Edward Willett: Creating a strange new world
The Aurora-winning author of Marseguro on the importance of sensory detail in your sci-fi universe.
Always strive for the specific over the generic. Often this means replacing passive voice with active, and salting in lots of strong sensory details. Don’t write, 'It was a dark and stormy night,' write, 'Lightning split the sodden black vault of the sky, as though God Himself were shining a celestial flashlight through giant cracks in the firmament.' Science fiction readers want to be immersed in a strange new world. Don’t leave them feeling as if they’re wandering around a stage set badly painted on patched canvas flats."
Edward Willett is the author of more than 40 books of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and young adults. He won the 2009 Aurora Award for best long-form work of science fiction in English for his novel Marseguro (DAW Books); the sequel, Terra Insegura, was a finalist for the same award. The two have recently been released together in an omnibus edition called The Helix War. His short stories have appeared in various science fiction magazines. Ed’s most recent novel is Magebane (also from DAW), written under the pseudonym Lee Arthur Chane. The first book in his new young adult fantasy series, Masks, written under the pseudonym E.C. Blake, will be out from DAW next fall.