Next week I will be presenting my Senior Project at the Honors Project Interdisciplinary Conference.
Literally, next week. Friday, May 3 at 11:10 a.m. in room 1307 of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. Just in case any of you are interested in going!
It’s a whole panel on creative writing that includes my novel, a children’s book about a character with Down Syndrome and a collection of essays about learning English.
I’ll talk about that more, but it’s worth a plug now.
Mostly because it gives me an excuse to talk about one of my most exciting pieces of presentation preparation:
The character sketches.
For the last couple months I’ve been working with the wonderful Elizabeth Person to draw my four main characters. Having tangible ways to see them was a perfect way to spice up the PowerPoint.
It just so happened that my Mom knew Elizabeth from her work with Edward Branley (whom she does book edits for), and her art style meshed well with the fantasy aesthetic.
As you can see in my Featured Image, the drawings came out really well!
But of course… You didn’t think I would show off my babies and not talk about them, did you?
Nah. We talking all about these good folks!
I need to practice for my presentation, after all.
Eli is a human knight who leads the adventuring party into raids, looking for treasure and glory so they can leave their small trading town in the Western Badlands and see the Bresegon Empire’s capital.
He proudly uses his father’s white armor and blade, both staples of the paladins who serve as royal guards. For the most part he is stoic and cool-headed in combat.
However, that cool facade often gives way to a defeatist, lamenting rant into a mug of ale as he blames himself for the party’s frequent inability to secure the treasure they need. Which, as a result imposes upon Romeri for funding, keeps Julianna from going abroad and impedes Sovann’s desire to prove himself as a thief.
He is also deathly afraid of horses, which comes up often as he tries to overcome that roadblock preventing him from truly becoming the paladin he claims to be (to the jest of his friends).
Julianna is a quiet, well-studied elven mage, an up-and-coming expert in both tome- and scroll-based magics. She carries around enough encyclopedias to be a jack-of-all-trades in lore around the continent.
In the world of Isenvid and the Four Orbs (my novel’s current title), the elvish people have a tragic backstory. Their village in the Gnarled Forest was invaded by Bresegon soldiers and razed, with most of the children being taken away to reeducation schools.
Julianna was one such child, and to this day retains both a desire to find acceptance (only used to racist rejection), a drive to learn her people’s history and a fear of fire.
An element that tends to being important for a mage.
Her personal feelings of being unaccepted leave the girl self-conscious about her 7′ height, glowing porcelain skin and somewhat gangly figure. She covers herself up (under the guise of avoiding sunburns) and prefers to go by “Julie.”
Though Sovann and Romeri will frequently get on her nerves with the affectionate “Ju-Ju.”
Romeri is a human archer and the oldest member of the party. She is business-savvy and worldly, having traveled before settling down to run a tavern, and she’s matriarchal; offering all of her friends an ear.
She tends to be the most fashion-forward when not in battle-ready armor — but even then tends to go for style over substance. Her desire to look good is matched only by her desire for wealth and fiscal security.
In combat Romeri is indispensable, though she has a tendency to arrive late to the party. Her long-ranged attacks almost never miss, as she has a long history of training with some of the best soldiers on the continent.
In fact, her ex was a royal soldier who now runs her own traveling mercenary troupe. A connection that may or may not become relevant in the story. Wink wink, plug plug.
She terrifies the elf who tends bar while she is away, and her hair is dyed by flowers.
Sovann is a human thief with a skin condition called vitiligo.
From an early age he was trained to be a cleric in the Furbism tradition, a religion that was nearly wiped out as its capital was sacked to leave the Bresegon Empire in control.
He’s an effective healer, but got bored of that mundane life and decided to become a thief. There he could find action and fight with his preferred weapon: Daggers. That transformation is symbolized by his old priest’s vestment, which has been modified to serve as a cloak.
However… He’s a klutz, and more often than not people will defeat enemies before he has the chance, which leaves Sovann relegated to healing duty.
He bemoans the job but eagerly helps his friends, and carries his old staff tied to his back with the unused sleeves of his cloak.
Sovann is also known to be a tease (especially fond of poking fun at the budding romance between Eli and Julianna that only they do not realize is happening), and will hit on just about anything that moves.
They’re wonderful, aren’t they?
I’m planning on finishing my novel over the summer once I have the stress of finals and graduation out of the way, which means hopefully you’ll all be able to read their story sometime soon!
In the meantime, I definitely recommend checking out Elizabeth’s work. It was hard to give away my babies and let someone else try to visualize how I’ve imagined them, but she did a wonderful job and was really communicative throughout the process.
Even traded rough sketches here and there for my feedback:
It’s been awesome, something I’m absolutely considering doing again.