The Art of Creating Races in Fantasy
Here is an article written by Jack Pflug . My thanks go to him for writing this!
Now, before you go and try to create your fantasy race for a book or world, ask yourself 3 questions
1. Where in your world do they live?
2. What role does this race play
3. What kind of culture does this race have?
Now you may be wondering why these three questions are important. These questions are here to provide a foundation on which you can build your new race. For example I have a race that
1.) Live in a forest
2.) act as mediators and diplomats and
3.) Have a peaceful culture.
It doesn't look like much because it's not. However, this gives you room to play with specifics like history, daily life and different trades that the members of your new race might work in.
To answer the first question, just think about the type of environment your race lives in. As I said earlier, my race lives in a forest. Now, this part important because it helps determine what kind of lifestyle your race generally has. It also can help determine what kind of trades your fantasy race would be familiar with.
On to the second question! On this, it is important to note that the role your race plays is not what job they have. With my race as an example, they make excellent mediators, but they can work in any job they want. The role your race plays is essentially how they fit into your world.
And finally, the third question! The culture of your race is also a very important aspect of creating a fantasy race. Just answer this one with one or two words that describe the culture of your new race. With my race I made, they have a peaceful culture. This isn't much information, but it's enough to know that they don't like wars very much. With other races, maybe they have a warlike culture, or a magic-centered culture. In a warlike culture, a race may have a higher number of blacksmiths, or a stronger army, whereas a race with a magic centered culture might have less blacksmiths, but more mages. See where I'm going?
Now, these are questions are just something to think about, and this isn't a definitive guide. If you heed my advice, good for you! If not, well it doesn't bother me.
And, my thanks to Will for allowing me this opportunity to share my insight!