Dear Papa Bear,
I've been a furry for a very long time. Almost 15 years now! And during that time, I've had a lot of fursonas. I'm looking to finally settle into one that's really me, because most of my fursonas have been adoptables or customs - made by other people, so I feel like I can't connect to them as well. I've read through a few fursona confusion related questions on your site, but I have trouble narrowing down what I really like (because I like so many things). When making a fursona, is there a to make choosing easier? Or should I just wing it and see how it goes?
Thanks for reading,
Scatterbrained in ATL (age 27)
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Dear Scatterbrained *grin*:
One of the coolest things about the furry fandom is its creativity and its lack of connection to commercial franchises. People who are fans of, say, Marvel comic books and want to dress up accordingly are kind of stuck with the superheroes and villains portrayed in that literature and in the movie and TV adaptations. Likewise, if you love Tolkien, you have a narrow choice of elves, dwarves, hobbits, wizards, humans, and monsters, and that's about it. Same with Star Trek or Star Wars.
Furries don't rely on other creators to imagine for them. They ARE the creators. Even so, you might think you are limited to animal species of the present or the past, or perhaps mythological creatures.
For one thing, you can create a hybrid. If you can't decide if you connect more with a wolf, a bear, or a moose, combine them! A Woboose! LOL. You see this quite a lot in the fandom, and I'm sure you're familiar with some hybrids that are becoming common, including folfs (fox/wolf), cabbits (cat/rabbit), and ligers (lion/tigers, which actually exist in real life). You can go even further than hybrids, though, and create your own species if you like. Probably the most famous example of this would be the Skiltaire, an alien species created by Mark Merlino for a series of science fiction tales he wrote.
I can see that you are one of those furries, like me, for whom your fursona is very personal and not just a hobby. You aren't just picking a fursona to use in RPGs or to design a fursuit--no, this is going to reflect who you are and/or who you wish to be. Super! It is my belief that younger furries can have problems picking a personal fursona because they are still evolving themselves. That is, it is difficult to pick a fursona that reflects you when you don't know who you are yet. That happened with me as a cub and young man as I evolved from wolf to dragon to, finally, bear (bear is definitely the one for me now that I am confident in who I am in my 50s!). You might still be settling in on this identity, even in your late 20s. That's okay. But it's still fun to work on your fursona and try to figure out and narrow down the aspects of your character. My prime advice to you is to try not to limit yourself. This is an exercise in imagination, so throw away all your preconceptions about pretty much anything. Heck, you could even throw some tech into it and create, say, an android cheetah or a Borg bear (which would still be a borg lol, or maybe a bearg). Or combine animal with a non-living substance, such as they do with the Vulptex in Star Wars, which is a creature that is part canid and part crystal. Or how about a Rastafarian lion whose mane grows marijuana instead of fur? Convenient, eh? Imagine the dreadlocks! Or, to be less controversial, maybe the lion's mane is made out of strawberry Twizzlers....
This might seem a bit overwhelming, so a good way to start might be to look at specific features, one by one--and I do mean one by one: eyes, nose, fur or scales, type of tail, colors, horns or antlers, bipedal or quadruped, bat wings or butterfly wings, insect features or shark fins, etc. etc. Are you familiar with free form writing? This is an exercise in which the writer sits down at a keyboard or writing pad and just writes whatever comes into their head. Try the same thing with your fursona design. Sit down one day and just write out all the various things that appeal to you, including physical features, personality, clothing, time period, literary genres, etc. Just write them all down, quickly and without self-censorship. Then, save the file or set aside the writing pad for a couple of days. Return to it later and thin out some things that actually don't thrill you and narrow down your absolute favorite things. Take those and assemble them into a fursona and see what comes out. If you don't like the results, toss 'em and try again in another week. Eventually, you will get something you really like and that suits your inner furry the best.
Hopefully, I have not repeated myself too much from previous columns you read.
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Hi Papa Bear,
Just a followup from my recent letter! It didn't take too long once I sat down and really thought about my favorite things I decided to combine my love of cooking with my fursona, and came up with Cassia, a cinnamon colored skunk. Thanks so much for your advice, it was really helpful in narrowing down my interests to something more manageable! The free writing was really helpful and had some unexpected results - I thought for sure I'd end up with something really exotic, but all my writing came back to what reminded me of home.
Not So Scatterbrained in ATL
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