Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Joining The Coven

A collaboration between Jenna Winn and myself

This is a caption made from my request for help in "Collaboration Round 2".  Much like my previous collaborative works, I took a story written up by Jenna Winn that was inspired by a photo and idea from me, and applied it into one of my designs.

This is the first collaboration where the author made a major edit in her submission before I had a chance to try and make it work in a cap.  Here is what Jenna originally wrote:


They finished the offering, and Bianca was "born". "Yesss." The word escaped through her clenched teeth in a low hiss. It had been almost two years since she had discovered what the three girls surrounding her were. He had stumbled across them deep in the woods one night, drawn by the eerie light of their witchcraft at work. The things he saw were incredible...unbelievable...and in that moment a plan began to take form in his mind. He realized that his dreams and desires were there...just beyond his fingertips. It wouldn't be easy. These girls were not genies or fairies...they weren't going to simply grant him a wish, that much was clear. They were witches... and a sense of wickedness emanated from their presence. This was going to be dangerous, take careful planning and flawless execution...but from the moment he realized it was possible to be the beautiful, powerful woman that lived in his dreams he knew he would walk to hell and back to make it happen. He had played the game so well that they never saw him pulling the strings. Now, at this moment...surrounded by Helena, the raven haired beauty... Miranda, the fiery temptress...and Circe the brown haired mistress of this moment, Bianca was drunk in her conquest. "God Yesss."she hissed again....

As Helena pulled back Bianca's blouse to reveal her ample new breasts she thought back to the day that john had "accidentally" knocked on her dorm room door. "Hi, I'm Caitlyn in? She has some notes for me from Psych class." Helena smiled, "Caitlyn is just across the hall in 665...but she's in class for another hour of so, I'm Helena by the way." She noticed John staring at the glass of red wine that she held. "Would you like a glass?" she asked. "Ummm..sure, if you don't mind." he replied. She waved a hand and motioned him in. In the weeks and months that followed, the two spent more and more time together. She teased more and more secrets out of him, becoming his best and only friend before she introduced him to Miranda. She thought again of the moment that he had walked into her room and wondered if now Bianca knew that was the moment that had sealed her fate? "Yesss." She heard Bianca hiss and she smiled wickedly at the irony...

Miranda smiled smugly as she ran her hand beneath Bianca's breasts. Her thoughts wandered back to the night Helena had introduced her to John at the club. She knew that Helena had told him that the two girls were lovers...and when they hit the dance floor Miranda turned up the heat. They were like fire and he was the moth dancing around them, aching, desperate to get burned. She had ignored him the whole night and then just as they were calling it a night she had leaned in to him and whispered, breathy, her mouth on his ear, "If you wanna come play with us, you are gonna have to be our sexy little girl." Each time they got together, John had fallen deeper and deeper into the fem role, and each time she teased him with the promise of intimacy if he could just go a little farther. She introduced him to Circe as someone who could help him take that last step. She wondered if he knew he had surrendered his manhood moments into their first dance. "God Yesss." Bianca hissed.

Circe grabbed Miranda's hair and sneered. She remembered when John had been brought before her in a short black dress and ankle boots, his hair long and styled, his nails and makeup flawless. "You think this makes you a girl??" she snarled. "Kneel."she said plainly. John stammered teary eyed, "I..I.." Circe moved like lightning striking his face with the back of her hand. "On.. your.. fucking.. knees.. bitch!" The look of submission on his face was unmistakable as he fell to his knees. Over the next several months the days and nights blended together in a symphony of pain and surrender. After John had ceased to exist, and before Bianca was born, Circe had begun to set up the ritual to bring to life the newest member of their coven. All was prepared when the three of them came together to make the offering and recite the incantation. Circe wondered if John had known that he had forfeited his soul with that first tear? "God Yesss." Bianca hissed.

Bianca was stripped naked except for the blindfold when the other three began to chant. Involuntarily, she joined the incantation. Her mind reeled. The room grew hot and seemed to swarm with energy. A strange musky scent filled the air...and something else...what was that smell? The chanting stopped and everything went deathly still. Bianca whispered Helena. Bianca, whispered Miranda. Bianca, whispered Circe. The Master has come they all whispered in unison. They remover her blindfold revealing a a looming naked figure..a man ...but not a man...Bianca gasped. "Give yourself to him." they whispered. She looked on in terror. "Nooo!"she cried out. "Yesss." they hissed. They carried her and placed her before him on her knees...his massive erection brushed her lips. "Take him!" they whispered. She parted her lips and tasted his pure evil...a smile crossed her lips"Oh MY god YESSSS!!!" she hissed. As she surrendered herself to him completely.

I'll freely admit, I was nervous about this offering when Jenna posted.  I really liked the story, but this could easily be a five panel cap.  And even with the full gallery available there weren't enough images to pull that off.  I had in the back of my head way to make it work with less images, but none of them were satisfying.

Thankfully before I tried to make it work, Jenna submitted this shorter more concise version.  It may not have the full impact of the original longer story, but it still packs quite a punch while getting all of the story across.

