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 the television on and the other half tapping away at his computer at home, why not in the holiday cottage? Yet I struggled.
    The problem was the light. When the sun shone, the cottage was bright enough, but when the weather was grey it was dismal indoors too. I hadn't realised before quite how much effect the light has on my ability to concentrate–after all, I worked in a newspaper office with harsh strip lighting, rain or shine, and I simply got on with it. The difference there was that I had all the facts ready to be assembled. I didn't have to imagine much, so if my thoughts did wander, it was easy to get back on track. Not so when I'm writing about a world of my own creation.
    The moral is to make sure that I get the lighting right now I'm back. It needs to be as close to daylight and as even as possible, so that neither my eyes (nor my brain) get strained. The place where I usually write might not be the best one in the winter. Moving my chair might be as effective as changing my lamp.
    With longer nights and darker days ahead, the situation will only get worse if I delay. This is one situation where procrastination really won't do!
 

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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Happy Holidays–Happy Reading

July 1, 2017
Do writers ever really take a holiday? I recently spend a week on Rhodes. It's a beautiful island with something for everyone whether they prefer the beach or mountains, wild forests or orderly olive groves and vineyards, ancient ruins or nightclubs. While I had a wonderful time, there was a part of my brain that never switched off. Whatever I saw or did, I wanted a better record of it than a photo. That's why I always carry a notebook with me on holiday. A snapshot can give you a flat visual...
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Fantasy Dinner

June 10, 2017
You know the game–someone says, "If you could invite anyone, alive or from the past, to dinner, who would you choose?" If I was doing the cooking, it would either have to be guests who knew me very well or who were used to burnt offerings, as I'm no candidate for Masterchef.
    Perhaps I could invite Ray Mears to cook us up a campfire feast from ingredients he'd foraged in the wilds of central England. Between his cooking duties, he could fascinate us with tales of survival, or maybe give ...
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Going with the Flow

June 1, 2017
I've been trying something completely different. Usually, I know I want to write about a subject, or I've had an idea, and I plan as much as I can before I start writing, but for the past few days I've simply written whatever comes into my head. I haven't had any characters or story in mind, nor have I attempted to shape my thoughts. I've simply daydreamed on paper. In fact, as far as possible, I've avoided censoring or editing what I've written. If I try to think of what might happen or deli...
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Genre Snobbery

May 12, 2017
Is there anything worse than getting a critique from a competition judge who didn't like your story? Mostly, I appreciate feedback, even if I don't agree with it, because it makes me look at my work with fresh eyes, and maybe consider things that hadn't occurred to me before. However, I once had my entry to what purported to be an open competition with no theme or restrictions on style or subject, returned with the comment that "I used to like fantasy stories in my teens, but then I decided t...
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Tomorrow Came Early

May 5, 2017
They say tomorrow never comes, but they forgot to tell the scientists who have just developed a way to do something in real life that I had as a central discovery in a story I recently finished set in the near future. That'll teach me not to procrastinate! To be fair to myself the length of time it took me to get from the original idea to the finished story was due more to making several false starts than slacking off. After a lot of trial and error, I finally came up with an experiment that ...
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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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