Clarifications and ruminations...

Discuss the places, people and other Ozzy things in the Land of Oz itself. Look for info about Oz books, their authors, illustrators and contemporary successors.

Clarifications and ruminations...

magicianofoz
Member
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 23:27

09 Sep 2011, 20:26 #1

Per your request Marcus, I am moving our conversation to a new thread so that we may fully engage and explore the fundamental differences in our perspectives of Oz.

I would like to preface my remarks by declaring how very pleased I am that you are willing to discuss various issues regarding my writings and that you are doing so in a pleasant and civilized manner. It only confirms why I have such an immense amount of respect for your opinion, even though I may disagree with it from time to time.

I wanted to clarify a few points which you made in another thread which was in response to comments I made in that thread.  My idea for Ozma series of books

To begin with, in the 3+ years you and I have known each other, you have only offended me once. You know when and why. That's in the past, so 'nuff said. Never fear to speak your mind to me as I prefer honesty over politeness.

You commented about how I've changed the characters and I would point out that I've made few, if any fundamental changes to the characters of Baum's world.

At your suggestion, I removed Polychrome's wings and I would point out that she serves Princess Ozma at her pleasure, as does everyone else in Oz. It doesn't make her Ozma's servant, it only reinforces the bonds of friendship that exist between characters in Oz. Everyone serves Her Majesty because it please them to do so, not because they are required to.

I'm not sure what you are referring to about the Lonesome Duck playing volleyball. He merely engages in a humorous dialog with other animals of Oz about something said that refers to baseball... or not. Remember, every kid knows what baseball is.

As for O.Z. Diggs, at no time does Baum ever refer to what O.Z. Diggs does when he ventures back into the Great Outside for a time. I feel this gives me license to create an adventure, albeit a familial one, for Oscar and allows him a bit more humanity. If you will recall, book 3, Family of Oz is called that for a reason.

In addition, you and a few others have commented on how long it takes for my characters to get into Oz. This is also a conscious decision on my part. In Baum's books, we really don't get a sense of who Dorothy is, other than she lived in poverty in Kansas. There's no exploration of why the Cowardly Lion is cowardly or details about the everyday lives of those in and out of Oz. I choose to explore, sometimes in very minute and intimate detail, the various aspects of daily life for my characters so that we may better understand their motivations later in the story. To a kid, its not enough to say that Jamie Diggs, for example, can do sleight-of-hand. They wanna know how he came about that skill, especially when it comes up later in the story. Blame Harry Potter for this need to know far more detail about characters in a story. Kids today are far more sophisticated than those of the early 1900's.

I remember a conversation you and I had once where you felt there were too many unanswered questions in Magician of Oz. You wanted all the answers at once. I tried to explain to you that the overall story was much bigger than that and that the culmination of all three books together would provide all the answers.
I did take both yours and Eric G.'s advice and made sure that each story could stand alone on its own, as Baum did. I chose however, to blend elements of all three books into a larger story of Love, family and friendship. It's the fundamental message I have always promoted and will continue to do so ad infinitum.
I never wanted to insult anyone but I firmly believe that there is much room for some variations in the characters of Baum's world and that they too evolve over time. Remember that its been over 100 years and no one remains static, not even Ozma.

As much as I appreciate your editorial advice, there were certain elements of grammatical style and plotlines which I felt needed to remain in order to secure my writings as independent from all others. Write or wrong, it is who I am and how I choose to appear to those reading my words.
A primary example is Potato Soup. I use food as my hook, the thing that sets me apart from other authors of Oz. I have found that kids (my target audience) love the references to food. I've lost count of how many kids have come up to me and exclaimed how great their mom's potato soup was. One kid even claimed his dad made the best potato soup ever. I continue on with Reuben Samiches (that's a Hoosier-ism), meatloaf, blackberry cobbler and of course, Stewart's Original Hot Dogs and Root Beer. Kids identify with food and I'm writing for kids, hence the constant references.

