How To Write

Creating non-human sentient species

Good day to all,

In this post I’m going to talk about non-humans in sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction. More specifically, making new species.

The recipe for making an alien used to be: take a human, make his eyes weird, change his skin colour, and give him tentacles. Voila, a ready to made alien. Just not a very good one. The question when making foreign species is why. Why would his skin be neon orange, if it gives him no evolutionary benefits? Human skin tones have evolved from the ability to reflect or absorb sun rays, so as to avoid sun burn. Why would your alien species have three eyes? Spiders have four eyes, because one set detects motion and the other detects detail. Also, not all aliens must be bipedal, nor must they be mammals at all. Most mammals only have two sets of limbs, but anthropods can have six, eight, or a hundred legs. Perhaps your species walks on four but stands on two, like prairie dogs. Does your species have prehensile body parts? If not, how has this hindered this species? Does it have opposable thumbs, or a tail? Some species are incredibly specialized in terms of their environments, while others have learned to adapt to almost any location.

The following applies for fantasy/supernatural creatures and alien species alike. Why haven’t they taken over the world yet? How has their culture been influenced by their abilities? Are they social or solitary creatures? Do they have the same instincts other species do? What are their supernatural/physical restrictions and limits? How advanced are they, technology wise? How are they viewed by other species? How does their intelligence rate amongst other species. Do they have any sort of government? If so, how is it run? If not, why, and how do they cope with no organization? Are they nomadic, or sedentary? Hostile or friendly? What’s their history like. How do they react towards things like art and music? What clothing do they wear, if any? Religion? Attitude towards sex? Gender roles? Are there different races, and if so, is there any racism? Are they an economic state, or a military one? How is intelligence viewed? How is originality viewed? Do they have the death penalty, or a prison system? How do they control/run taxes, if at all? If not, how do they pay for things like hospitals, and education? Do they have hospital, education, et cetera? Do they trade/do business with other species, or nations?

These are all questions that need to be thought about and answered.

Any more suggestions for what to talk about next? Message me!


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