Doctor Avant:
    Inspiration for the Character

The character of Doctor Cheri Avant was inspired by the Doug Winger drawing, Zort . Doug's drawing intrigued me, and caused me to ask myself a lot of questions: Who is she? Who made her? Why? What is this business about "experiment #235"? How tall is she? How did she get that tall, is it purely genetics or something else? Ditto about the rest of her physique. How does California cheese figure into this? What is the significance of the jail cell? In fact, where is she? What is she doing there? Why glasses and nothing else? Where are her clothes and why does she seem so unconcerned about them? Who did her hair? Who is Zort? What is their relationship? And finally, what is her name?

It was the combination of these questions, and feedback from my critique group about my tendency to write low-conflict, slice-of-life stories, that started the thought process to put "rat girl" into a high-conflict story that would answer some of these questions. I suppose it's an alternative to getting ideas in Schenectady (first paragraph).