This also now highlights a fundamental difference between you and I and I feel may explain why your perspective and outlook on Oz is so different than mine. Now, what I'm about to say is in no way meant to offend, upset or criticize you in any way. I merely make the follwoing statement because I feel this is why we differ so much in how we percieve Oz and our role in it. I have raised 5 children to adulthood and now have 12 1/2 grandkids. You have never had children. This isn't a critique of your choices in life. Not everyone desires to raise children and I have numerous friends (I hope you may be one of them) who choose not to have children. All are quite happy and children are not for everyone. That being said, the whole parenting thing brings about a perspective and a philosophy that is very different from non-parents. You may have nephews, nieces or cousins, but unless you've been there and raised a child, it's impossible to understand that point of view and it is that point of view that makes my wiritngs what they are.

Since you won't read my work as it is now, I will tell you that I never write anything overly dark. There are no zombies or vampires or anything horribly wrong within my stories. Currently, The Ozian Adventure of Pickleless & Blu has some dark overtones to it, but in the end, Good will ALWAYS win out over Evil, Love conquers all and friendships will always endure and grow.

I'm convinced L. Frank Baum would be pleased with what I have contributed to his vision... and as always, I base all my work solely on his vision.  Now, do I write like Baum? Of course not! No one else does... Many imitate but none ever come close... not even me. All others who follow are merely applying their own vision, some very good and others not so good. Kids tell me that my vision is pretty darn good and I feel I have stayed true to that vision throughout my work in Oz.

I've always been and shall always remain grateful to you for reaching out to me when I first arrived in this magical world. Without your help and guidance, I would not be nearly as successful as I am today and for that, I can never thank you enough. I hope someday we can sit down over a fine cold beer and nag each other about Oz. I truly look forward to that day.

Respectfully yours;

James C. Wallace II
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SamofOz
Member
Joined: 07 Dec 2007, 07:07

10 Sep 2011, 04:49 #2

I'm not in the best mood (I wrote most of a good reply and I accidentally closed the tab before posting anything!) but I can control my temper and restrain myself into making a civilized, respectful-as-much-as-I-can, post.  My post may not end up as close to how I originally typed it before accidentally closing, it may end up being heavily edited or even deleted . . . but I still have a right to say my opinion, even if I'm not an American and I know what's right and what isn't.

James, there are people all over the world who think they are right and know better than others, but usually at times like that they are even more so in the wrong and do not even consider to think or look back upon themselves that way.  And I'm afraid, at the occasional times you've said or done something via post, you're one of them.  I could include Tim Story as an example on how he mishandled and ruined Marvel's "Fantastic Four" but that's off topic!

You think you're doing something good by trying to "share" your thoughts for stories of Oz, but it's not a very good attempt at all.  Just now when you said, and I quote, "Write or wrong", while it may have been intended as a pun or joke, it does not actually support or match the type of discussion we are having.   And several months ago when I posted my selected page from my fan comic for "Return to Oz", you didn't actually praise or compliment it: you just used my work of near-art as a means of advertising your own attempt at Oz; an almost selfish cheap means of self-promoting something lacking.   I am not a professional artist like Eric Shanower or William Stout or Tom Grummett, but at least I gave the best I could with limitations and conditions at working on something that deserves better attention and respect than it currently receives.

No I haven't read any of your books, nor can I say I will, and No your hand at writing with Baum's Oz is not as dark or repulsive (to me) as Maguire's "Wicked", But nor do I get the feeling that it is as good as some other attempts like "Mister Tinker in Oz" or Sherwood Smith's "Snow Globe of Oz" half-series (Emerald Wand and Trouble Under).   True you can't and shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but the cover can give you an idea of what's inside the book and how well it will catch your attention.  Even a title can give the reader an idea of how good or bad the story can be, depending on the title.

