Saturday, April 28, 2012

Youth is Served: How Emma Lost 10 Years

Original Emma

In the first story to feature Emma Earl, she's about 28 years old and had been the Scarlet Knight (Scarlet Lady) for a few years.  Since A Hero's Journey was the origin story, she would have to be younger than that.  Then through some circuitous process I decided to make her much younger--19--and have her be this genius who had already earned her doctorate in geology.

New, improved Emma!
Making her younger did more than change her age; it pretty much reshaped the whole character.  In the Heart of a Hero story, Emma is a lot more confident and in some ways even arrogant when she confronts the Watchmaker.  In making her a young genius who had skipped quite a few grades, she became a lot more shy and withdrawn, because when you're the youngest in your class (especially in college) by a few years it can be pretty intimidating.  Of course being a genius she could have been really overconfident, feeling superior to everyone, but that wouldn't fit with the idea that the Scarlet Knight has to be someone who is really, really good inside.  And it didn't really seem to fit in my mind with someone who was traumatized at a young age as she was when her parents were killed.

The added benefit to making her younger came in the sequels, where we get to watch her grow up.  At the start of A Hero's Journey, she's only been on one date, which was a disaster.  In the novel she falls in love for the first time and in the sequels has to deal with some consequences of love.  That's something that wouldn't really be possible if she had been a fairly normal 28-year-old woman.

It just goes to show you how one minor-seeming change can have a huge impact.

And just for fun here's an animated GIF showing Emma from 2 to 18:

The problem with that picture is that "red" for different styles in the Sims 2 can be slightly different shades of red.  Also when it compresses the palette for the GIF you can lose some colors.  But you get the gist of it.

Z is for our last A to Z post:  Zero Hour:  The New Blogging Schedule


  1. You've put so much effort into creating graphics for Tales of the Scarlet Knight, I can't help wondering if this is going to be a graphic novel. Or are the digital portraits just visual aids for you?

    1. It's a regular novel. These I made after I wrote the book just for fun. There is a graphic novel script version I made at

  2. Did she just outgrow the freckles? I didn't know they worked that way. I actually like the gif quite a bit.

    1. Well part of it is you can't have zits and freckles at the same time in the game. If you want you can say she covers them with makeup later.



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