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Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Pipe Dream

Four years ago I started writing a short story for an upcoming fiction contest. The contest was to be held by Alderac Entertainment Group, specifically in the Legend of the Five Rings game. By the time the contest came around, my story was way to long to fit into their word count. I tried to condense it, that didn't work. So, I tried just sending in the first part that added up to their maximum. It didn't win, and I can understand. It was an incomplete fiction, just an introduction basically. I left it alone for a while, but the fiction kept running around in my head. I wanted to continue telling my characters story. I decided to pick it back up and continue with the next parts.

I have been playing Legend of the Five Rings for a long time now. One aspect of the game that intrigues me is that the game's central story is influenced by the actions of the players. Mostly through tournament wins, but also through side events and special situations, players have created characters, started wars, ended wars, and ultimately moved the main storyline in unique directions. As a long time CCG player, the idea of being able to have that kind of influence on the game really compels me. One small problem though, I am not good enough. I haven't won the ability to have that kind of impact, and I haven't been anywhere that I could partake of side events that would give me the opportunity. So, my goal has yet to be realized.

Knowing that I have little chance to win my way into this, I almost gave up altogether. But, I decided to give it one last try. I may not be the worlds greatest card player, but I am a decent author. I pulled out that semi-short story and fleshed it out. Then I went on with the storyline I had crafted to grow the characters and events. If I was going to create a character, I wanted to give him a life, a story. I wanted to make the readers want to know him, follow him, cheer for him, cry for him, laugh with him.

As I said, Legend of the Five Rings already has a pretty intense storyline. Crafted to cover an entire land, this game includes a role playing game that has helped develop the intricacies of Rokugans society. So, to keep it within reason for the players, I contacted the games head story writer with questions. He is a very nice person who is very willing to help, when he isn't chasing around his young son or teaching school. I also used many of their RPG books and a website for the RPG players to maintain the integrity of the storyline. I took a few liberties, and beefed up the characters of a few of the notable people of the main storyline. But, I tried my best to keep it believable.

While I wrote the story, I drew my character. The half lion half man person that you have often seen with my stuff, that's him. Asahina Miyagi, aka Ashinaga. I drew him to see him, to know about him while I wrote. Then, I started to draw him in the situations from the stories. I love to draw, and I do often, ( as seen in my previous posts) so this was not a difficult thing for me to do between writings.

So, after I finished the two stories and the character art, I decided it was time to present my proposal for a character. In my over-do-it fashion, I found good paper that looked like rice paper and printed out the stories with the art placed amongst the writing. It took me three days to slowly print it out with the right font and making sure the art came through looking good. I even had to sit back and do some hands on touch up of the art itself to make it come through alright. I boxed that up with a letter, and sent it off to AEG. Now it was time to wait.

I never got a response. I contact them, they had no idea what I was talking about. I contacted the head writer, he visited their head office, but did not find the box. I have no idea where it ended up, but it is lost to the void. I felt crushed. It was like the world simply doesn't want me to succeed.

After some time considering my options, I decided to simply post the story on the fan fiction forum, within the Forums for the game. To me it was more than fan fiction, but that is about all I could do. It has had many views, and I hope that a few people have enjoyed it. I still hope for the chance to craft my own character that sees print, but my hopes have dwindled. Right now, my sincerest hope is that someone liked what I wrote. That is, after all, the core hope that I have always had as an author. If you are interested, take a look. I remind you, without knowledge of the game, it will probably not make much sense.

The story is incomplete. Yes, it is a cliff hanger, don't kill me please. The final parts of this story will be rather intense to write. It will take time and a lot of effort. If the response to this is lackluster to nil, I won't see the reason to write it. In fact, my hopes were to have the storyteam help me write it, so that I am sure that it is within the reality of the game. Unfortunately, I have lived a life of pipe dreams and am trying to break that habit.

As a final bit of fun, I decided to make a video using the pictures I drew and some of the art from the game. It is the conclusion to the last bit of story I wrote.

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