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So I've been toying with an idea I've had for awhile: a reimagining of the Land of Oz series by L. Frank Baum. While Baum was a prolific writer, supplying no shortage of ideas, he was by no means a world-builder. His Oz and it's neighboring nations have a lot of little things that are given only tangential discussion that I'm trying to weed through and decide what I'm going to keep yet alter and what I'm going to throw out entirely.

I guess a better way of using this might be, how do you approach building a world that is already half built?

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Reimagining an existing fictional world needs to be done carefully. This can be someone else's intellectual property. The copyright status of the Land of Oz is complex.

Copyright status of Oz

If you work your way through this Wikipedia entry you will soon discover that various works of the Oz oeuvre is still in copyright and will be so for quite some time.

This means that you can only use whatever it is that appears in the books that are currently in the public domain. Use something from books still in copyright and trouble will ensure.

So far this answer assumes that you reimagining the Land of Oz in an open manner. So that it will be transparently and openly the Land of Oz. The alternative approach would be to take the Land of Oz as a template and rebrand as your own fantasy world, albeit an Ozesque fantasy world.

In this case, you must still tread carefully as the current copyright holders might resent interlopers. In either case, any potential publishers will have to assess whether people want to read books that are either based directly on the Land of Oz or on a fantasy world based on Oz, but may have diverged from the original template. This is difficult because there is an existing body of works in the form of a long series of books about the Land of Oz.

Tread carefully the territory belongs to other people.

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Never contradict canon and authorial intent or if you do explain how it's not.

Example: Star Trek TOS Klingons -> ST: TNG Klingons look different, but in TNG forward all we get out of Klingons is "we don't talk about that". In Enterprise Klingons look like they do in TNG. We've been told that in the past Klingons look differently, but Ent contradicts this. They then go on to explain that Klingons a gene thing happen that swept through their population that made them look like they did in TOS and we're left to assume that it is fixed by TNG.

If you use a character, make sure you understand the character. This really is my pet peeve with a lot reboots "adaptations". If you use an IP the reason you are a fan or the people you are writing towards are fans are because characters and the world is a given way. If you just use the "skin" of an IP you might as well just create a brand new world. If you want to create a alternate universe where it is similar, but with some alterations, always be sure to understand the core of the character and what makes them act and be who they are.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty easy: There was a Klingon Empire wide Body Mod Challenge and everyone was invited. Case solved. :o) $\endgroup$ – Alexander von Wernherr Jan 19 '17 at 6:55
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Find out as much of the world as there can be. Most important, is there a canon, which mustn't be violated, like Star Wars Extended Universe.

Find out if there are other stories of Oz with the same situation. Are the nations around somewhere described already and is this description canonical.

Find out about the author, read other books by him. Even if you make a canonical version of a neighbour nation, if it doesn't have the same look and feel like Oz, only few people might like it.

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