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Making Fairies a Legitimate Race

Discussion in 'Research' started by Taytortots, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Taytortots

    Taytortots Minstrel

    I've been struggling with this issue for a while. I have many types of creatures in my novel, including werewolves and vampires which I also had trouble making a true, fantasy race that wasn't just meant for obsessive tweens. I feel like I was somewhat easily able to make these races stick with their routes yet make them mine as well.
    Fairies I'm having a much more difficult time with, however. Well they are not thought of like werewolves and vampires exactly by the general public, I don't know if they're thought of as a diverse, legitimate race capable of being very strong and helpful in a war type situation, which is what I would like them to be.

    I haven't gotten to the part in my novel where I introduce one of the main characters, who is a fairy, along with the uniqueness of my fairy society. I have, however, gotten to a point when my main character is in a city and notices a group of fairies. When I write it, it almost seems silly. I want them to look like typical fairies, with thin colorful wings etc, is this the wrong choice? While their appearance will be similar to what the reader would expect, their culture will be diverse and intricate.
    I would appreciate any sort of help. I just want them to be a serious thing, not a joke with wings, but I feel like they may come across that way.
    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, I don't know. Thanks in advance. Oh, and sorry if this is in the wrong place.
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    As much as you want to make them unique, you still have to make them worthwhile in their distinction as a separate magical race. A fairy lifestyle is super-magical and highly distinct; could you imagine being twelve inches tall and flying wherever you went? Having whatever magical abilities you'd have as a fairy in your world? It would affect you in ways you now have to imagine; it could lead you down any of a thousand separate paths, just like the human experience has had thousands of distinct cultural branches. Yet there are elements, even archetypes, which run through all of them - I won't even try and list them. But I think, to do the thing well, you need to figure out how the magic of your race makes your fairy cultures as a group distinct from the human experience, and then find ways to play those distinctions in multiple directions.

    I would recommend opening their appearance with a clear demonstration of that distinction.

    And this should probably be in the worldbuilding forum.
  3. Shasjas

    Shasjas Scribe

    my personal idea is that you should start by calling them something other than fairies, perhaps "sprites", because when we hear the word fairies we immediately think of certain things. this is also true of the word "sprite" but they dont have such "childish" connotations. not that childish is bad, but it maybe why your thinking of them as silly when you write.
  4. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

    I think that it would be interesting to read a Fantasy story that features fairies!! You can make them 6 feet tall instead of tiny little fairies, and instead of the classic fairy wings, give them bat-like wings, sharp fangs and claws instead of hands =) I would add gleaming red eyes and grey skin, why not?

    It's great fun to create your own imaginary species, feel free!! =)
    PrincessaMiranda likes this.
  5. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

    I'd probably do something like make them 3 or 4 feet tall to put them on a more even footing with the other races (it's hard to be intimidated by someone you can stomp) and give them neutral-colored or translucent wings to make them seem a bit less... frilly. Another option is simply to make them more magically powerful than any of the other races. They have to have some kind of advantage or else people won't have a reason to take them seriously.
  6. Taytortots

    Taytortots Minstrel

    Thanks everyone for you answers.
    Mythique, the fairies are very powerful, and extremely intelligent. While they may seem fairly harmless with their appearance, they are actually quite the threat.
  7. Digital_Fey

    Digital_Fey Troubadour

    Size isn't everything =P An organized group of diminutive but powerful magical beings could be dangerous indeed, especially if they're used to functioning close to, or in the midst of, the human world. In this case aesthetic does play an important role - even if their general appearance is harmless, a few tiny details would be enough to unsettle the reader and make them question just how cute these little creatures are. Pointed teeth, for instance, or moth-like wings with creepy markings. After that, it mostly depends on how you characterize them via dialogue etc.
  8. Look up the acctual mythology of these guys. If you read up on them you will never say they are not ligit!

    Some of them are down right scarey! Like slasher movie scarey.

    *joke for ya*

    Q) Why do women make bad carpenters?

    A) Because they have been lied to about how big six inches is their whole lives!
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I agree with The Blue Lotus. Look up some of the old tales and mythologies around these creatures. Not pleasant. For the most part, you didn't want to be involved with them.
  10. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

    The mythology is a must. Irish, Scottish, British, Welsh and other parts of the world.

    You could make them more diverse in size, shape, form, culture, magic. There are thousands of amazing faeries. Some are very creepy.

    Take a look at these links:

    Faeries classification

    Basic information on types:

    Types of Faeries

    Types of Faeries

    I used to have a beautiful, comprehensive list. I do have a book somewhere. I can't find the site anymore, which is very frustrating! There are many examples of faeries which aren't exactly 'pleasant' or stereotypical. Once you know a little about the various types, you could then perhaps go on to flesh out your own species.

    The Fir Darrig and the Urisk are two of my favourite faeries. They are certainly not 'pretty'. I must note that there are various interpretations of various types of faerie as well.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012

  11. This is a good book to get you started http://www.amazon.com/Demons-Fairies-Fallen-Subversive-Spirits/dp/080506270X

    after reading this you won't say fairies are not ligit. It also gives you a good variety of races within the fairy kingdom.
    Most def a MUST read if you plan on using a type of Fairy aside from Tinkerbell.
  12. Consider this:

    Fairies traditionally have the ability to become invisible, and they can fly.

    A three inch faerie could conceivably carry a razor sharp blade of one inch.

    Your jugular is less than a quarter of an inch below the surface of your neck, as are many vital veins.

    How safe would you feel around a swarm of angry Faeries?

    I thought all of this out a long while back when I considered writing a story about the scarier side of faeries. Hmm I may just have to revisit that idea sometime now that I've taken up writing more seriously he he he.
  13. I do love me some freaky fairies. I called the bad ones Faeries in my work. :D
  14. Graham Irwin

    Graham Irwin Sage

    Are vampires really a race? Or werewolves? Or orcs?

    These are creatures. So are fairies.

    Definition of "race": Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

    Are those creatures humankind?

    The debate is certainly good fantasy fodder.

  15. I beg to differ

    a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.

    2. a population so related.

    Where as your definition refers only to Anthropology.

  16. Graham Irwin

    Graham Irwin Sage

    Let the semantic arguments begin!!

    I suppose I should say that I'm new to "fantasy"- fantasy.

    I come from science fiction (bah! boo! hiss!), and things like anthropology inform my work.

    I totally dig what you are saying, Blue Lotus. I think "race" gets confusing around here sometimes though :)
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  17. Graham Irwin

    Graham Irwin Sage

    You are correct, certainly.
  18. morguloth

    morguloth Dreamer

    Magic: The Gathering has got some pretty well developed fairies.
  19. Taytortots

    Taytortots Minstrel


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