There was nothing wrong with the amount of detail J. K. Rowling wrote in her HP books, because that helps with the imagination and that's how she felt fit to help the readers see what she did.   Sometimes teh detail helps with reading, after the lack thereof in certain areas of Baum's Oz and C. S. Lewis' Narnia series.

No I am not a professional Oz artist, veteran or perfect person, but I do know what's right, what's wrong, what feels good, what doesn't feel good, that my opinion matters and that I know there are some things I don't know, and I choose not to appear blind to others.  If people actually listened more carefully and paid more attention to their surroundings, the world would be a less stressful place.

Just have a GOOD Look at how L. Frank Baum actually showed his characters and how you are showing them before saying it's worthy for promotion, publishing and screen-adapting.
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magicianofoz
Member
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 23:27

10 Sep 2011, 05:45 #3

SamofOz, just out of curiosity, can you please point out to me where exactly I stated that I was right and everyone else was wrong? I merely stated that my life, based on parenthood, gives me a perspective that others who do not embrace parenthood do not share. It's a statement of fact, not a declaration that I'm write and your wrong. Also, I like using words that sound the same but are spelled differently. No big deal there.
Now, if you're gonna criticize my covers, then your issue is with Dennis Anfuso, not me... and I love his art. He gave me exactly what I wanted. My covers are unlike anything else in Oz and that also sets me apart from other authors of Oz. I have no desire to be like everyone else...
You also said, "If people actually listened more carefully and paid more attention to their surroundings, the world would be a less stressful place." That is the wisest observation you made in your whole response and I agree with you completely. Perhaps if you read my work, especially Family of Oz, then perhaps you might change your mind. If not, I won't hold it against you. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and viewpoint and yours is no less right or wrong than mine. Not everyone shares my opinion or likes my writings, yet those whom I write for, kids in particular, really enjoy my work and so I am content.
With the prevalence of self-publishing now evident, perhaps you could write a story of Oz and show me your vision. I'll bet you'd do a really nice job at it. Me thinks you have a story in you, just aching to get out! Please share it with us. We may learn something from it.
Last edited by magicianofoz on 20 Sep 2011, 12:52, edited 1 time in total.
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SamofOz
Member
Joined: 07 Dec 2007, 07:07

10 Sep 2011, 10:39 #4

Whether I want to write and have illustrated my own Oz stories is irrelevant, the Main Point we're talking about is you praising and trying to share about your own Oz work when it's been said again and again, by others who are not your family or closer friends, that it is not the best.

I just wish you weren't so .  . . irritating with how you constantly say Ozma wants you to "recall" stories of OZ Diggs making a family, or speaking Latin in terms of Oz (which, despite the inclusion in MGM's film, not everybody can understand) or things like that.

Another point to mention is Movies adaptation:    On the few times an announcement has been made for a NEW Oz Screen Production that does give credit to Baum's book/s but alters its story more contemporary/modern day (like "Tin Man" or "Witches of Oz") and you don't like it, you say something like "why didn't they do something what Baum wrote" or again recommending your own stories to make it to the screen.  Just because a new movie is based on a recent book doesn't guarantee a success - look at "Eragon" - and not all books have to be made into movies anyway.   And if someone did make a film out of your Oz books, somebody would just as well go "they should have done the ORIGINAL Oz Books" like you did on threads for "Tin Man" and/or "Witches of Oz".
Last edited by SamofOz on 11 Sep 2011, 23:30, edited 1 time in total.
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jaredadavis
Member
Joined: 20 Apr 2005, 23:03

10 Sep 2011, 23:08 #5

Now, if you're gonna criticize my covers, then your issue is with Dennis Anfuso, not me... and I love his art. He gave me exactly what I wanted. My covers are unlike anything else in Oz and that also sets me apart from other authors of Oz. I have no desire to be like everyone else...

Okay, then. That says it all. Like Roger Baum, it seems you're keeping a single audience in mind: children. However, many other Oz writers make their Oz books suitable for all ages, even making in-jokes about Oz for the well-read in Oz. Even Eric Shanower's The Blue Witch of Oz, with a heavy question about child custody, could easily be enjoyed by a child. (I was about 9 when I first read it.)

