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Jun
24th
2023

An Ozzy Preview for Pride · 1:01am Jun 24th, 2023

As promised, here's a link to what I've been working on for a while now. As explained I haven't finished it totally yet, so consider this an extra special preview of what's in store!:

Little Drozma Stories

There's three chapters for now, and two I'm working on at the moment to round off the collection. I was inspired largely by Frank Baum's Little Wizard Stories, a small story collection he wrote one year when he didn't have the time to do a full novel.

Ok, lore time. I promise I won't go too deep with this, but I do want to give prospective readers the info necessary to understand what all is going on in my stories.

So, first things first. Frank Baum. He's the author of the original Oz books, on which the movie was based. And there's a ton of them, he wrote some 14 in fact, before he suffered critical existence failure. He spent about twenty years, from 1899 to 1919, writing them, and was accidentally creating the fantasy and sci fi genre that is a huge influence on My Little Pony's brand of techno-magic soup "fairy land". Mostly, though, he was trying to pay his bills and some of the middle books are kinda phoned in when it comes to writing. As previously stated he was writing a novel a year, and what they meant is that frequently his books are hug continuity snarl over which fans have spent the better part of a century writing fan fic and essays about.

Baum was an unusual person for the early 20th century. Although his politics weren't always the greatest (he was at various times not so sympathetic to indigenous people), he was a strong early feminist largely because his mother-in-law was a member of the meeting at Seneca Falls. This meant, when it came to his writing, he was tapped in to early queer culture. It's not just the camp that made gay men friends of Dorothy...

What's most important to know, for a reader of my stories, about book Dorothy is that she's canonically a lesbian. She's in a relationship with Ozma, a character introduced in the second book of the Oz series. Now, spoiler alert here, Ozma is also trans*: she's magically transformed into a boy and kidnapped by the Wizard, and raised by the evil witch Mombi. Not a very good upbringing, needless to say, and she is vaguely aware somethings sort of "off" about her until the end of the second book where Glinda turns up and says "you've been a girl all along", and magics her back to a female form.

It's not an easy transition for them, and it's kind of reflective of the fact that book Glina is... kind of awful? She's rather cavalier with her magic, at times. She once gave bunnies sentience because she though it was cute, is what I'm saying. Needless to say, they are less than thrilled by the sudden enlightenment. Anyways eventually Ozma gets somewhat used to the whole "being a princess of Oz" thing, and ends up meeting Dorothy when she returns to Oz. The two girls hit it off, and from that point on Dorothy and Ozma feature in many of the stories together.

So, yeah, Ozma is basically one of the first properly trans* characters in fiction. And Dorothy is her girlfriend. They kiss, hug, and Dorothy is the only one who has a key to the princesses private chambers. Also, in one of the later books, Dorothy and her family move to Oz, because their farm is getting foreclosed, and she decides to live with Ozma from that point on in Emerald City. In terms of story structure, Ozma fills the "King Aurtur" role of giving Dorothy quests to go on, and also occasionally being the person who needs to be recused. Meanwhile, Dorothy is usually the more proactive of the two, what with being the main character and all, and most books involve her or other characters traveling about Oz whilst Ozma maybe gets a chapter or two at the beginning and end of a book. This is partly because Baum wanted their friendship to be a way to fill these kinds of tropes for fantasy without having an explicitly romantic relationship in his stories. He felt that young readers of the Oz books found romance boring and confusing, and so opted to write it out. Or so the claim goes: I've read some of his other books for older readers that supposedly do feature romance, and I got the sense that he wasn't particularly good a writing it, so tried to write around it instead. Dorothy & Ozma's relationship is based on a so-called "Boston marriage", either an economic relationship between to women or a proto-lesbian relationship depending on who you ask. Like most modern readers, I decided that this was close enough to a modern lesbian relationship for fanfic work. I mean, ya don't give the key to your bedroom to "just friends\roommates" do you?

TvTropes has some great articles about Baum, and the Oz books, that you should reference too. It's where I get most of my Oz knowledge!

Oz has been a part of the LGTBQIA+ culture for a long time, at least since the 1940s, as I understand, and given that Drozma (Dorothy & Ozma's ship name) is quite popular these days I thought I would share the stories I've written about them for Pride. Although my little collection isn't quite finished, I am hoping you like them all. I'm also open to some feedback to them, since they aren't exactly published yet! Especially where I might post them. By which I mean "I'd use A03 but it's invite only, and I'll be six foot under before I use that Web 1.0 janky lookin' mess that is fan fiction.net".

Happy Pride all!

