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Discussing: Races - Suggested Format of the Bio Entries for Races (Old)

Races - Suggested Format of the Bio Entries for Races (Old)

Hi everyone, I'm trying to pull together a suggested format for the Bio entries describing Races. (I have created a Races template here, based upon this format, to make it easy to start a new entry with the section headings in place.) Liz suggested the first sections, and I added a few more from the Character Bios template. I think of these sections as organizing guidelines for those who add the Race entries, to follow (or not) as appropriate. For example, Tolkien may not have supplied quotations for some of the sections, and some entire entries might be too short to break up into separate sections (I don't expect to find much about Variags of Khand, for example... ) Please let me know if you see anything missing or if any of the descriptions need to be clarified. Note that, while I drew the sample quotations from real ones, they are not themselves accurate quotes -- and they also lack citations, which we would never want in a real entry. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give! - Barbara Description Quotations describing the race in general, including any distinguishing characteristics, whether cultural beliefs, character traits, or physical appearance -- ways that they are: "The Dwarves are a tough, thrawn race for the most part, secretive, laborious...", "many savage tribes from the East (of old corrupted by Morgoth)...", "short and broad, long and strong in the arm; their skins were swart or sallow, and their hair was dark as were their eyes...". Origins Quotations describing how the race began, its kinship, and its ancient migrations: "By the starlit mere of Cuiviénen, the Elves rose from the sleep of Ilúvatar...", "The Northmen appear to have been most nearly akin to the House of Hador...", "The Edain were the descendants of peoples who in the Dark Ages had resisted Morgoth and had wandered ever westward from their homes far away in the East seeking the Great Sea..." Skills Quotations about abilities, crafts, expertise, or competencies that distinguish this race from others -- things that they do: "the Noldor devised tools for the cutting and shaping of gems, and carved them in many forms...", "the Northmen delighted in horses and in all feats of horsemanship...", "They journeyed in great wains, and their chieftains fought in chariots.", "their younger women were also gained in arms and fought fiercely in defence of their homes...". History Quotations (in chronological sequence, with dates or estimates) describing important events in the history of the race: "1601 Hobbits are granted land beyond Baranduin by Argeleb II.", "1636 When the Great Plague passed more than half of the Northmen had perished, and their horses also." Language Quotations describing the language(s) of the race: "East of the Misty Mountains, even far to the north, the Common Speech was known; though there, as beside the Long Lake or in Dale, or among the Beornings and the Woodmen of the west-eaves of Mirkwood, Men also retained their own tongues in daily use.", "The Dwarven language, Khuzdul, was seldom learned by those of other race." Etymology Quotations describing the origins of the name(s) of the race or of items associated with the race: "The name Beorn (from which Beornings derived) is actually an Old English word for 'man, warrior,' but originally meant 'bear'; it is a cognate with the Old Norse björn, 'bear.'", "The name (Quenya noldo, Sindarin Golodh) meant 'The Wise' (but wise in the sense of possessing knowledge, not in the sense of possessing sagacity, sound judgement).", "The Quenya word Silmarilli is said to derive from the name silima that Fëanor gave to the substance from which they were made." Notes Quotations that expand upon some of the information contained within that Race's entry (see the Numbered and Hyperlinked Footnotes post for a template): "2. The Númenórean ranga was slightly longer than our yard..."

 

 

Re: Races - Suggested Format of the Bio Entries for Races

Hi Barbara As always, excellent work! As always I have a quibble. I'm not delirious about "Skills" as a section title as I feel some distinguishing traits aren't "skills". I'm thinking of physcial appearance. On the other hand, maybe that belongs in description? Or do we need a separate "physical appearance/character" section. I guess what I feel is that the "Description" section should be pretty short and sharp - almost just the key defining quote, like the Lossoth entry. And that lots little tidbits about appearance and charatcer might be better in a separate section? Which would then solve my issues with "Skills". (And it's not as if I can think of anything better to call it!) Now rambling, Liz

 

 

Re: Races - Suggested Format of the Bio Entries for Races

Liz, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, I'm trying to catch up on these discussions now... As always, excellent work! Thanks! As always I have a quibble. I'm not delirious about "Skills" as a section title as I feel some distinguishing traits aren't "skills". I'm thinking of physcial appearance. On the other hand, maybe that belongs in description? Or do we need a separate "physical appearance/character" section. I think of "Description" as encompassing all distinguishing characteristics, whether, say, physical appearance, character traits, or cultural beliefs -- ways that they *are*. And I think of "Skills" as abilities, crafts, expertise, competencies that distinguish them from other races -- things that they *do*. I guess what I feel is that the "Description" section should be pretty short and sharp - almost just the key defining quote, like the Lossoth entry. And that lots little tidbits about appearance and charatcer might be better in a separate section? I think that it very much depends upon how much information you can find about the particular race. I agree that the most pithy description should go first, but often there are many different quotes that are descriptive of different aspects of that race. I see those as all contributing to the Description. If there are a lot of separate, non-overlapping quotes for Description, I think it might be a good idea to group them into subsections, say "Description: Physical Appearance" and "Description: Character Traits", but that would be only as needed. What do you think? Or, do you think I need to improve the description of the Description section itself? I would be happy for suggestions... - Barbara

 

 

Re: Races - Suggested Format of the Bio Entries for Races

Liz, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, I'm trying to catch up on these discussions now... No problem. I am, after all, now hassling you in multiple threads. I think of "Description" as encompassing all distinguishing characteristics, whether, say, physical appearance, character traits, or cultural beliefs -- ways that they *are*. And I think of "Skills" as abilities, crafts, expertise, competencies that distinguish them from other races -- things that they *do*. Ah, thank you! I think I was just struggling to see quite what would go where and how extensive each section might be. I'm much clearer about it now. If there are a lot of separate, non-overlapping quotes for Description, I think it might be a good idea to group them into subsections, say "Description: Physical Appearance" and "Description: Character Traits", but that would be only as needed. What do you think? I think we could have that as a suggestion, to help people think about how to approach these quite complicated entries so that the information and quotes are presented in a way that's as useful as possible to other people. I am also seeing that although the Race "template" is slightly different to what's needed for individual characters, there is a lot of overlap, and this structure will help me in some of the "scary" bios I'm going to be working on. Or, do you think I need to improve the description of the Description section itself? I would be happy for suggestions.. In a word: yes. I think if you add the information for description, skills etc that you've just laid out for me into your suggested format, it will make it clearer how we see the thing working. Sorry for being so dim here (or obsessive and wanting everything nailed down clearly). Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Races - Suggested Format of the Bio Entries for Races

I am also seeing that although the Race "template" is slightly different to what's needed for individual characters, there is a lot of overlap, and this structure will help me in some of the "scary" bios I'm going to be working on. I definitely stole most of my ideas from the Template for Character Bios (which reminds me, I should now do a template for Races). I think if you add the information for description, skills etc that you've just laid out for me into your suggested format, it will make it clearer how we see the thing working. Done. Thank you for helping me to clarify the section descriptions. Sorry for being so dim here (or obsessive and wanting everything nailed down clearly). Not dim... *definitely* not dim... - Barbara [Edit:] The Template - Bio Entry for a Race is up.

 

 

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