Sep 29, 2010

Creating a Race, Part2

Last time, I talked about my process of creating your very own Fantasy race. Of course, your race is your race, and you can do whatever you want with it. Well, this is for people who can't really create their own races, but still love Elves and Dwarves.
Now, I think creating a race of Elves and Dwarves is harder than making your own. After Tolkien, people used Elves and Dwarves to no end. Whenever me, as a reader, think of Elves, I think of the following characteristics:
-Pointy Ears
-Fair skin
-Live in forests
-Blonde hair(or brown/black)
Whenever I think of Dwarves, I see:
-Long Beard and lots of hair
You see the problem? This formula for creating Elves and Dwarves has been used countless times in the past. In the early days of Dungeons and Dragons, they were guilty for this. Most people who read, and see the appearance of the Elf, will think of these characteristics, much like if the reader sees a Dwarf coming along.
People say that these are over-done. Not entirely so.
Let's take a look at Brooks and his Shannara series. Yes, their are Dwarves, but their origins are what stand out. *SPOILER* The origins of Shannara's Dwarves are the result of Humans who fled underground during a nuclear fallout, and over the course of years, have become Dwarves.
So, looking at this, I still see potential in these races if the writer puts some time into it.
We all know about how Dwarves like to mine, but did we know that they are ancestor worshippers? In Norse mythology they are.
Or how about that Humans who die can become the fair Elves, and yet they are seen, can pass through walls? Or how about the African Wakyambi Elves who have tails, dark skin, and live in the clouds?
My point here, is that their are tons of myths AROUND THE WORLD about Elves and Dwarves, so showing something new in these races IS NEVER A BAD THING! In fact, it gives life to your genre, and you earn much more respect. To have your Elves and Dwarves really shine, try combining the myths of all the Elves and Dwarves. Try mixing Norse Dwarves' association with death with the African dwarf Biloko's carnivorous appetite. Or think of why would Elves hide in mounds instead of a forest. Speaking of mounds, what about a graveyard or a place where many people died? Elves are associated with death too you know.
So, writing the Elf and Dwarf is never a bad thing, one just has to put the time and research into it. Till next time guys.

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