In all my reading and writing and all of my friend’s reading and writing everyone can be assured of one thing. There is no such thing as originality. In Young Pastry Chef’s entry Original she states that she wants to create a new species that is "like a vampire…but new." "Darker and scarier." Remember that the original vampires WERE dark and scary the first vampires that were written about were more like our current version of zombies. They were rotting corpses that ate flesh and drank blood. But what great care must be taken in creating a species. It is a great responsibility and something that must be considered well before their induction into the "world."
What do they eat and drink?
How do they get their food and drink?
How do they move about?
How do they reproduce?
How do they parent their young?
How do they fit in with the other species of the world?
What is their average life span?
If you’re talking vampire those answers are already there for a dozen different versions of their answers. If you’re going to be taking from the various cultures you WILL copy something of their culture. It is unavoidable. What will wind up happening is creating something that is outside of believability because it has been rubber suited. What the characters are is secondary to what they do.
A good story will work with nothing but "normal" humans replaced for all things within the story. Because, remember, you are writing for a human audience therefore the psychologies you discuss and tinker with will be human psychologies. A race that lives ten times as long will have a very, very, very different psychology than one with a shorter life span. And, writing about a psychology that is not a human psychology is not something MOST people are able to do. The longer a creatures life span the fewer children it will have and the longer those "children" will stay with the parent. Can you imagine raising a "child" for a hundred years before he is mature enough to be on his own?
We cannot fathom what it would be like, so how could you assume you could write about it with any amount of authority unless they have made the extreme effort to create and experience the psychology and being the creatures that are created. Any good author of speculative fiction knows that it is his job to defend his work against people that are going to tear it apart.
And the good fiction writers know that they need to have their writing torn apart a dozen times before they can get one good out there. So the true good writers don’t spend time creating these false people and instead focus on the story such that the story is solid and you’re not using a character gimmick to make the story work. That is, much as in the nineties vampires are back in the lime light and everyone wants to write vampire fiction and vampires are so "kewl." And so everyone wants to create a unique vampire story and they attempt to do this by altering vampires to make them different; but the story is trite and contrived. The overall effect of creating a species is, something that should be considered only as a last ditch effort. Can the story be told without the use of another being? Would the basic story still work? Then what is the need for the creation of a new species?
A story or anything is a very delicate thing that can only support but so much tweaking. Instead of trying to make vampires new, actually try to write a story that is new.
Species creation is a difficult process.
You can’t just rubber suit a being. ((Rubber suiting is when you take another creature and just make it look different)) As a writer you have to put your work out there to get destroyed, your creature will be destroyed, and then take that and build up again, and get torn down.
You have to put thought into why it exists, where it came from, where it’s going, you don’t have to write it, but you have to know it. If you don’t have an answer then don’t bother with the species. The mysterious race that no one knows anything about (even they don’t know) are the laziest and most annoying races ever, and even if you never say a word of it the author and creator of a species should be able to defend this species.
So, after not sleeping more than an hour in the past twenty four hours I’m sorry if this is scattered or pointed, but these are my thoughts on the subject (not all of them).