Today, we hear from adult writer Tagenar, who is able to give us a look into his interests and processes as a writer.
Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?
Tagenar: “Solid Magic” is the kinkiest thing I’ve ever done. The story is the adult version of a subplot from my alter-ego’s Archeons series: a human ends up sharing a body with a dragon. Because the series is not explicit, most of their relationship happens between chapters. I wanted to see more of their sex life, so I wrote a story about a man who ends up losing his own body and becoming soul-bound to a dragon who happens to be in heat. It ended up being something completely different, with less body-sharing and instead the former human takes on whatever form the dragon desires, but I still got my explicit human/dragon story.
What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?
I have always been more interested in the nonhuman characters who are typically sidekicks or NPCs. I enjoy creating for people who also want to know more about them.
What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?
I used to improvise from start to finish, but after so many rewrites I learned to make a loose outline first and then improvise within that. Saves me a lot of rewrites later. Best of both extremes, but each book is different. For my first three Tagenar novels (Jake’s List, Exposure, and Don’t Call Me Coach), I don’t think I had much of an outline at all. I had a setting and a hook, and I let the story grow out of those ingredients. Still, there came a point at about the halfway mark for each book where I had to stop and figure out what I was doing and where everything was going before I went too far.
For C C S (my newest book in print), I had a plan for each chapter and an overall plan for the whole story, and I improvised within each section. A few twists and developments happened that I didn’t plan, and that’s when writing is most fun. I want to be surprised while writing it. If I am, there’s a good chance the reader will be, too.
What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?
I’m a concept writer, so I think that’s where my strength lies. The big ideas. Probably why I haven’t written very many short stories. Most of my ideas just keep growing. In fact my first attempt at a short story grew into an 80,000 word novel.
What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?
I prefer stories that have their own sense of internal logic. When a story defines its own rules, you can understand anything, even if it’s outside your favorite genre. I got into Dilbert in the 90s, long before I got my first job, simply because the comic strip does such a good job building the office as a world unto itself. Then I read 1984, and that book spends a third of its pagecount setting up its world. I’ve always been drawn to stories like this, so it’s what I prefer to write as well. My first three novels as Tagenar didn’t do very much with that, mostly because I wrote them to break out of rigid, well-defined worlds I was writing under my real name. Taking a break from that was what I needed, so those books are character/situation pieces. The new books I’m working on very much focus on worldbuilding and big concepts.
Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?
Garth, from Don’t Call Me Coach, may be the character I feel for most. He’s a take-charge kind of person who discovers that the real world doesn’t always value people like that. More recently, Paul from C C S represents different aspects of who I am and who I wish I could be. I recognized this early on, so I brought it out more. All of my characters have a little bit of me in them in some way, but those two in particular hit close to home.
Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?
I grew up reading the sci-fi greats (Clarke, Asimov, Crichton). They were outstanding at building worlds and trying to imagine how technology will change humanity, even while most of them were terrible at characters. I like to think I’ve struck a better balance. Sci-fi writers are paying more attention to characters these days, so we don’t have to settle for concept stories alone.
What is the last book you read that you really love?
I just read Kafka’s “Amerika.” I enjoyed it way more than I expected, even knowing it was an unfinished novel.
Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Mostly video games, but I took up wine-drinking a few years ago to make myself less boring, and an excuse to get out and explore the city. I never used to go out and do things, but since moving closer to a big city, I want to experience city life as much as I can.
Do you have any advice to give other writers?
Yes. Don’t be in a hurry to show people your work! Social media encourages us to put everything out there as fast as possible, but resist the temptation! Keep your work under wraps until the thrill of creation wears off. Then read it again and see if you’re still thrilled with it. I’m glad not many people saw my early works.
Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?
Furry has branched out from foxes and wolves, which is a good thing. Now it’s time for the scalies to get more attention!
Where can readers find your work?
I’m on Sofurry and Furaffinity as well as Goodreads and twitter. I use the Tagenar name for explicit works. I save my real name for material that I want to reach beyond the furry community.
Tomorrow we’ll have an interview with another of our talented authors from within the community. We hope you’ll check it out then!