I must admit that I did not enjoy your first book and have proved unwilling to shell out more money to test your later books. Part of this was because you admitted to silently revising the book after I had bought my copy, rendering mine obsolete. Another writer has openly said he's revised his first Oz book multiple times as he's written sequels to it, releasing a new edition each time. It's rather presumptuous to assume your readers will be fine with having to buy a new copy to have a series with a sound continuity. Having had a similar experience before, it made me quite wary of your work. Here in the world of Oz readers, we respect a good story over a quick product.

But may I reiterate Sam's displeasure at promoting your work in threads of other topics? This can be viewed as disrespectful and inconsiderate by other forum users, which I'm sure you have no intention of being. In other forums (and I know you were reprimanded on Tor.com for this), it can even be considered spam, even if it is related to the topic. The moderators here have been quite lenient, and for the most part, so have the other forum users, at least, on the forum.
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Angelo Thomas
Member
Joined: 01 Jul 2011, 01:07

11 Sep 2011, 15:51 #6

James, let's be serious. Ozma didn't ask you to write this, you're not a historian of Oz, and your books aren't critically acclaimed. This thread is not even necessary. It's just a letter to Marcus about you defending yourself and your books with bogus claims like Ozma told you to write it. Do you HONESTLY believe that people will buy your book because you say that? Really? Even disregarding your comments about Ozma telling you to write the books, you still bring up totally irrelevant topics like Marcus not having kids, and Sam not writing any Oz books.
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Angelo Thomas
Member
Joined: 01 Jul 2011, 01:07

11 Sep 2011, 15:54 #7

And by the way, I've yet to meet any kids who have randomly told me how much they love Potato Soup. And I'm a kid myself, and not that far from Indiana...
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magicianofoz
Member
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 23:27

11 Sep 2011, 19:42 #8

I see now that we have a lively debate and that pleases me. It also allows me the chance to elaborate on several points made here and help others to understand why I do what I do.

To begin with, many of you have expressed displeasure with my marketing techniques and for the most part, you were right to complain. I'm a scientist and an educator. When I'm published in a journal or a conference proceedings, the process is very different than traditional publishing. Even today, the procedures of traditional publishing are being swept away by new rules and procedures associated with e-publishing.

That being said, I learned early on from Book Expo America 2009 about promoting my work on the Internet machine.

"Promote, promote, promote!!!" was the chant of every author there. More than one author said to me: "Get the word out everyday and everywhere. If it looks like spam, they'll tell you, then move on and find another way. No one will buy your books if no one knows about them."

This has been the guiding principle for me and I have learned some hard lessons. It was pointed out that on several sites, like Tor.com, I looked like spam. Notice I don't go there anymore or post like that anymore. When I responded to @Chris's posting, I was pointing out that I felt my work mirrored some of the points that he was making. @Marcus came back with a response that I appreciated and, taking his suggestion to heart, I moved this conversation over here. I do listen when the situation warrants it.

Now, having learned my lessons, I promote my work and have developed some fine relationships with other authors and their websites. As such, my work is now being noticed in many other places than Oz sites. Did you know that the Pagan world finds my work very entertaining and enjoyable? Until I reached out to them, I would have never discovered that fact.

How about the food world? There are a number of websites related to food, recipes and the like who love the fact that I've made food a major part of my storylines. I've been featured there a number of times.

How many times have I read complaints from many of you about how little notice the Oz world gets, outside of the movie? How many times have you'all lamented the lack of interest in this very website? How many of you are actually engaged , on a daily basis, in promoting not only the IWOC, but Baum's work as an author and other Oz authors in general?

Each of you has every right to criticize what I do and how I do it. Every now and then, your critiques ring true and I try my best to learn from them. However, before you yell at me for this and that... and even some of the other, take a look at what you are doing to make the world of Oz more visible to the Great Outside.

