Questions for developing the biology of a new species or race
Something to remember when developing your new species or races: always remember that your unique race/alien race should not distract from the narrative. It is always fun to experience new and different peoples that can be so similar to humanity while being so different. But you don’t want to create a main species that is so utterly alien that it distracts from your narrative. The details of your race should enhance your story, not needlessly complicate it.
So! With that in mind…
Starting from scratch:
- What about them says “other”?
- How are their environmental conditions reflected in their biology?
- What texture/color is their skin or outer layer? Why?
- Do they have hair? If so, where and what color(s)? What texture(s)?
- How many biological sexes are there? How many genders?
- How many cones do their eyes have?
- How many limbs do they have? How are they used?
- How many fingers/toes do they have? How has this altered their number system?
- Were they the only race on their home planet that evolved to “intelligent?”
For further development:
- How would it describe its setting?
- Do they have physical traits specific to their class or caste?
- What traits do others of their species find attractive? Why?
- Do they use special tools to enhance or repair damaged/failing physical traits or senses (glasses/contacts, prosthetics, wheelchairs)?
- What unifying characteristics set them apart from humans? What do they have in common?
- What dietary needs do they have?
- Do they use special ornamentation (clothing, jewelry, tattoos) to show rank, occupation, heritage, etc.?
- How do they relate to temperature or climate?
- Do they have joints or tendons that move in a way that would seem unnatural to humans?
- What is their sexual biology like? Is it analogous to ours, or something entirely different?
- What recreational activities are healthy/positive for their biology?
- How does their body respond to various types of excitement or emotion?
Creative exercises for species/racial development:
- If someone were write a wanted poster for a criminal of this race, what features would the notice highlight? Why?
- What are (or hypothetically would be) the most popular plastic surgeries among people of this species?
- What is their average morning routine? How do their care for themselves, physically, on a daily basis?
- Write a short story in which someone of your new species/race attempts to put on a set of human clothes or visa versa.
- What is the most popular sport and how is it played? How do the species’ unique traits play into the game, if at all?
Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series!
Magic Systems, Part One
Magic Systems, Part Two
Politics and Government
Belief Systems & Religion
Guilds, Factions, & Groups
War & Conflict
Science & Technology