Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Lo'gaan Shelumiel, princess of the moon elves of Kesh'tame Woodland and master ranger, and her sworn enemy General Noggerath, a mysterious orc warlord whose forces have invaded the peaceful land of Avonell to steal its pixiedust, which powers all the world's magic and technology. This is the plot of Heroes of Avonell, the super-advanced virtual reality MMORPG featured in my cyber fantasy novel Pixeldust.

I did this sketch because I've never drawn Noggerath and wanted to try out some stuff for his character design. Lo'gaan is also fun to draw; I based her outfit off of traditional Korean armor and clothing (the fictional development company who created Heroes of Avonell is based in South Korea).

Also, I wanted to announce that there is a new, revised version of Pixeldust coming out very soon! I recently re-read it and discovered that I wasn't really satisfied with the first edition; the prose is very clunky in spots, and there were some prime character development opportunities I missed out on. I also realized there were a number of parts that I'd altered from the original draft to go along with my editor's recommendations, but actually, ever since I published the first edition I hadn't been able to shake that it wasn't really how I wanted the story to go. And it feels very overwritten at times, like I was trying to solve problems in the original draft that didn't actually exist.

I'm not saying the editor didn't do a good job - she did a great job and really helped me polish the story development - but now I realize there were places where I should have stayed true to my original creative vision, instead of assuming that the editor was always right and that I had no idea what I was doing (I've gained a bit more confidence in my writing since then). So I've given the novel a bit of an overhaul, and I'm much more pleased with it now. I drastically changed some parts, including a big element of the ending, which I mostly did to lead in better to ideas for a sequel I've been tossing around.

As for Lo'gaan and Noggerath, I realized that their character arcs needed more substance and closure. In the revised edition (spoilers) Lo'gaan goes along with General Orsamus's descent into control-freak megalomania because she's distraught over being just an AI in a video game instead of a real special snowflake princess. But the protagonists - including Noggerath, who's not a bad guy and was only invading Avonell in a misguided attempt to save his own kingdom - help her understand that her true merit comes from her strength of character and honorable deeds, not a fake title of royalty and a fictional backstory. Noggerath saves her life after she helps them escape from Orsamus's forces, and offers her sanctuary at his home kingdom of Caed Dhraos. The two work together to protect Caed Dhraos from Orsamus, who has gone on a self-righteous power trip, and eventually end up a couple in a twist of irony. 

All of this was something I vaguely hinted at in the first edition, but in reading it again I felt like their character arcs just weren't coming through clearly enough and weren't emotionally satisfying, just hints of character development that seemed to be lurking under the surface but never properly manifested. I think my revisions soundly fixed that issue, however, as well as a lot of others.

The revised edition is not up for sale yet, but it should be soon. I'm very grateful for all the nice reviews the book has gotten, and I hope that this new edition will live up to those compliments even more than the previous one.

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