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Comments ( 4 )

"What's most important to know, for a reader of my stories, about book Dorothy is that she's canonically a lesbian."
Canonically? Okay, wow, I'm not remembering that from when I was a kid. ...Though I'm guessing, given the time, it might have been done through subtext, clear to those in the know but still not explicit, and it went over kid me's head. Well, I was expecting this lore bit to be more of a refresher, given it has been many years, but turns out it's already more than that, so thanks. :)

AO3 is invite-online? ...[tilts head] How'd I get an account, then? I don't remember needing an invite.
Wait, does this mean that I could invite you... somehow? Or it is only certain people who can send invites?
Oh, looks like there's an... automated invite queue? ...Whatever that is? Yeah, I don't know. Good luck if you try it, though.

As for alternatives, I think I may have already mentioned it somewhere else, but here might work:
https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/forums/user-fiction.2/
I read a fair bit of fanfic there.

And thanks, and Happy Pride, aye!

Alright, and finished the first three! Which I understand to be the ones that are current first draft complete.

Overall, it seems sweet. :) Thoooough whether or not you meant it to, it also gave me an impression of Ozma as less a fairytale and more a fairy queen, who's thoroughly taken with her fully reciprocating human consort.

Comments:

(For time reasons, and because these might be earlier drafts than that's desired for, I'm not sure, I'm not doing the sort of error-spotting and commenting I might do under some other circumstances, sorry.)

Ozma and The Birthday Breakfast:
...I do wonder why Ozma didn't think of using the mirror before; she wouldn't have to admit he lack of knowledge to anyone else, with it, unless I'm missing something.

I'm also not sure how she gets her biological age from the year, since she's not been ageing one year for every year that passes. If she'd started ageing herself one year for every X years that passed, on the other hand, wouldn't she have a better grasp of what year it was, since she'd need to keep track?

...Hm. Also, actually, is time acting oddly (by the outside world's standards, at least) in Oz, too? I'd expect them to at least have their own calendar, fairly likely-seeming to have Ozma's own ascension to the throne as the epoch. Surely there'd be people wanting or needing to keep track of what year it was? Or has Ozma become so insulated that she doesn't even know that? It sounds like there might be a story there...
(Also, now I'm wondering if the magic keeping everyone alive means none of them actually need to eat anymore, and Oz...ian? agriculture's now only used for luxury and industrial crops.)

What's special to Dorothy about the age of eighteen, that it means they can kiss deeply?
(I mean, yes, I can see a fairly simple potential Doylist explanation for it -- but there must still be a Watsonian one, yes?)

...Wait, or that was Ozma? Well, same question, but also, then, those paragraphs (starting from "Dorothy rubbed the back of her head") seem rather confusingly worded to me. In the first, Dorothy's speaking, and in the second, Ozma's speaking. Yet in the third, it's still Ozma, both speaking and acting? I'd recommend, if that is the case, either combining the second and third of those paragraphs or, or the pacing or the like needs the separation, leaving off the closing quotation mark on the quote that ends the second paragraph, as I understand to be a widely-used convention for showing that the speaker at the start of the next paragraph is the same.

Also, I don't recall how much this came up in the old books, but your first story here, reading it now, with her enchanted realm, undying subjects, and court in which decades of the outside world might simply casually be lost, gave rather a sense of Ozma as a fairy queen indeed. And some of the oddities -- not thinking to use the mirror, the question of how she knew her age, eighteen having some special significance -- then seem to have an air of fae caprice. And, well, she has had I would guess over a century to grow in and into power and deepen her connection with her magical realm, by now.

Dorothy and The Princess' Hair:
I don't think I understand the relation between magic to change hair length and braiding lessons? I'm guessing the ability to just cut off sufficiently badly failed attempts and then magically restore the hair to its previous length, but I'm not sure.

Ozma and The New Dress:
Ozma being pulled over by the pitchfork is, I think, the first thing to pierce the glow of eldritch light that had settled on these stories for me -- though not before I felt some fear for the farmer's fate. But the following events are still interpretable as Ozma continuing to play the role that pleases her, while delegate discipline to her capable court.

...And then events do indeed bear that out, looks like.

...Ozma, I'm pretty sure those buttons were actually supposed to be used, but, hey, reality in Oz is what you make it, eh? :D

Thanks for your comments Reese, they are very helpful. I can see now I need to massage that first story a bit.

