I originally composed a lot of the tracks on “Voyage of Starscapes” for the novel version of this story (not published), and I will probably use/remix several of those songs for the visual novel!
Korah grew up on Teballai, a toxic planet of jagged rocks and societal enslavement. Once a pure and compassionate spirit, she has seen too much cruelty and suffering to retain much hope for the future. She is quiet and withdrawn, too bitter towards other people to engage with them. Not until she meets Blaire does she dare place trust in another human being, and maybe even hope that the fate of her planet could change for the better.
1st Character design attempt for Korah. I wanted her to be a typical beautiful woman-type without looking *too* doll-faced… hopefully I succeeded!
This is another little scene I wrote as back-story for the characters of “Quantum Conscience,” my current project. This one is about Blaire (the main character) and Veramus. I find it both fun and useful to write little scenes like this on the sidelines of the main story. A great deal might be left unexplained in each vignette, but such is their nature. I hope you find them interesting all the same!
We stood on a balcony of the Q’s tower, watching night smother the city far below. We were only fifteen years old, but felt that the world was ours for the taking. We were not far from wrong.
A fog hovered over the world, softening the edges of the stony landscape beneath us. Where the smoky plumes brushed light, colors blossomed in the mist: red, yellow, green. At the time I did not consider it unusual. Strange fumes drifted endlessly from the rocky depths of Teballai’s surface, harmful to breathe, but beautiful to watch. If we forgot to take our medicine—or, in the case of the less fortunate, could not obtain any—we developed raucous coughs and bloody noses from the toxic gases. But Veramus and I always took our medicine, because we were class Cypher-P. We had everything we desired, because we were too stupid to realize we should have desired more.
The winds bombarded our bodies, harder than usual. Our cloaks flapped against our torsos like furious wings. I took a swig of korkal. The bitter spirit burned down my throat and punched me in the chest. I let out a squeal of unrestrained delight.
Veramus only glared at me, his mouth a flat slash across his face. I watched his long dark hair whip around his head as if trying to yank free of him, and this made me laugh harder.
In my next visual novel, “Quantum Conscience,” the player will be able to choose at the beginning whether the main character is male or female. I admit that this began as a cop-out for me, because I simply couldn’t decide whether to make the protagonist a man or a woman. See, I wrote the first draft of this story back in high school, and the main character was a man. But since then, I have been increasing my efforts to incorporate strong women into my stories.
I like men. I like looking at them, drawing them, even being one in my imagination. But I realize this is partially because the media is filled with so many bad-ass men that it’s harder to imagine myself as a bad-ass woman. I realize that as an entertainer, it’s part of my responsibility to help change that.
But even I—a girl that has always been into “guy” things, at least according to society—have trouble writing female characters sometimes without overly sexualizing them (there’s probably a better word for that but it’s escaping me at the moment) or making their primary concerns revolve around romance. It’s just so drilled into our subconscious minds that this is what a female character should be.
Now that I’m writing interactive media, I’m going to fully embrace the flexibility it offers. After struggling a long time with the decision of whether to turn my self-made high school hero into a woman, I realized—why must I choose? The player gets to decide the gender right from the start.
Already, just while drawing the character portraits, I’ve had a lot of fun interpreting the differences between the male and female body. I think it will be even more interesting to write a “unisex” character. In my head I go back and forth between imagining Blaire as one or the other. I suspect I will continue to discover interesting differences between how I expect male and female characters to behave, and I think it will be very enlightening to switch between watching a man and a woman play out my lines on screen.
I found this review of the “Serafina’s Saga” VN and debated whether or not to share it here. Overall, I am always pleased to get an in-depth review, especially a positive one (if only a slightly positive one, in this case), and one that provides some helpful criticism. With great effort, I will restrain from ranting on in my own defense, which I could certainly do, but I understand that a lot of things are a matter of taste.
As for my art, I accept that I still have plenty of room to improve; I have not been developing those skills for as long as I’ve been writing, not by a long shot. And yes, I am both the writer and artist. However, I will not apologize for my art *style,* especially character design. Mallion was supposed to look ridiculous, if in an amusing way. And Xavier was supposed to look vampiric. Also, has the reviewer ever watched anime? Sorry, I said I wouldn’t rant…I will add that he/she(?)’s probably right about the clothes, which I hate drawing. I have a lot of room to improve there. I’m usually just tempted to draw everyone naked. How about that for a solution? XD
As for not hiring voice actors for the VN, that was a very hard decision to make. I very much *wanted* to. Mostly, I chose not to because of memory storage issues. The game is already 414 MB, which is a whole lot for people who want to play it on their phone, and about 3 times the size of a typical visual novel. I probably need to get better at compressing files or something. I suspect that adding voice clips would double that size. Secondly, I didn’t think Serafina’s voice actor would be able to work for me again. Finally, I believe voice actors should be paid for their work—even when they’re kind enough to do it for free—but I haven’t made a *DIME* off of this franchise, and lost a great deal of my own money and time. At this point in time, I haven’t gotten a single donation, nor a single purchase of the soundtrack, which is the only thing that I ask people to buy if they want the music. I’m not trying to make the fans feel guilty—I knew what I was doing when I released it for free—but if you’re going to complain that I haven’t hired help for the project, then be prepared to spend money on it!
Sorry, again… I’m ranting… but this is my tumblr, I can rant if I want to =P In any case I greatly appreciate JP’s review, even if our tastes differ somewhat, and I will take what tips from it that I can!
On my blog, I’ve started a tradition of posting a short character vignette every Tuesday. People who played the Serafina’s Saga visual novel have been requesting to see more Kallias and Xavier, so this is for you! :)
A wiry young man sat alone in large room of stone next to a table piled with gold. He was sixteen years old, and the bejeweled crown upon his head had been so recently placed that his mop of short, candy yellow hair still struggled to hold it upright.
Kallias tapped his fingers upon the table, causing the gold coins on top of it to jingle incessantly. He didn’t mind the sound. In fact, he found it reassuring, and he needed all the reassurance he could get right now. He liked every physical indication of the gold piled in front of him, especially the bright golden glow it cast throughout the dull room of stone, or the sparkles that ignited where beams of sunlight from the window struck the coins directly. He formed a rhythm with the tapping of his fingers and the jingle of the coins, then started to hum a little melody with it.
When the door of his room opened, the melody died in Kallias’s throat with a whimper. His fingers stopped tapping and his body stiffened like a block of stone. His big amber eyes stared at the swinging entrance until the pupils widened into gaping black holes. He watched and waited, his tense body unable to move except to tremble, as a dark figure slipped through the opening.
The man before Kallias was tall and slender, and he seemed to move more gracefully than his own shadow. A long hooded cloak hung from his shoulders, covering most of his body in undulating swaths of black fabric. His soft leather boots barely whispered as he walked across the stones, and as his cloak billowed around him like wings unfolding, Kallias wondered if the stranger secretly flew. Then, just as quietly, he came to a stop in the middle of the room. His hands reached up—two appendages of pale, skeletal white flesh against the dark clothing—and grabbed the edge of his hood.