What I'm about to say isn't meant as an attack on anyone or their writing: an infinite universe allows for infinite variation, so write what you love and be happy.


I guess I was lucky. Although I enjoy Tolkien and some authors who followed his path by including elves/dwarves/orcs in their stories, I was always more drawn to the works of Howard, Lovecraft, Leiber, and such. So when I started crafting my own stories, the idea of using "fantasy" races didn't really occur to me.

Note: I did write one novel aimed at Wizards of the Coasts that included the typical D&D races, but it just didn't feel right. Like I was copying off someone else's homework. Thankfully, it will never see the light of publication.

From my own personal perspective, when I see a modern fantasy cover that has an elf/dwarf/etc (or, gods forbid, a drow) on the cover, it doesn't exactly turn me on. If an aspiriting fantasy writer asks me about using those races, I advise them to think long and hard about it. What are you saying by writing about a drow ranger? That you think they are a cool character in D&D? Fine, then write reams about them--for yourself. (Hell, most writers have loads of stories and snippets hidden in their closets and hard drive that they don't ever intend to publish.)

You need to figure our what you're trying to say. What does Zork the Drow Ranger represent? An attempt to capture the idea of being separated from your home and people because you are "different?" Why do you need a drow to do that? There are people all around you who live lives of loneliness and non-acceptance. Start there.

You may discover that your story just cannot work without a dark elf character. Or maybe you'll discover that what you thought was a tool for inspiration was actually a crutch holding you back.

Infinite variations.