I might have stretched the truth just a little calling Dorothy canonically lesbian. The more nuanced answer is something more like she canonically has a very close relationship with Ozma, and doesn’t have any romantic interest in boys, since Baum was pretty firmly against writing that (part of his “Americanizing” fairy tales, plus he reasons I already cited. Although apparently in person he was a hopeless romantic!? He was a complex and interesting guy.). A lot of the modern readers look at quotes from the books like “Dorothy threw her arms around her [Ozma] and hugged and kissed her rapturously”, plus the whole “only Dorothy has a key to Ozma’s room” and see romance. I suspect that this might also have been the case at the time because later books in the series tone it down a little. But Baum was famously inconsistent so who knows how intentional anything he changed was. I guess when you crank out a novel a year it all starts to blur together.

I’m not totally sure I understand your view of Ozma? She is, in the later books anyhow, revealed to be a descendent of fairies (my personal interpretation of this is that she’s more like half-fae). Perhaps you could explain it to me PM, because I’m not sure I totally understand the kind of eldritch thing you mentioned? I’m not very versed in fairy/fae things to be honest, I just know ya don’t make pacts with them.

My take on Ozma’s character is thus: Although she’s very powerful magically, she’s actually the more passive partner in the relationship with Dorothy being the one who takes point because she’s more of the adventurous type. Ozma is very good at being a magical Princess... but not so much anything else. And she’s sort of afraid to admit that, because Princess have to be perfect, ya know? Thus she sort of projects strength publicly but is actually more sensitive privately. It’s very much the same way I write Rainbow Dash actually. But with, in Ozma’s case, 20% more childhood trauma! Anyways because she’s pacifist in the books, I sort of wrote her as a rather passive character. She’s also meant to be very much the girly girl to Dorothy’s tomboy in my conception though whether that actually works is another matter.

I need to look at how time works in Oz again, but my understanding is that, since Glinda & Ozma sealed Oz off from the outside world with a concealment spell (Baum was trying to end the series. It didn’t work.) Oz has been sort of off in its own little bubble. At one point I think it’s said that nobody in Oz grows old, or dies... which when you really think about it is pretty god awful. I like to pick on Baum a lot for his kid friendly, pacifist magical solutions usually creating situations where when totally reasoned out are kind of horrifying. A lot of fans, myself included, add the caveat of “unless they want to” to the no aging bit, partly because it allows you to age up the characters for relationship shenanigans and partly because eternal infanthood would be nightmarish. I do need to come up with a watsonian explanation for the 18 thing though, good catch. And I’ll have to figure out how to fix the bit with the mirror...

The thing with the hair growth magic is more a matter of trust/closeness (Dorothy is willing to let Ozma play with her to the extent of growing it out for her, even though she prefers having short hair, because she cares about Ozma that much and wants to make her happy) and time (non magically growing out the hair would take a long time). But yes, having an undo button is useful.

5734794
Oh! Glad I decided to check if anyone else had replied with comments here yet; I hadn't seen your reply to me.

"Thanks for your comments Reese, they are very helpful."
Ah, you're welcome, and good. :)

re the canonicity of Dorothy being a lesbian:
Ahh. Okay, thanks for explaining, and the information.

re Ozma's faeness:
Hm. I'm not sure how well I can explain it, sorry; it's more a feeling relating to a gestalt impression, I think? Though it's now also been days since I read the first story here, and perhaps I'm forgetting some specific details... hm. Did you ever read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell?

"She is, in the later books anyhow, revealed to be a descendent of fairies"
Oh, interesting; I'd not remembered that. I think I went through all the classic Oz books as a kid? Not sure.

re Ozma's and Dorothy's personalities:
Ah, interesting; thanks.

re the spell on Oz:
Oh, the "unless they want to" wasn't in there originally? Yikes, aye. Now I'm remembering a Lord Dunsany story where, IIRC, someone so offends Death in a quest for immortality, or something like that, that Death decides to grant it to them. Without such secondary powers as perfect healing or the ability to take very very long naps should one find oneself in a situation one would really rather not be conscious for. Which isn't quite the same situation as one'd have here, but still, aye, not only is there some overlap, as you say, the Oz situation would also have some other problems.
(And I wonder about the cultural pressures that eventually develop around dying and having children, when the former is optional and the resources available to the population are somewhat highly limited.)

(Also, kid friendly, pacifist solutions, in a series where one of the most famous scenes is, albeit accidentally, killing someone by melting them?)

"I do need to come up with a watsonian explanation for the 18 thing though, good catch. And I’ll have to figure out how to fix the bit with the mirror..."
Aye, I think it can be explained by Ozma just not being, by normal human standards, entirely sane, but if you don't want to go that way...

re the hair growth magic:
Ahh, thanks. I think the key detail I'd not gotten was that Dorothy preferred having short hair.

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