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Art from Ctrl+Alt+Del Comic.

Choose Their Race

Realistic settings are not homogeneous, but if your story has little to do with race, still put some thought in before you pick one at random for your character.  Cultural backgrounds and heritages can add a lot to an already solid character.  Strange race choices are always available to spice up your story too, and can add interesting character traits to boot.  For example, what if your character was a dog, or a bird, or a fish?

When working in fictional settings, unusual or alien races can give characters recognizable visual aspects.  Fictional or strange race choices can even work as a strong metaphor for strife or character aspects, or even a clue to the future or past of your narrative.  However, when choosing or defining a race, be careful to use stereotypes respectably.  Just like it is frowned upon to stereotype entire human races, try to keep your fictional race from being entirely one-noted.  Metaphorically or not.

Races may seem unnecessary in your story, but they can act as effective allegories for nationalities, stereotypes, preferences, and metaphorical representations, and with options for alien, celestial, religious, monstrous, other-worldly, and so on, on top of human and animal races, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Finally, if you are concerned about using race incorrectly, just get feedback on character drafts early and often.  You’ll often find more feedback than you would expect, and almost always get a better character in the end.

This step is often followed by Step 11: (Optional) Miscellaneous Details before moving on.

 

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