I’m in the process of writing a fantasy novel and was wondering how you chose what species to focus on? Your writings seem to focus on Angels and Elves, what made you decide to go that route over say… dwarves or faeries?
Good question. It honestly comes down to a couple of different things. For starters, what does your situation call for? In my stories, I needed a character that could fill the role of a noble yet oppressed people. Dwarves don’t really fill that as they are usually brash, abrasive, downright vulgar people who would not tolerate being oppressed. Orcs… you try oppressing an orc and see where it gets you.
Honestly, in much of the folklore and mythology I’ve studied, elves tend to be soft-spoken, mysterious, creatures that are known for being somewhere between realistic and mystical. However, they are also known for being used as slaves, beaten, tortured, massacred, etc. Elves seemed to be the right choice to go with to fit that role.
The reason I used angels in the other stories is because they suited the narrative I was going for with my historical fantasy. I basically sought to answer a question I came up with for my story; What would happen if a celestial being appeared in 16th Century Europe. An angel was really the only being I could go with.
So you really have a couple of choices, you can do some research and figure out where each species archetypes lie (they all seem to have similar traits from one story to the next), or if you’re really creative, you can create your own species. One that no one else has in any of their stories. The challenge there is to establish their culture, collective personalities, and moral standing early on, or having one as a lead character won’t make much sense.
If you are going to go with one of the traditional fantasy characters, I would just say to do some research into their backgrounds first and then build off of those. You don’t want them to be exactly the same by any means, but you do want them to posses some familiarities that people are aware of.
Anyway, hope this helps.
Readers, do you agree? Do you think that characters should remain certain ways so that readers can easily recognize them or should there be free reign on defining what is/is not a trait of one of the fantasy species?
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
Catch you on the flip side!