Edward Willett

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The Space-Time Continuum: Aliens in Science Fiction

Having just posted my column from the February/March 2017 issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild (see previous post), it behooves me to be more timely and post the most recent column, from the April/May issue. And here it is! I remember being confused, as a kid, the first time I encountered the term “illegal aliens.” “Alien,” to me, had only one meaning: intelligent creatures from other planets. How could they be illegal? I wondered. Not being from this planet, were they really subject to its laws? Yes, I was a weird kid. Aliens are one of the great tropes of science fiction, as the length of the article in the ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:15, May 21st, 2017 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: Creating Magic Systems

This is a belated posting of my column from the February-March 2017 issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Don't know how I missed posting it, but better late than never! Most fantasy stories include magic: that’s kind of what makes them fantasy. (In fact, if I had to distinguish between fantasy and science fiction, I’d say, “The fantastical stuff in fantasy is ascribed to magic. The fantastical stuff in science fiction is ascribed to advanced technology.”) However, different authors take different approaches to the use of magic in stories. In older books of the fantastic (think The Lord of the Rings), magic is (in the words of Brian ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:05, May 21st, 2017 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | 2 Comments »

A long, in-depth interview with…moi! (Trigger warning: includes questions about religion and politics)

Recently Everitt Foster over the blog A Natural Reaction asked me to answer some questions for an online interview, one of a series he's been conducting with authors who have been early adopters of the new social media platform Gab, a would-be Twitter rival. (My handle over there is ewillett.) You can read the interview over there, or you can read it right here, if you want to know more about me than you probably actually want to know about me. I even talk about religion and politics. Quelle horreur! Tell me a little about how you were raised. What was your family like? Did they encourage reading, writing and artistic pursuits from a young age or we’re ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:47, December 5th, 2016 under Blog, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

What does writing success mean to me?

The Flames of Nevyana blog tour has wrapped up! The final two stops of note were this long review of the book from Jorie Loves a Story (too long and detailed to easily excerpt, so read it in situ), and an interview from Melissa Yaun-Innes's blog, of which here's a large chunk (Just in time for Hallowe'en, it's headlined, "Crawl into Edward Willett's mind")... Q. What does writing success mean to you? Awards, money, readers, all of the above? To me, what feels like success varies depending on the day of the week. Well, not quite, but almost. When I receive an award (and I’ve received a few—a Saskatchewan Book Award for my YA fantasy ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:02, October 30th, 2016 under Blog, Books, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

A long interview with me from Books Chatter

The Flames of Nevyana blog tour continued today with this long interview at Books Chatter. I had fun answering these questions. A very warm welcome to Edward Willett (a.k.a. E.C. Blake); thank you for joining us on BooksChatter! What was the inspiration for Flames of Nevyana? "I was driving from my home town of Regina, Saskatchewan, to Meadow Lake, about 500 kilometres further north, to do a reading at the library. Whenever I’m on my own in the car on a long trip I do a lot of thinking about writing, and on this occasion I deliberately set myself the task of coming up with a new idea for a YA fantasy ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:11, October 22nd, 2016 under Blog, Books, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

The world of Flames of Nevyana

From the ongoing blog tour for Flames of Nevyana, here's today's guest post from Lisa's Loves (Books of Course): The world of Flames of Nevyana began with a simple kernel of an idea: the magic of electricity. I was driving from my home town of Regina, Saskatchewan, to Meadow Lake (about 500 kilometres north) for a library reading/presentation, and passing the time by trying to come up with a new YA novel idea. I got to musing on what is known in science fiction circles as Clarke’s Law: Arthur C. Clarke’s famous dictum that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I reflected on the fact that what we accomplish with ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 7:35, October 19th, 2016 under Blog, Books, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

Another Seven-Sentence Short Story

At When Words Collide in Calgary this summer I once again conducted a Seven-Sentence Short Story workshop, and had more people in it than ever before--30 or so, I'd guesstimate. This is a plotting exercise created by SF writer/high school teacher James Van Pelt, and it works great in this setting. Below is my story written during that exercise, with each sentence prefaced with the corresponding instruction. 1. Introduce what the main character wants and the first action he/she takes to accomplish that goal. Stanislaw crawled through the stinking mud of the escape tunnel on his hands and knees, screams chasing him through the darkness, the dim blue light that promised freedom glowing in the distance, seemingly just out of ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 12:35, September 7th, 2016 under Blog, 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 »

Answering some questions about writing

I was recently asked, by someone on Facebook, several questions about writing, and I though the answers might be of general interest. And so here they are! How do you decide what ideas/characters/plots/etc. are good? Or which to keep? Hmmm. Of course, I think they’re all good. When I was starting out and writing everything “on spec” (that is, writing it first and then trying to sell it) it would simply be whatever idea grabbed me the hardest and could keep me going through the long process of writing a novel. These days, it’s a little different. My Masks of Aygrima series (written as E.C. Blake) began with ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 13:16, March 2nd, 2016 under Blog, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

The Space-Time Continuum: Where do you get your ideas?

This is my latest column on writing science fiction and fantasy for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild newsletter Freelance... One of the challenges of writing a regular column (as I know from long experience, since I wrote a weekly newspaper column for many years) is coming up with ideas. Oddly enough, that’s also one of the perceived challenges of writing fiction: coming up with ideas. What better idea for a column on writing, then, then writing a column on where ideas come from? Also, “Where do you get your ideas” is a question writers get asked all the time. I can’t answer for other authors, but I can look at ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:52, February 6th, 2016 under Blog, Writing and Editing | 1 Comment »