Read to Write

November 12, 2017
Reading can be depressing. The reason? I recently read Natasha Pulley's The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and now I feel like throwing my pencil away.
    The novel is the author's first, and it's a triumph. The characters are unusual but real, the historical setting is intriguing, the story complex, yet the reader is never lost or jolted out of the world of the novel by any blip in the narrative.
    As if that wasn't enough, I've just finished reading Strange Beasties, Third Flatiron Anthologies' latest release. Each of the stories involves an animal not of the real world. They come in all shapes and sizes from mythical beasts to alien monsters. Some of the tales are sinister and some are laugh-out-loud funny, but they all share one thing in common (apart from the animal)–their inventiveness is matched by flawless writing.
    How will I ever manage to write like that? The truth is, I won't, because I'm not other authors, I'm me. Studying other writers–how they construct sentences or convey characters etc.–can improve my work, but I'll never write like them. However, I might one day write as well as them, if I internalise what I learn from others and allow it to come out in its own way. We all have our own style, which really can't be forced into someone else's mould.
    Don't be disheartened if you read something so good, you don't think you'll ever be able to match it. Be yourself, keep practising and there's no limit to what you can achieve.
 

A Menagerie of Stories

November 12, 2017
The clever editors at Third Flatiron Anthologies have hunted down a batch of stories and released them in Strange Beasties. Each tale features some wild creatures that will roam through your imagination. Some will make you shiver with dread, but not all of them are monsters–in fact, you could end up taking another look at society and wondering who's more dangerous–them or us?
    From the story that opens the anthology, the excellent 'In the Days of Mister Cuddles' by Bruce Arthurs, which ...
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Free Reads (and Much More)

October 24, 2017
Continuing on the theme from the last blog, I want to highlight a place where readers in the UK can enjoy unlimited free books–at least for the time being. Public libraries have books for all ages and tastes, whether you want to read for fun, for research, or to learn more about the area where you live. You can read them on site or take them home. If you can't find what you want, the librarian will help you, and if they don't have the title you want in their catalogue, for a small fee they ...
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Readers First

October 15, 2017
It occurs to me that I've been writing more for writers lately than for readers, so this week I aim to redress the balance. I have three pieces of work due for publication in the near future. In fact one, 'The Enlightened One's Blessed', is already available online–and it's free to read.
    The story is one of 15 fiction finalists in Pen 2 Paper's contest aimed at raising awareness of disabilities. The other sections are non-fiction and poetry. When you visit http://www.txdisabilities.org/p...
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Take Note

October 2, 2017
I always try to keep a notebook cum diary when I'm on holiday, so I can stock up on ideas and tweets. On my recent holiday, what I wrote about mostly was the weather, not just any weather, but more specifically rain. As I once tweeted, 'England's been having such changeable weather–sudden downpours, drizzle, persistent rain, showers, light precipitation, squalls... ' A fortnight of heavy showers interspersed with steady rain has added to my store of descriptions.
    There's the type of rai...
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Dull Light, Dull Writing

September 26, 2017
I've just returned from the rainiest holiday I've ever had. The week I spent in Brighten when I was 10 comes close, but my memory of that is coloured by a child's perspective and my desperate desire to play on the beach.
    It would have been nice to see the sea last week without it being screened by rain, but as a writer, being kept indoors shouldn't depress me (you might think). What an opportunity to write without any of the usual distractions! If I can produce a few thousand words with th...
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A New Crop of Opportunities

September 4, 2017
September. Can you believe it? The summer's gone, the children are heading back to school, and the holidays are over. Before the gloom sets in, this means that many of the magazines that were closed to submissions over the summer are now open again. Theatres that were dark are now launching their autumn seasons too. Even places that hadn't closed tended to be short-staffed, but now they'll be getting up to speed again.
    Any work that's been languishing in slush piles might now get read, and...
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Other Worlds and Earworms

August 23, 2017
At long last I've caught up with reviewing some of the books I've read lately. Indie authors can find it hard to get their work noticed, and it can be equally hard for readers to know whether a novel by an indie author will be their kind of book. Reviews act like word-of-mouth personal recommendations, and help readers decide whether they fancy reading the sample, so I would always welcome honest, constructive reviews, and I hope the ones I write will be useful to both authors and readers.
   ...
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Short but Sweet

July 30, 2017
Third Word Press has accepted my 80-word story, 'Turning to Stone', for its anthology A House of Music and Other Stories, which is being sold to help the homeless. The 80 stories of 80 words each were selected from entries to its fortnightly competitions, and I'm looking forward to reading them.
    When I told a friend about it, she couldn't understand what I meant by 80-word stories. How could a story have a beginning, middle and end when it was so short? Surely it must be an extract from so...
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Fair's Fair!

July 11, 2017
One of the joy's of self-publishing is that you're free to do what you want with your work. No one might read it, but at least the decisions are yours and no one can insist on a different cover or cutting out your favourite scene. All the responsibility and the rewards are yours–as well as all the chores.
    It's easy to see publicity and marketing as 'housework'–jobs that need to be done, that take up far too much time when you could be actually producing something, and whose benefits ca...
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About Me


My writing career began as a freelance feature writer for the local press, businesses and organisations. Now a prize-winning playwright and short story writer, my work has appeared in numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic. I write as K. S. Dearsley because it saves having to keep repeating my forename, and specialise in fantasy and other speculative genres.

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