I purposely chose to use my favorite fantasy races in my book, well aware that there is a rabid group of writers/readers out there that never wants to see another elf or dwarf in a book again. I respect those readers' opinions, but I wish they would in return respect the fact that there are many readers who absolutely love reading about the standard fantasy races and want to read more about them. So, elves, dwarves, trolls, dragons, goblins, and even orcs populate my book. This is exactly what I love most, so if you are tired of such races, well my book is simply not written for you.
I turned to Tolkien to try to resolve the issue. He only confused me more, since he was not entirely consistent in his usage. For the most part, he capitalized race names whenever they were used in their broad form, but he did not use capitals when the usage was personal. So, if he was referring to the dwarf Gimli, it would not be capitalized, but he would use the word Dwarves when referring to the race in general.
Okay, so I began doing this in my book, only to run into snags. I had one sentence where an elf was referred to personally but there was also a generic usage of Elves within the same sentence. So, if I went with Tolkien, I would have had the same term in one sentence with one capitalized and one not. I could just see a literary agent looking at my text and dismissing me as an idiot!
So, I dropped it all and decided to go with all lower case for races! It isn't a perfect solution, because I always run into critters who wonder why nothing is capitalized, but honestly it is the simplest solution that I could find.
March/April 2017 Uncanny Magazine Now on Sale
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