Sep 29, 2010

Their are no Blacks or Whites in Fantasy, Just Elves and Dwarves: On Race Creation

Well, the subject line is a bit far from the truth: Their are Blacks and Whites and Hispanics and everyone is in Fantasy, but that's not the point in this post.
In this post, I will try to help you create your won races.
Q: But Brandon, I don't have to! Fantasy is characterized by Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs! I can just use those!
Now, this question can be answered from two perspectives.
A). Fans of Tolkien, Brooks, and Paolini will enjoy returning to a world inhabited by their favorite races. These people won't mind.
B). Because of the way Fantasy is now, people will see Elves, and Dwarves as just a lazy way out of actually creating a world, and are viewed as taking from Tolkien, Brooks, Paolini, etc. and wish to see something new.
Personally, I'm with the latter than I am with the former, but I can help you in how you may create your own races, or give elves and dwarves something new.

First, creating a race. This is the process I use when creating my own alien race.
First, I try to get a vision of what my race is going to look like. Is it human like? Giant? Furry? Does thus race have horns? I'm looking for anything that will strike out to me, something I can mess with and develop a history on and maybe culture. When creating a race, I also look at other mythological races, legend, urban myths, history, and even today's news.
For example, let's say that I wanted to create a race of Black people with flaming red hair. How would society view this race? Well, in my mind, people think they are demons because of their long red-hair, and their unrivaled warrior skills and strange culture. In turn, this guys live in the jungles, savannah, etc. Anywhere to protect themselves. See that? Even though I just thought of that on the fly, I've given you a race, the history, and their physical features. Now,every race can have their own rules and social norms, taboos, laws, etc. to give it even more depth. You may use the fact that people see these guys as Demons against your characters. What I mean by this, is that this Black person is not the demon everyone think he is. This is breaking that stereotype that you originally thought of at first, but now you question "if that isn't true, then what is?". This even has your reader hooked to world even more, and they will want to know "who are these people?"
Alright you guys, this ends this post for now, and yes, their is a part2.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

If you haven't read any C.J. Cherryh, you ought to give her a try. She's probably the master at creating new races.