I'm on the front lines every day, promoting Oz. I go to the major festivals and talk Oz... and not the movie, but the books. My costume and persona as the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma has numerous items on it, all related to the books, both Baum's and my own. I point out these things and talk about them and their relationships to the books, not the movie. I seek out the local libraries and do Youth Literacy events where I read from Baum's books. I do it in costume as the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma and I do it well. I point out that the Poppy Field scene in the movie is not how it really happened, then I read from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Chapter 9: The Queen of the Field Mice. Then I usually tell a humorous story about Her Majesty, the Queen of the Field Mice (whom I love dearly) and kids love this. I find out later from the librarians that demand for Baum's books increased ten-fold and they usually have to go out and purchase other books of his to satisfy that demand. Are any of you doing this???

I seek out other festivals where Oz may show up and I promote Oz. Last January, I went to an Ice Festival in Ohio where it was -20F (That's -29C for you @Samofoz [you ever been that cold?]). 6 months prior, I saw a posting requesting ideas for ice sculptures for this festival. The theme was Children's Literature, so naturally I suggested The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When I attended the festival as an author promoting my books (I was one of a dozen authors in attendance and fortunately, we were indoors), there was Dorothy in ice. I had done my part to promote Oz and I sold a few books in the process. Anyone here doing anything like that?

I give much credit to Eric Shanower, who has found a positive way to promote Oz and I applaud his efforts. I also give much credit to Roger Baum, who is getting his vision of Oz onto the silver screen. I even applaud @angelo for getting out there and making people aware of what Oz is doing and how much there actually is of it for people to enjoy.

It's easy to criticize me for what I do, but I doing the best I can and I am doing something that makes more people aware of Oz.

As for critiques about my comments regarding @samofoz writing books and such, I suggested he do so not only to promote his vision of Oz, but to make him aware of just how hard it is to get the word out about Oz. It's not fair to criticize something when you have little understanding of how that something actually works in the real world. Also, kids find Latin fascinating and few realize that it's the root language all most languages on Earth (there's a teaching point).

As for my comments about kids, I wasn't admonishing anyone for not having kids, but raising children makes one aware of things unknown to those who choose (or have no choice) not to. It's those things that appear in my writings and I have found that kids appreciate that. Just 'cause you don't like certain things @angelo doesn't mean everyone else your age doesn't like them either.

Remember folks, it's a big world out there and there is plenty of room for everyone to shout out their own ideas and thoughts, so don't stop criticizing what I post here. I may occasionally get something wrong and I do wanna know about it. But also, I may occasionally get something right. It would be nice to hear a compliment every now and then.

Don't forget to walk a mile in another man's shows before you complain about the path he chooses!

Per Ardua Ad Alta!!!

James C. Wallace II
http://magicianofoz.blogspot.com/
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Marcus Mebes
Member
Joined: 29 Oct 2005, 12:12

11 Sep 2011, 21:05 #9

It's true what he's writing, though. His post is too long for me to read without getting bored, but I did skim, and must agree with what the point that Angelo remarked on.

Only parents make good storytellers. I mean, look at Ruth Plumly Thompson. She had, what, forty-seven kids? And Jack Snow, he had three (one of each), and Eric Shanower, one of the most consummate professionals and best storytellers alive... he's got sixteen kids, right?
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magicianofoz
Member
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 23:27

11 Sep 2011, 22:44 #10

I suppose if we follow your line of logic @Marcus, then Frank Joslyn Baum was an outstanding Oz author, hmm?

Going back to the previous critiques, I was merely pointing out that I'm being criticized about elements of my writings that are borne out of parenthood by people who have never had children. It does make a difference, but of course, not all parents make great storytellers and not all great storytellers are parents.

Otherwise, I'm sorry if I bored you @Marcus...

Ad hoc, ad loc, quid pro quo... So little time, so much to know!
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