Friday, June 08, 2012

Her name was Lola

Jared: You ever seen the silent Oz movies?
David Tai: No.
Jared: Baum brought in a weird looking character called the Zoop. Always wanted to put it into a proper Oz story.

Jared: I'm trying to get the Lonesome Zoop established as a character before I write him (or her?) in. I'm going to make it an animal that can dig.
David Tai: All righty. So, why is it lonesome?
Jared: Because it doesn't know what to do or who to trust. It's desperate.

Jared: I know exactly where the Zoop where go. The Zoops live in Orkland with the Orks in a peaceful coexistence.

Jared: I need to name the Zoop.
David Tai: Betty Zoop.
Jared: Well, I don't refer to its gender, so it could be...
David Tai: Letta Zoop
Jared: Lyla Zoop.
David Tai: So it's a girl!
Jared: So, lead male characters, 5. Lead female characters, 3.
David Tai: How goes it now?
Jared: I think I will call her Lola.
And that is how you might develop a character. Or, in my case, redevelop. (I cut some spoiler-y stuff.)

The Zoop was a strange beast appearing in the Oz Film Manufacturing Company's films. For some reason, people seemed to be afraid of it. The Magic Cloak of Oz has it say that Nik the Mule is in its part of the forest, so perhaps it likes its privacy. The Patchwork Girl of Oz, however, has a man run away from it after it seems to playfully wag its tail by him, so maybe it's actually not a really bad beast.

Years ago, I was writing a story that would reveal the mythical Fountain of Youth was in Oz, but the story just wasn't working at the time. The Zoop was in the story as the Fountain's guardian. The story had a few good ideas, but overall, I'm glad I abandoned it at the time. I just really wasn't ready to write an Oz story.

While I was developing Outsiders from Oz, I remembered that old story and thought to redevelop the Zoop for the story. As you can see above, we decided to make the Zoop a girl. In the films, it seemed to come off as male, but since I established the Zoops were a race and not a single creature, it would make sense that were also girl Zoops.

Another reason why I made my Zoop a girl is because of how I wanted to approach the character. When we meet Lola, she's not having a good time, and if I made a male character do this, it would be an awfully whiny or angry. But a female characterization would make the character a bit more fluid in her emotions.

I decided I wanted the character to have a name beginning with the letter L to tie in with it being the Lonesome Zoop (Lola is pretty lonesome when we meet her). The name "Lola" has always struck me as a funny name, so I decided to give it to an Oz character, rather than to make up a name. Plus, it began with the first two letters of "lonesome." So, Lola it was.

Some elements I rewrote made it sound like Lola had a special bond with another character. Who it was, I think my readers can guess, but I never expected that character would get a potential love interest! Anyway, it didn't feel right for Oz, so I revised it.

That being said, I wound up liking Lola quite a bit. I think I'd like to write about her again, should the opportunity arise...

If you want to find out how Lola's story unfolded, go ahead and get Outsiders from Oz in hardcover or paperback!

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