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Writing Sprint Live Streams

A few weeks ago, local author and excellent friend Gillian St Kevern contacted me about trying something new. She asked if I’d like to be a co-host on her Youtube writing livestreams. I said yes after considering for maybe two (2) seconds.

Why did I agree so quickly? Well, I’ve been struggling a little lately with motivating myself to write, and this felt like the kick in the pants I might need to get my day’s word count up from 1000 words or so.

It turns out the peer pressure of knowing people are watching/listening to my typing sounds, and perhaps just the structure of someone telling me to sprint again, right now really works for me. We’ve been doing two hour sessions, often getting four sprints in each time along with some gentle chats and interaction with viewers in the comments.

At the moment we’re doing Saturday and Sundays 10am NZ time but in the next month or so we’re going to try and change it up, maybe add some evenings, midweek or try for two different streams in one day.

If you do anything creative and would like some motivation, I highly recommend you join us. You don’t have to comment, although we do like to talk to people – and there’s no pressure to stay through the whole session.

Plus you get to see me fussing with my hair, showing off Mochi and pulling weird expressions to match what I’m writing. Sound like fun? Come follow the channel here.

I might also start doing some more with my own Youtube channel as well, but that’s very much a work in progress, so I’ll let you know when/if that happens.

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Guest writers series: an interview with Rem Wigmore

Welcome to Rem Wigmore, a SpecFic NZ friend who has a brand new book on preorder…

Where in the world do you live, and what do you like most about it? 

I live in Wellington, Te Whanganui-a-Tara. My first novel, The Wind City, is a love-song to this city, and I still love it but in a more bitter kind of way; the shine’s worn off after living for several years in cold, damp houses. What I love is the wind, and that this harbour is a place where the ocean and the city and the forest all meet, nestled in hills.

Self-care is very important for writers, tell us how you look after yourself?

Less well than I should, but it’s a steady climb! My main effort is actually taking days off – yes, even from writing. Yes, even though I love it. This isn’t something everyone has the luxury of, but I do recommend it where possible. I’ve struggled with burnout and it’s no fun.

What genres do you like to read in? 

I’m a real gremlin for speculative fiction – fantasy’s my first love, but I also devour sci-fi and sometimes historical fiction. Romance in any of these genres is also wonderful. Sometimes I’ll read some contemporary Young Adult, especially about queer characters.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling! I was so happy the library had it. Lately I’ve been making something of a study of horror and especially Gothics – just before this I finally got around to reading Carmilla, which I could’ve sworn I did years ago. So I guess a lot of sapphic horror all in all!

Can you name some formative books for your own writing?

The Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss was a massive influence on my sixteen-year-old self: it was that first eye-opening experience of, ‘oh we’re allowed to do this?’ and started me writing seriously. I figured if I could write something even a quarter as beautiful I’d be happy. I had a similar experience first reading Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and realising, hey, if this prominent cisgender author can write about nonbinary people and get published, I can too, and I have never looked back since! a more recent influence is Neon Yang’s Tensorate novellas – the first one I read was The Ascent to Godhood, I need to reread it now I’ve read all the others. That series is a masterclass in how much beautiful worldbuilding and narrative you can fit into a novella’s small space. (Rider’s probably my favourite character, I love Rider.)

Who’s an author you think more people should be reading? 

Rivers Solomon – faer work is a gut-punch in the best of ways.

Creative writing as a teenager, did you do it? What did you write about? Can you remember any stories? 

I did very little else! I wrote for fun since I was I thiiink twelve or thirteen or so, and have been doing National Novel Writing Month since I was about – fourteen? Since 2008, anyway. It’s not at all the only way to learn how to write, but it certainly taught me a lot (any teenagers reading this: don’t do what I did, please focus on your exams).

I always wrote pretty similar stuff – those first few manuscripts were mostly fantasy, with a big emphasis on action/adventure plotlines and Friendship. My work now just has more craft knowledge and less compulsory heterosexuality.

Is there anything you’ve seen passed around as writing advice that you really disagree with? 

‘Write every day’. Do that if it works for you, but you really don’t have to if it doesn’t. For me, I can’t imagine a better way to make myself hate writing. You definitely have to be able to make yourself work and focus even when you don’t want to, but – listen, sometimes after ten hours on my feet at work I’d come home at eleven or midnight and would be able to write a bit, but I’m not going to hold it against myself the days I couldn’t. Sometimes you need the rest.

Do you prefer quiet, ambient sound or music while you write? 

Music! I have a lot of playlists for specific projects, and listening to them can really help me get back in the mood of the story and world when I come back for editing. It is about the vibes.

If you were stuck on a desert island with one book, one music album and one podcast, what would they be? 

Oh, man. I’m gonna cheat and say The House of Always by Jenn Lyons because I haven’t got my hands on it yet. (It is honestly so refreshing to read an enthralling epic fantasy series stacked full of bisexual disasters like myself.) For music, let’s say Janelle Monae’s incredible album Dirty Computer because I’m constantly coming back to it, and for podcast, The Adventure Zone because I have like, two seasons to catch up on. I don’t think it’s feasible for me to be stranded on a desert island long enough to catch up with Critical Role.

