racing set

Writing With Color – General Topics

A collection of WWC posts that deal with more general writing advice, character creation and diversity topics applicable to most marginalized people, particularly People of Color and some ethnic and religious groups.

Writing Characters of Color: The Generals

Useful Non-WWC Posts

Diversity/Representation Topics

Character Creation

Characters of Color & Culture

Fantasy & Coding

Writing Sensitive and Controversial Topics

Racism and Micro-Aggressions 

–WWC

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
New Worlds
Cultures
Civilizations
Map Making
Politics and Government
Belief Systems & Religion
Guilds, Factions, & Groups
War & Conflict
Science & Technology

9

“I think me and Fame are probably the closest. She just has an amazing heart, a heart of gold. She talks a lot, but when you need someone to talk to, she’s right there. She’s a great listener. We both have similar experiences. We have a similar aesthetic. It really meant a lot to me at the time. I see her as such a beautiful individual inside and out.”

“As the Dark Lord becomes ever more powerful, your race is set still more firmly above mine! Gringotts falls under Wizarding rule, house-elves are slaughtered, and who amongst the wand-carriers protests?”
“We do!” said Hermione. She had sat up straight, her eyes bright. “We protest! And I’m hunted quite as much as any goblin or elf, Griphook! I’m a Mudblood!”
“Don’t call yourself —” Ron muttered.
“Why shouldn’t I?” said Hermione. “Mudblood, and proud of it! I’ve got no higher position under this new order than you have, Griphook! It was me they chose to torture, back at the Malfoys’!”