Secret Society of Words – Alien Zoo

Last Friday our writing group, the evening group of the Eurobodalla Writers, the Secret Society of Words, published the efforts of our NaNoWriMo from last November.  It’s called ‘Alien Zoo’.

Final Cover Alien Zoo

My co-editor, Debbie Richardson, and I came up with the premise while having a few wines during last October’s Conflux Conference in Canberra. What if all the magical creatures on Earth were kidnapped by aliens who kept them in a Zoo? And what would happen if a few of them were able to get together and work out a way to escape?

So we gave each of our members the opportunity to pick a magical creature of their own creation, make them shape-shifters and let them tell the story about who they were and how they became part of the plot.

What we got were human/sloths, Tinkerbelle’s that looked like Smurfs, dragons, witch/fairies, multiple personalities and water nymphs.  Debbie and I wrote the connecting stories – the two zookeepers Yolaxsis and Zirth; bad and good cop with backstories. We then provided comment and edits to the authors. Voila! our 64 page novella!  Debbie did a wonderful job on the cover (above).

Of course this wasn’t SSOWs first effort.  In 2014 we got together and wrote ‘The Seven Little Goatlings’; a retelling of the Grimm’s story. One of our authors, who is of German heritage, didn’t like the sound of ‘kids’ for little goats and she kept calling them goatlings, so we went with that. It was fun and the story got good reviews from family and friends. We were chuffed and decided to give it another go. With, what we feel, is great success. Our first print run of ‘Zoo’ is already sold out.

It was my second attempt at editing and I have to thank several of the authors, and especially Debbie, for their eagle-eyed assistance. I’m great at story and character but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of grammar, Suzanne Newnham was fantastic as was Louise Falcioni. Added to that, Louise went to the printers at Moruya and got us a great deal on a quality print run.

I now understand why authors always have so many people to thank in the ‘Acknowledgements’. This type of enterprise is truly never a lone exercise. The writing may be, but then it takes a village to get it to the printed page if you want it to be a good read.

The next big thing is to get it onto Smashwords to see if others like what we did. We figure we can get some feedback for $1.99 that will help us all become better writers, editors and…. publishers. However, that may take another month or so trying to fit it in between part-time work and the pull of life in general.

So from a happy new editor, au revoir.

Hmmm… I wonder what this year’s Conflux will engender? The theme is Red Fire Monkey. November 30 to October 3 at the Novotel in Canberra. Come along and see what happens. Click on Conflux for details.

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