This morning as I read over this shorter version, I figured it wouldn't need many changes at all... that is until I got to the last paragraph.  It felt like this is where Jenna tried to push all the remaining ideas and emotion into the story.  I wanted to keep the ideas and emotions, but didn't want them to feel quite so crammed in.  So I did some major rewriting there.  The first thing I did was take out a lot of the dialog.  To me, the dialog was getting in the way and interrupting the narrative.  Some of it was needed to push the story along, but I changed the rest to part of the narration instead of direct quotes.

In the end I changed Jenna's one long paragraph into three shorter ones, making the last quote stand on it's own.  I think that last quote really finishes the story off well.

Design wise, I wanted to walk a fairly tight line.  I wanted the over all feeling to be both dark and bright.  Dark, because the story does in fact end that way (and if you consider John's manipulation it actually starts out that way too).  Bright, because in the middle this is almost a love story.  Bianca's addition to herself that she really loves Miranda.

My fist attempt was actually using the blue hues from the girl's uniforms.  But a couple things came up with that.  I had already used a blue background with this same image in "Witch's Needs", and overall the blue didn't have a warm loving feeling at all.  It was more cool and didn't inspire the feeling I wanted to emote.

As nervous as I am about using red backgrounds, I figured it was the only logical choice.  The red can be interpreted both in a valentine style loving feeling as well as a darker blood feeling.  The biggest problem with using red is that there really isn't a 'light red' color.  You can have light yellow, light green, and light blue.  But light red is pink.  And pink is one of those innocent colors that I didn't feel belonged in this cap or with this story.  That's why the text is pure white.

To add a little more feeling to the text I went with a serif font instead of my standard sansarif (Calibri).  Being serif, I had to make the text a little bigger to remain as legible as possible.  Thankfully I had already pictured the text being in a longer text box.

I'm fairly happy with the design.  I don't think it works quite as well as "Reformed"   or even "The Finishing Touch", but it still works.

As with any collaborative effort, I await Jenna's opinion.  Like in our last effort, if she sees something that needs to be changed, that will be done before I call this cap finished.

UPDATE 09/14/2012 9:00AM

I took Jenna's edits and made a new version for her approval.  She liked the darker colors better and felt the ending tweaks were equal to the origianal.  So that version is now THE version.  Below is the original:


  1. First things first...Thank you for bringing my story to life. It is no small thing that you have given your time to these collaborative stories.

    I love the background and the layout. I think red is the perfect choice of color...I might have taken it to a darker blood red...but, it works nicely as is, and a significantly darker red would probably require a darker image.

    I miss the bit of dialogue at the end of the story where Bianca declares her love to derisive laughter. I loved that bit when I wrote it...At the same time there is something about the way that you rewrote the ending that I like very much as is cleaner and I think, packs a better punch in the end. I don't know if there is a way to marry the to aspects and i do love it as is.

    The truth is, that I was not entirely sure that the story was usable. The first time I tried to write it, the story was sooo long and even there, I kept condensing as I wrote it. It seriously could have been thousands of words longer if I had let it. Even the second version tried to expand as I wrote it and I wasn't sure if I had killed it with the editing knife.

    On a side note, I had played with the idea of using different capper's pen names as the names of the characters and I think that could easily been done...but my first thought was to use names from literature with connections to magic...drawing from Greek myth and Shakespeare. Bianca, also from Shakespeare(Othello), is not related to the occult and it was a toss up as to whether to go with the name Desdemona the ill fated heroine or Bianca the not quite so ill fated or innocent, implied courtesan who seeks a love that is never truly hers...

    In the end, the above was a long-winded way to say Mmmmwwaaah.

    1. I addressed your design and story edits below, but I wanted to reply to a couple more things directly.

      Telling a long story in cap form is often a struggle of editing. Many cap artists (myself most assuredly included) fight that a lot. You may not see it as after fighting for so long, much of that struggle is internal. But if you look at my earlier work you'll often see multi-panel caps that honestly could have been edited down to a single page. I think you did a wonderful job of taking a very long story (your first attempt) and editing it down to the basic essentials. This shorter version has almost all of the emotional impact without the extraneous phrasing and side stories.

      As to names, well I just loved the names you chose. I like using cap artists names but it does require having a knowledge of how they perceive themselves or at least how they like to see themselves portrayed.

  2. Jenna,

    I took your suggestions and reworked the cap. I darkened all the reds especially the title. The title doesn't stand out quite as much, but that isn't a bad thing. I also darkened the photograph, but there isn't much more room for that as the dark uniforms are already losing a bit of detail. Again... it's not necessarily BAD, it's just a choice.

    I also reworked the last few paragraphs to add in the girls' laughter. Let me know what you think of this version.

    1. I really like the darker color. I think it sets the mood well. After reading both endings several times...I'm not really sure witch one I like better. There is that extra little twist of the knife in the second one, but the first one is so smooth...I am more than happy with both versions...giddy really. TY so much.

    2. Jenna,

      I'm glad you like the darker version. After a day I have to admit I like the darker one better myself. As you like the endings equally, I'll stay with the version that includes the laughter. It is now the finished product (I've edited the post to show that now). Thank you again for submitting the story!

  3. Between you it is a very elegant piece of work. I really thik the names that you have chosen for then characters work with the story.

    1. TY Anne, Caitlyn does a wonderful job doesn't she?