Monday, October 21, 2013

A Character's Story

Everyone knows, by now, that I truly love writing and creating characters.  Its one of the true joys of creativity, to be able to really get into a story and work through it.  What most don’t know is, the character of El’Mindeeya Do’Katal, the Emerald Bard, has been around for quite some time, probably close to a decade, and only just recently has she been truly captured in a high quality picture.

She started off as just a name.  Deeya.  Such a simple beginning, but I loved how the name sounded.  It sounded almost elvish, but it was used in other ways first.  In fact, before we go any further, let me go even further back.

The first name I had ever created, that I loved dearly, was Lynx Madrin.  I loved now the Madrin sounds, (MAW-drin).  Its unique and such.  I started off using it as a video game character name, along with email address and everything else.  To this day I still use it as my internet handle, and will probably continue to do so forever.  It resonates to the very first sparks of creativity I ever had.

But as time went on, I realized that the old character of Lynx Madrin didn’t fit what I wanted to grow into as an ‘artist.’  So Deeya came along.  It was a simple name for a simple character in the beginning, and honestly didn’t have anything to do with elves at all.  She started a Star Wars game.

The last name seemed to just fit.  Deeya Do’Katal.  It has a certain rhythm to it.  When I migrated her over to another game, as an Elf, I knew I needed more to the first name.  El’Mindeeya Do’Katal was born as a tomboy elf bard, and I never looked back.  For the first time, I had created my own true character, an extension of my love of music, and my need for a sense of adventure.

Time went on, and now she’s the start of my weekly ongoing serial webfiction series, The Ballad of the Emerald Bard.  At this point, Deeya had already had close to one hundred pages of story, and fifty-eight poems that were her songs.  Though some of the songs were based in the video game and had to be either rewritten or scrapped.

I knew from the beginning that my main goal for the Ballad was to collect into a novelette of some form, be it printed or just an eBook.  And I always knew that I needed a good piece of cover art.

Ballad of the Emerald Bard
by Eddy-Shinjuku
Deeya had already been sketched a couple of times by friends, but I needed a serious piece of art to put on a cover to a book.  Lisa and I cobbled together a budget, and I found a very cheap, yet amazing artist on DeviantArt.  Eddy-Shinjuku is truly an amazing and highly reasonable commission artist.  He turned this character that really existed only in my head with references from screen shots from a game she no longer exists in, and cranked out something amazing.

The best part, I think, about the whole experience is how she continues to grow.  I now understand why sometimes cover art doesn’t match stories.  The artist and I discussed the use of musical symbols, and I had already used the Base/Treble Cleft Heart symbol, so we added it to her axe, which a gift from the goddess of music.  But as soon as he added it, I looked at the symbol and realized the symbol should have been the blade itself.

That symbol is now finding its way into the stories, in the last episode, Tregarde suggests that Deeya should wear the symbol, make it her own.  So now the symbol is going to start showing up on her person, be it belt buckles or sewn in emblems.  It might even have plot significance later.

Either way, Deeya had such a humble beginning, and is now such a wonderful character.  She has personality, a past, quirks, shortcomings, and an outlook for the future.  She has a life.  And I’m glad I’m the one that gets to tell the story, of her Ballad.

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