Secrets of the Fairy Ring (Long Post)

When we play Dungeons and Dragons at my local game store, sometimes we are honored to have Erik Scott de Bie as one of our DMs. Erik is an expert on the Forgotten Realms, D&D’s most popular world, and he has co-authored the recent Neverwinter Campaign Guide and written the modules Halaster’s Lost Apprentice and The Lost Crown of Neverwinter.


My character in the current D&D Encounters season

One of the players asked Erik how he had come to write for Wizards of the Coast. Erik replied with the same advice applicable to job seekers in any field: get to know people in the industry. In Erik’s case, that meant joining online communities and attending gaming conventions.

Now it’s no secret that I plan to become a professional artist in the future, and have been spending all my free time improving my art skills because of it. But I should also be spending time getting to know people in the industry. Although my immigration status forbids me from leaving the company I currently work for, that is no excuse for not at least trying to network. Even if I can’t leave my job, I could become an elite fan artist like Justin Treadway or Souin Kuhou. (I would have to become better at drawing first, but I’m working on that.)

I decided it was time for me to meet people at conventions. The problem is, I had no portfolio to show to contacts and recruiters. All I had is my Pixiv page, a business card and a resume that shows 5 years of experience at an unrelated IT job.

I tried to see if DoujinPress would be willing to publish my most successful work, Lotus Cobra is Evil. While it is still a possibility for the future, any plans to publish Lotus Cobra is Evil are on hold for now because of possible copyright issues, mostly involving the use of actual card images or drawings made to look very similar, and also because of the occasional color page.

But when Kira of DoujinPress saw Fairy Ring, she thought that it had more potential than Lotus Cobra, because the content was more in line with what is normally sold on DoujinPress.

Author says:
August 8, 2011 at 11:31 am
I hope you thought this reset through.

I most certainly thought this through, but what people didn’t know at the time was the full reason why the reset occurred. Cutting pages, removing the yuri – all of it was so that I could get the book to them by September 12, a deadline set by them, not me. The shift of theme from the Romeo and Juliet scenario of “lovers on opposite sides of a war” to the “miracle of religious conversion” story was driven primarily by trying to hit a deadline.

The fact that it improved the story and made it closer to my personal experience (despite being a non-religious person at the moment, I have been converted to three different religions at various points in time) was merely a good side effect, made not as good by how I had to rush the story along.

Note how I suddenly decided that I would get four pages done per week even if it meant sacrificing my Magic tournament attendance and the quality of the artwork. Also note that I succeeded.

Strangely enough, after the yuri was taken out, the book got a tag of “yuri” on DoujinPress. Seriously? I have nothing against yuri – I have a mild yuri picture in my site banner and I love Souin Kuhou’s Youmu x Reisen books – but what kind of yuri goggles do you have to be wearing in order to think Fairy Ring is yuri?

And then I noticed that Kira, leader of DoujinPress, runs a site called Yurikai and has a post where she suggests that the Angel of Flight Alabaster is yuri for Avacyn. Yeah, I think some goggles are coming into play entering the battlefield right there.


Totally different with yuri goggles

Also note that there is a promo poster that goes along with the comic. It’s 11 x 17 inches. Here’s a preview.


Larger image

So anyway, you’ll get the complete color version of the poster if you buy Fairy Ring.

Mushyrulez says:
September 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm
How much time did you spend thinking about this (and how many drafts, lolol)?

If you go back to the very beginning, when the story included a boy whose sister got eaten by Rumia, there were like 20 different versions of the script: three major revisions, and 17 sub-revisions. I would think of what to do whenever I was exercising, which I do for about 30 minutes every morning. I had only one word document holding a major version of the script, but I also had a number of plain text files that were constantly morphing.

That seems like a lot of work for what ended up being an poorly paced hack, but recall that in 2007 Jason Miao quit my manga project because my rate of production was only one page a month, and just in pencil. Now I can do four pages with complete lineart, two of which have nontrivial backgrounds, in a week. I assume my speed at writing will become better as my skill improves.

Mushyrulez says:
September 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm
Two last (unimportant) notes: why is this titled Fairy Ring anyways?
And where’s Masha?

The first and second major revisions of the script actually had a fairy ring as part of the plot. When Cirno promised not to freeze any more frogs, Suwako planted a mushroom, and told Cirno one more piece of the ring would grow for every day that she didn’t freeze a frog. Cirno then spent the next 60 or so days not only not freezing frogs, but also getting her youkai friends to be more friendly toward humans. In the 100-page version of the script, Rumia even refused to change and went EX, beating the crap out of Cirno and Suwako until Reimu showed up and saved the day.

Yeah, it’s a good thing I didn’t go with that.

There’s no longer a fairy ring in the story, but a fairy ring is still a symbol of Cirno x Suwako, being associated with both fairies and frogs (through toadstools) and Suwako’s main weapon being a ring.

As for Masha, I didn’t even think of whether she was appropriate for the story. With how squeezed the plot ended up being, there would be no room for her even if I had thought of her.

Flak says:
September 15, 2011 at 8:50 am
I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next.

School’s about to start, but I do know what my next project is going to be. Coming summer 2012 is another Toho Project fanbook, called Guns & Roses. Try to guess which popular Toho character pairing will be featured (unless you’re Sam, in which case you shouldn’t spoil it for the others.)

5 comments on “Secrets of the Fairy Ring (Long Post)

  1. Well dude, if I read this post correctly, huge congrats!!

    *clicks the link to the pre-order page*

    Yep. That’s awesome! 8)

  2. Derp, I seriously thought you actually worked for J.C. Staff when I looked at your about page when I first visited the site.

    …Just to confirm, do you?

  3. J.C.Staff is the legal owner of my soul, but no, I don’t work for them. I am flattered that you would think so, though.

  4. Congrats on another completed project! I probably wouldn’t make the deadline since I always change things around (maybe even more than you). That in itself is pretty commendable. Also, I’m glad you didn’t go the yuri route. Yuri is fine as long as it isn’t shameless fanservice… which is also okay, but only if the work is based around shameless fanservice and/or silliness. But anyways, it was an entertaining read. The art was pretty cute, too (FROGGIES!!!)

    Btw, I think The Notorious WALFAS deserves proper credit on your credits page. If memory serves me correctly, he started the whole “No way, that’s impossible!” gag many eons ago. I’m pretty sure he won’t mind… BUT WE MUST ALWAYS SHOW PROPER RESPECT!!! YOU MUST SUPPLY WALFAS WITH A FREE COPY (just kidding!!)

    (through toadstools)

    Toad… STOOLS?!?! OH NO DOES CIRNO STEP ON FROGS TOO?!?! *BA DUM PSH* Actually I have one more question. This Doujin Press thing… how much money do/will you make if you don’t mind me asking? I think it’s great that mini-publishers are promoting new artists. I may be interested in the far future, when I increase my power level.

  5. “Guns and Roses”

    Oh, please, we saw that pairing coming from miles away. Mentioning Souin Kuhou was the big tipoff.

    Looking forward to it.

    *off to preorder a copy of Fairy Ring*

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