The Creation of Cassie Winter
Written by Edwin McRae.
Welcome back to Moonlight, town of cloying mist and macabre murder. The townsfolk have been disappearing at an alarming rate and the town’s founder and mayor, Captain George Moonlight, thinks that Cullers might be behind it. So he’s written a letter to the Order of the Falcon requesting their assistance.
Enter Cassie Winter, a junior Falconer on her first solo mission.
Ok, so let’s take you, step by step, through the process of creating a character like Cassie Winter.
Step 1 – The Character Profile
First we get the basics sorted.
Name: Cassandra Winter
Age: Late 20s
Culture: English New Zealander. The daughter of English colonists.
Step 2 – Inspiration
Next I rummage through my existing story experiences to see if there’s a character or archetype that we might want to base our Cassie on.
Nothing is ever created in a vacuum. Just because you’re building a house doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the bricks.
I needed a strong female character, preferably an adventurer from a colonial setting.
Sharon Stone as the gunslinging Ellen in The Quick and the Dead.
Step 3 – Persona
From there, I fill in some brief details about her background and personality.
“Cassie is still relatively new to the Falconers business. In fact, this is her first solo mission. She’s a crack shot, cool under pressure, and naturally untrusting…a good survival trait for Falconers. She just hasn’t personally handled an investigation before. She’s assisted in several, but this is her chance to prove herself as a full-fledged hunter of Cullers.”
Step 4 – Image
Only then do I get down to the specifics of how Cassie looks. It’s important to be very to-the-point here. With a visual novel you’re informing an artist who will then do a concept sketch of this character.
Like this one below drawn by Moonlight’s talented artist, Rusharil.
Actually, the above is Rusharil’s second version of Cassie’s concept. The first had high-heeled boots which I had to veto. No true adventuress can abide traversing rough terrain in high heels.
“Like most female Falconers, Cassie has had to have her field-wear tailor made. Female ‘active wear’ was pretty hard come by in the mid-19th Century. She favours brown and goes for hard-wearing materials like leather, wool and cotton. Physically, Cassie is lean and athletic. Sandy blonde hair and blues eyes. She’s pretty but in a sensible way.”
I’m also very wary of stereotypes and like to point out exactly what I don’t want a character to look like.
Too often when you put anime, woman, and adventurer together you get something horrendously soft porn like the ‘girl’ on our left here.
This is not what Falconers is about!
Step 5 – Character Concept Lineart
Once the Concept Sketch is signed off, it’s then up to the artist to produce a Lineart Illustration of the character. This is a more detailed, more complete version of the character. Something like the above.
We got lucky with this one. Rusharil nailed it right off the bat. Often, this process can involve several versions until all of the details are ironed out.
Step 6 – Colouring
Then it’s time to get colourful. For this, our artist produced a range of colour options based on some guidelines that we set down. As in, Cassie needed to be blonde, blue-eyed, and that she favours shades of brown in her attire.
Step 7 – Final Concept
Once we’ve picked and chosen our colour palette from the above samples, our ever patient artist presents us with the Final Concept.
Behold, Cassie Winter as she will appear in Moonlight, the Visual Novel!
All illustrations by Ares for Moonlight: The Visual Novel.