Creating New Races

I have written a little about this topic before.   In the previous posts, I explain what I like to see in fantasy races and how I try to make mine different from others. This time I would like to explore the creative process of developing a new race of beings for Goandria.

The challenge I find is that a new race needs to be both familiar and fresh at the same time. If people cannot relate to a new race or are not captivated by the societies, they will not care. It is important to forge race groups to have special characteristics, but not all the same. Most would agree that humans have similar characteristics, but each person has his or her own worldview and personality that brings something unique to that individual.

Here is an example from Goandria: The ferrorian people are quirky and odd with an overall immaturity. They are much like children. However, a few (such as their leader) are calm, wise, and very intelligent.

In Visions of War (the novel that follows The Schism) I add more beings, such as the katzians and sala. Good fiction creates well-rounded races, and sometimes these new peoples only appear for a short amount of time. The trick is for the author to imply a depth and richness within the race without having to go into great detail on each one. Of course, this method can only work so much, and some people groups will naturally be better-rounded than others. When writing, everything must have a purpose, and determining the purpose of new fantasy creatures can be problematic.

I often have exciting new ideas about different creatures, but characters often lead the story more than the writer does, and more often than not, I cannot show a new creature or civilization in-depth at all. I aim to have character-driven fantasy, but sometimes that makes it difficult to show just how large and rich Goandria really is because doing so will not fit well into the character’s lives.   Someday, perhaps after a couple novels, the scope and diversity of Goandria will be revealed in more depth than it is today.

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