Pokemon: if you were a trainer, what pokemon would be in your team? (you get 6) 

This is the hardest question in the world. Why would you do this. I can never even decide if I’d be a Poison, Fairy or Flying type trainer. Anyway, scolipede, pidgeot, ribombee, flygon, feraligatr and I’m definitely missing at least ten faves I’m forgetting about but let’s say roserade. I like to pretend I’d be a Pokemon Ranger in the Pokemon world, despite the fact I’d probably just be, y’know, me, and maybe live in an idyllic cottage with my smeargle or something.

I was reading back over this and realised I forgot trubbish. And murkrow. This is why I always have about twenty active Pokemon in my teams and take forever to beat the game. And skorupi! Heck!

Okay, okay, all-poison team variant: scolipede (my favourite pokemon, solid arthropleura vibes) dragalge, toxapex, trubbish, roserade and salazzle. You may think I’ve now been talking about Pokemon for an inaccessibly long time, but praise my restraint, because this is still leaving out dustox and gengar and and and …

Favourite bird? 

You’d think crow, and you’d be right, but also I’m a real armchair biologist and birds are my Favourite and have been since I was a small, so here’s my TOP FIVE at this particular moment:

·         Crow friends – clever, pretty, morbid, absolutely the bird in my heart is a crow, 10/10

·         Kea for extremely similar reasons, beautiful mischief parrots

·         Kākā, because they get a bad rap and I like their Spirit

·         Moa. Extinct big sexy.

·         Tūī!! Two voice boxes, plus they come off all beautiful and graceful until you watch them closer, realise they’re fluffed-up little bullies and love them even more.


Rem Wigmore is a speculative fiction writer based in Aotearoa. Their novel Foxhunt is forthcoming from Queen of Swords Press on August 21st 2021 and is up for preorder now. Their other works include Riverwitch and The Wind City, both shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award. Rem’s short fiction appears in several places including the Capricious Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue, Baffling Magazine, and the second Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy anthology. They also have a story in Victoria University Press’s upcoming Middle Distance anthology. Rem’s probably a changeling, but you’re stuck with them now. The coffee here is just too good. Rem can be found on Twitter.

Preorder Foxhunt  

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This Unusual Life!

Here’s my latest publication. It started as a patreon project, and now it’s a book!

It’s a little bit spooky
It’s a little bit odd
It’s a little bit silly
Even when it’s not

I’ve found it very hard to articulate exactly what this book is – it’s a short story collection, but it’s in the format of a collection of clippings from a gossip magazine from another universe.

It includes gossip about the Royals, who are a family of homicidal fey. Personality quizzes, Horoscopes and letters to the psychic Agony Aunt Cressida Flittersocks. Plus special interest pieces about tweens manifesting superpowers and an expose about family portrait attacks as well as lots more.

In short, it’s what happens when I let my imagine run wild. There’s some horror, some comedy, some pure nonsense and something to make you think. I love it, personally, and I’m sure people who share my love for silliness will enjoy it as well.

Some of the questions to the agony aunts were submitted my users and friends and my dear friend Ellen was an invaluable sounding board throughout the project.

Grab an ebook of This Unusual Life now!

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Writing Process? part seven – Self-publishing

Okay, so you have your manuscript. You’ve done all the things I recommended in my prep entry.

Make a new word document and copy paste the beautifully edited version of your book into it. Then copy paste your copyright page in the front, and your end matter into the back.

Formatting: you can format for free via Draft2Digital (and some people do it through Word, somehow), but the best and prettiest formatting is done through software called Vellum. It’s Mac only, and it’s expensive. If you have a kind friend who already has it, bribe them to do it for you.

Take a look around online for books similar to yours, and see what other people are pricing theirs at. You want your book to be a competitive price. Sometimes people price their books very high to start off with and it’s a bad call. Try and slot in with what others in your genre are charging.

Now, go upload your book on your chosen publishing platform. I’ve used Draft2Digital and Amazon, and I’ve found both of them very straightforward to use. Just make sure you have your ISBN, cover art and manuscript all ready to go.

They’ll take some time to process your book but just follow the steps and it’s done! It’s super easy.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel a little like you’re getting away with something you shouldn’t be allowed to do – but it’s fine!

You’re allowed to publish!

Go for it!

Once your book is out and live on Amazon (or wherever), comes the marketing part of things. I’m no expert, but I’ll post another blog about what I’ve learned about marketing soon. For now, once you’ve uploaded a book, you should set up your Author Central page, it allows people to click on your name and see all your books together. It also prevents other things coming up which aren’t yours.

For example if you don’t have a terribly unique pen name, and you don’t set up your Author Central page, you might have screeds of results for people who have used or mentioned your name. Imagine all the John Smiths, and all the things various John Smiths may have published on Amazon, and your things are just jumbled into the results. Some of them may write in your genre, some may be publishing political diatribes which you don’t agree with and some may be so wildly outside your genre that you really don’t want their work showing up. Trust me, there’s a lot of bizarre stuff on Amazon…

What you want is for people to click on your name and ONLY see your things, plus with an Author Central page you can put a little biography and links to your social media, so it’s all good stuff.

Author Central is the website you need to sign up to. You can make three Author Central pen names under one KDP account, so it’s very worth setting up.

Author Central isn’t terribly intuitive to use, so I recommend you refer to this help page for guidance.

Previously in this series:
Part One – Starting out
Part Two – Characters
Part Three – Actually writing
Part Four – Sticking to it
Part Five – Editing and redrafting
Part Six – Publishing preparation