P BLOCK, Wintec
City Campus

Speculative Fiction, by design, covers a wide range of story universes and world concepts- from the ancient and familiar to the bleeding edge of fantastic futures with exotic aliens and advanced technology, mystery, horror and other variations thrown into the melting pot of ‘SpecFic’. 

From world-building (setting) to plot to character development and all threads in between, there are key elements that go into building a good, readable story that readers can relate to – no matter how far-fetched or bizarre the setting or story-line might be.

In order for your reader to connect with your story, the characters themselves need to be relatable, believable and, for all intents and purposes, they need to be 'real'.


This workshop will examine what it takes to build a “world” in a SpecFic universe, and will help you create believable, relatable characters in your speculative story universe, using a few basic principles to discover who your characters really are. 

The workshop costs $25 and morning tea will be served. Registration required.


Gary Nelson - photo 600x738.png


Gary writes in several genres: project management education, the very specialised 'Project Management Novels for Youth ages 9-12' genre, and young adult Science Fiction under the pen name J. J. Mathews. He has published 27 books since 2012, with several more in progress.

Last year he delivered several virtual sessions for CONZealand, a WorldCon (World Science Fiction Convention), hosted by New Zealand.

His young adult (16+) science fiction works can be found at, and feature the Taylor Neeran Chronicles: Illiya, Incursion, Intercession and Icarus. Book five Infestation will be available at the start of Hamilton Book Month, with Incubation expected to be released in 2022.

His project management books for youth are The Project Kids Adventures Series and include six published volumes in English: The Ultimate Tree House Project, The Scariest Haunted House Project - Ever!, The Amazing Science Fair Project, The Valentine's Day Project Disaster, The Easter Bully Transformation Project, and The Great Creek Rescue Project. The Project Kids Adventures books have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, with additional translations currently in progress (Simplified Chinese, Mongolian, Brazilian Portuguese, and the Spanish translations). The Manga graphic novel adaptation of the first book in the PKA series has been released in English and Japanese, with the rest of the series under way.