polychrome_pen: (Brandon of Winx Club)
Gah, I haven't posted anything here since January 1st!  One of my yearly goals was to blog at least twice a month, and so far I'm doing kind of miserably at it. Heh.

January passed by in a super blur, but one highlight was going down to Southern California for my brother's birthday.  I got us tickets to see Wicked with some friends (first time for him, third time for me...XD).  The show was a Sunday evening, and I flew down the Thursday night before.  I had plans to get together with an old friend on Friday and take my brother to Disneyland on Saturday.  Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans...after my plane landed Thursday night, I promptly got stomach flu. >_<  It was horrible, and I was up most of the night.  Thankfully, everything seemed to calm down by Friday night, so we made the decision around noon on Saturday to attempt Disneyland.  It was so crowded...and raining.  Raindrops became daggers to poke you in the eyes on outside rides.  Still, it was good to get out of the apartment and away from my illness for a few hours.  Wicked on Sunday was great; I think it was the same cast who I saw last May when they came through Sacramento.

After seeing that Netflix was possibly taking down My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I burned through Season Four (and then ended up rewatching a bunch of other random episodes!).  S4 reminded me why I love that series.  Great character moments, more nods to bits of continuity, and the most kickass fight EVER in MLP anything.  I was worried a bit when Twilight became a princess at the end of S3, but the writers really handled how her character would deal with a life-changing event like that perfectly.  Also, I listened to the "Filli Vanilli" song for like a week straight.  Sooo good.  (Actually, the series has always had really strong music.)  I need to get my comics out and catch up with what's happening there now.

Writing-wise, I've been slowly poking away at Theodore and Tippetarius in Oz, my genderbent Wizard of Oz retelling.  While I'm enjoying it immensely, I'm still unsure of what to do with the final product.  It will need serious editing, and possible rewriting (with more of a plan and world guidelines/timeline in firm place) if I ever plan on publishing it.  I do want to eventually share it.  I may start by posting it online somewhere just to get feedback.

Speaking of writing, this is the year I want to launch my official author website and start publishing some flash fiction collections and short stories.  I've set a personal goal to put the first collection out by end of March/April.  However, I'm being hampered by not having settled on a pen name yet.  I've thought long and hard about whether or not to have a pen name, and eventually I decided that having a professional license attached to my real name was just too great a risk for using it on my books.  i've narrowed the surname field down to two or three possible finalists.  Maybe I can post a poll to see everyone's opinion?
polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
Uuuuugh I totally gave in to my Oz fic rabbits. Most of this was on a little bluetooth keyboard I used with my tablet during vacation, so apologies in advance for any weird spelling or nonsensical bits I didn't catch.

Follow the yellow brick road! )
polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
I think I'm a weird Oz fan.  Just throwing that out there to start with.  For most people who like Oz, the love starts (and often ends) with the 1939 "Wizard of Oz" MGM musical.  And while I certainly enjoy that film, it's not what caught me and made me fall in love with the original American Fairy Tale.

It all started innocently enough.  After seeing "Wicked" a few months ago (such an awesome, awesome musical!), I picked up the book "Dorothy Must Die" from the library, interested in how the current trend of going back to classic stories and making everything gritty/grimdark would work on "the merry old land of Oz."  Arguably the poster child for Technicolor. And it really was a fun read - it re-imagines an Oz where Dorothy went back after her original visit and seized control of the Emerald City.  Another Kansas girl is brought to Oz by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to try and take Dorothy and her cronies (Glinda, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion) down.  The book is the first of a trilogy, and it definitely had me interested in reading more!

But it was the little snippets of things in the book that AREN'T related to the movie that had me really interested.  The Good Witch of the North, Jellia Jamb, Mombi, Ozma.  It made me interested in going back to the original stories.  Especially stuff dealing with Ozma, a character that I discovered is central to Oz mythology, but hardly known in the wider sphere.

So I checked out The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz from the library.

Let's start with Marvelous Land.  Dorothy is noticeably absent from this sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was originally written as a follow-up due to the success of the 1902 Broadway musical.  The book follows the story of Tip, a young boy in servitude to the witch Mombi, who escapes with his pal Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse.  They hook up with the Scarecrow and Tin Man, go on lots of adventures...and in the end discover that Tip was actually Ozma, transformed into a boy by Mombi after the Wizard took over the Emerald City.  WUT.  Glinda transforms Tip back into Ozma, and she resumes her rule over Oz.

This might be the single thing I find most fascinating about Oz - the Tip/Ozma character.  There is so much possibility for interesting story there, but I don't think it's well-tapped even in the later Baum works.  Perhaps it's really only something a modern audience can look at with a more critical eye?

Ozma of Oz, despite being titled after the princess, is actually the story of Dorothy's return to the land of Oz (well, really, the land of Ev - one of Oz's neighbors).  It introduces some really neat characters into the mix: the head-switching Princess Langwidere, Tik-Tok (literature's first robot?), the Hungry Tiger, Billina the Chicken, the Nome King.  The group has to rescue the royal family of Ev from the Nome King, who has transformed them into adornments in his underground palace.  The book also introduces an interesting concept in the Magic Belt, a magical tool at least as powerful as the Silver Shoes.

Marvelous Land and Ozma were jointly adapted into the 1985 "sequel" to the Wizard of Oz called "Return to Oz."  It featured a young Fairuza Balk as Dorothy, and even has Ozma appear in the end!  I remember watching this movie many years ago and thinking it was really bizarre, but upon revisiting it after reading the books it's based on, I can say it's a delight to see Baum's world brought to life the way it's supposed to look.  It has really great 80s special effects.  The puppetry and animatronic characters are absolutely fantastic.

The last Oz thing I've been checking out lately are the new(ish) Marvel Comics adaptations.  Featuring adorable artwork by Skottie Young and featuring scripts that hew closer to the original source material, these have been delightful reading.  I just finished Wonderful Wizard and am getting ready to start Marvelous Land.  Definitely check your library for these!

Finally, what really gets me with Oz is the deep richness of the world.  There are tons of "official" Oz books by various sanctioned authors, and so many fan-created works one doesn't even know where to begin!  The Baum books are in the public domain at this point, which makes it nice for adaptations if one wants to do something with all the iconic characters.  I really want to write some Oz stuff now...I'm debating trying a genderbent version that blends the first three books (at least?) together.  It's really been rattling around in my head, and even if I don't write the full novel-length version I'd at least like to try a few short pieces.

So my next question...does anyone have any good Oz recommendations?

October 2016

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