Edward Willett

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The Space-Time Continuum: Pulp Fiction

This is my latest column from the Saskatchewan Writers Guild magazine Freelance, with extra graphics! Mention “pulp fiction” these days and most people probably think of the 1994 Quentin Tarantino movie. But of course the movie’s title referenced something much earlier: fiction literally published on pulp—cheap paper made directly from wood-pulp. Pulp paper quickly turns both yellow and brittle, and perhaps that perception of poor quality has coloured the perception of the fiction printed thereon, but in fact many classic stories—not just of science fiction and fantasy, but in other genres, too—first appeared in what are now known as the “pulp magazines.” Mike Ashley is a U.K. researcher and editor who has published ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:48, October 3rd, 2017 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: What’s the Big Idea?

Here's my latest "Space-Time Continuum" column from the Saskatchewan Writers Guild's magazine Freelance. “Where do you get your ideas?” is a question every author has heard multiple times. I usually say something about how story ideas are all around us, and give some examples. But recently I’ve realized there are two different kinds of ideas at work in a book: the idea that starts the book, and the idea at the heart of the book—what you might call the “big idea.” Or, at least, that’s what I’m going to call it, because that’s what bestselling science fiction writer John Scalzi calls it in his popular blog “Whatever," where for years he has generously ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 11:15, August 6th, 2017 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: Maxims and proverbs and saws, oh my!

Here's my latest Space-Time Continuum column for Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild: Writers love to write about writing, probably because writing about writing is a great way to avoid actually, you know, writing. Sometimes writing about writing takes the form of a long essay or (ahem) column; sometimes it takes the form of a sage saw, witty aphorism, clever epigram, or wise maxim (another way to procrastinate is to spend several minutes poking around a thesaurus). Science fiction and fantasy writers have coined a number of these over the years, only some of which relate to writing. Some are more general observations, such Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law, “Any sufficiently ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:04, December 4th, 2016 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

A review of Line Dance. Apparently I have a sense of humour. Who knew?

Here's the first review I've seen of Line Dance, the collection of poems that resulted from...well, I'll let the reviewer explain, because I'm tired of typing various versions of this: Each weekday during Poetry Month in April, Hill [Poet Laureate Gerald Hill] e-mailed SK Writers’ Guild members a pair of first lines he’d selected from SK poetry books and invited folks to respond with poems of their own. Some, like professionals Brenda Schmidt and Ed Willett, sent poems every day. In the end, almost 500 pieces were submitted, and SK writing veteran-turned publisher, Byrna Barclay, bound what editor Hill deemed the best into a handsome package, featuring Saskatchewanian David ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 12:51, November 6th, 2016 under Blog, Books, Poetry | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: Frankenstein, the first science fiction novel

This is my Space-Time Continuum column for the latest issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. It's a modified version of a column I wrote ages ago as one of my newspaper science columns. It seemed appropriate to bring that old column back to life...bwah-ha-ha! As I write this, it’s about three weeks until Hallowe’en, a time when people’s thoughts turn to monsters. While in this modern age there are a great many more monsters to choose from than there used to be, there’s no doubt that one of the most popular (which is an odd thing for a monster to be, perhaps, but still) is the ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 11:10, October 21st, 2016 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

My "Space-Time Continuum" column for the August/September 2016 issue of Freelance, the newsletter of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. When I was growing up, in pre-Google days, my go-to book for anything I had a question about was the 1958 edition of Collier’s Encyclopedia, which my parents had bought before I was born. One thing I couldn’t learn much about in Collier’s or any other encyclopedia, however, was science fiction. I had to rely on bits and pieces gleaned from the introductions to books and stories, and the occasional magazine article. All that changed in 1979 with the publication of a massive reference work called The Encyclopedia of ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:38, September 5th, 2016 under Blog, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: Women of Futures Past

My latest column for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild's newsletter, Freelance. Whenever I lead a workshop about writing science fiction, I say it’s important to read widely and deeply in the field: that science fiction is like a long ongoing argumentative conversation, and jumping into it without being aware of what has already been said will irritate people at best and derail the conversation at worst. Admittedly, it’s far harder to be keep up with the field now than when I was a kid. Back then, a dedicated fan could reasonably hope to read everything of note published every year. Today, there is far more science fiction and fantasy around, and the audience ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 20:21, June 23rd, 2016 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

How to write YA fantasy: more story, less pretentiousness

On May 30 I gave a talk at the offices of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild for the Saskatchewan chapter of CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (that's their logo at left). The talk was live streamed and will eventually be on YouTube (I'll post a link once it was) but here is what I wrote in preparation for it, edited a bit. If you didn't see the talk and don't want to wait for the YouTube video, this will give you the gist. (Not that I read it very closely, so the actual talk varies considerably.)  How to Write Young Adult Fantasy by Edward Willett t didn’t ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:55, June 11th, 2016 under Blog, Writing and Editing | 1 Comment »

Poetry month poetry: The Tale of Old Bill from the Ship “Cactus Hills”

The final poem of Poetry Month based on first lines provided by Poet Laureate Gerald Hill to members of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild every April weekday, with the challenge to respond to them in some way in new work. I chose to incorporate them into new science fiction/fantasy/horror poems. I've really enjoyed the process, and am already thinking about turning them into an illustrated collection. All the other poems: I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust; Virtuality; This is the Way the World Ends; The Last Thing Your Lips Touched; Facing the Silence; The Telling; Saint Billy; I Remember His Eyes; His Body Knows; Emily Alison Atkinson Finds God; I Will Ride Off the Horizon; There’s Nothing Artificial About Love; He Really ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 11:20, May 1st, 2016 under Blog, Poetry, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

Poetry month poetry: The Labyrinth of Regret

I wasn't able to post this yesterday, but this is actually yesterday's poem from first lines provided the day before that by Gerald Hill, Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan, to all members of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Just one more poem to go! It's been a blast incorporating these random lines of Saskatchewan poetry into new science fiction/fantasy/horror poems. I hope you've enjoyed reading them. All the other poems: I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust; Virtuality; This is the Way the World Ends; The Last Thing Your Lips Touched; Facing the Silence; The Telling; Saint Billy; I Remember His Eyes; His Body Knows; Emily Alison Atkinson Finds God; I Will Ride Off the Horizon; There’s Nothing Artificial About Love; He Really Should ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 7:18, April 30th, 2016 under Blog, Poetry, Writing and Editing | Comment now »