Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fantasy Races

Seems a lot of fantasy stories either go to the basics in terms of races, or the new ones they create are rarely put into detail, so they stand out.
I have had Zelda on the mind for a while, since I have been replaying Majora's Mask. Most of the races in that series are well known by many, but you can't explain the details behind them. Take the Zora, for example. You can say that they're fish people who have a monarchy and enjoy music, but what else is there to mention? Are they usually friendly, sticklers, xenophobic?

On the other hand, it is also annoying when information about a new race is dumped on your lap and you need to process it all in a very short time. I haven't seen this scenario as often, but it's not a good choice either.

When you come down to it, though, creating a fantasy race is not easy. Sure, you may have a unique idea for their looks in mind. In creating the Ciefians (pronounced like "siphon"), I had certain thoughts of how the species would look. I'm still tweaking it as the days go by.
The hard part, however, is determining their way of life. I could create a checklist for those that have their own fantasy races and see if they have all the details required.

Granted, having all the details about a fantasy race does not mean you need to dump it all to your reader/viewer. It's information that is there in case you need it. It is not only about showing them off to your audience, but giving them dimension.

It's better to show, not tell. If you see or read about a race that seems to have meat in every meal, you'll quickly get the idea that they don't care for plants that much.

My dilemma:
I've had a bit of trouble in determining certain abilities that certain Ciefians have. I solidified that Ciefians with white wings and white/silver eyes can see spirits, and have the ability to sense. The question is what the other Ciefian types should be. I've been brainstorming about it the past few weeks, and I have no definitive plans yet.

My aim is attribute powers that are not over the top, and not generic. For example, I could've chosen 'light' power for the white Ciefians, or I can make water or ice abilities for blue. However, I would prefer to not do that. If I can get beyond cliches and work with unique powers that are not often done, I would be in pretty good shape.

Here are pages from my journal that show my ideas:

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