially true for vore.

FWG: Any last things you’d want to tell our readers?

Dajan: So as I mentioned above, one of the things I love the most about vore is the versatility of it and the unique affordances that such predatory dynamics can add to the world and the story. If you aren’t into vore, definitely do some research and learn more about it. I think the kink is widely misunderstood. So I actually would encourage non-vore furries and non-vore non-furries to read vore.

The anime Beastars has been making waves in the furry fandom (and outside the furry fandom), and while I would argue that that isn’t vore, it does create a tense and intriguing story that can only be told with the predator/prey dichotomy of a furry world where civilized people consume each other. Vore can put a less grotesque spin on those dynamics.

I’m happy to say that two of my best friends who are not into vore or even furries at all both read my book and even though they don’t share the kink or even fully understand it, they enjoyed the story for what it was. One of them was even kind enough to write a glowing review about its plot and characters for my publisher’s newsletter (anonymously of course). Because vore is a kink and also a unique storytelling device, I would love to see it garner more legitimacy in the furry fandom rather than pushed aside as “the weird fetish.” I’m sure it will be a long time coming before it’s acceptable in the mainstream, but even if you aren’t aroused or comforted by the content, I think there’s a lot to be gained for “normies.”

I set out to publish the first printed vore book (that is to add not self-published), and now that I succeeded, what I want most of all is to see other people enjoy it for the merits of its story and characters that exist beyond the kink, and so it gave me great pleasure to see the Furry Writer’s Guild advertise Zarpaulek’s Vore Anthology (in which my next short story “Coming Out” will appear) over the summer and give more public attention to this sort of content, and I’m incredibly thankful that you took the time to sit down and have this chat with me.

Vore is a kink, yes, but (at the risk of sounding cheesy) there’s something magical and unique in the way it brings people together. After all, my boyfriend and I met online because he liked my vore stories and wanted to talk to me about them, and now we’ve been a couple for four and a half years. Somehow, writing in this niche kink on the internet has yielded some of my proudest successes and profoundest happinesses, and I look forward to keeping the momentum going and seeing not just where the vore fandom takes me but where I can take the vore fandom.

We would like to thank Dajan once again for sitting down with us for this interview. Digital and physical copies of Spin the Bottle are on sale now from Fenris Publishing. You can find Dajan to keep up with his future stories over on Twitter. If you’re a fan of vore be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the release of “The Vore Studio” when it likely releases sometime in 2021.