Darkness, Heartbreak and Devastation

Hello Lovelies,

This week I’ve been exploring Thomas’ feelings towards his grandmother. While for all intense and purposes she has been his closest living relative and guardian since the death of his parents, he does not feel any emotional connection towards her, only obligation.

When considering his feelings and the news of Charlotte Dawson’s passing (may she RIP) I started to wonder, how much heartache and devastation can one person encounter, before there is no way out of the darkness? After discovering the darkness of Thomas’ past in recent weeks, I am beginning to feel that one of my original plot twists is something that would cause Thomas to permanently retreat into the darkness, something I feel is wrong for the character and the story overall. While I understand that everyone has good days and bad days, especially when dealing with grief, I feel that my original plot twist is too much to bear. I now see my character taking a different direction, telling a different story, one of the power of human emotion and human connection. As Thomas ostracized himself emotionally after the loss of his parents and the coldness of his grandmother, I feel he is showing me that his story is not just a story of darkness, tragedy and loss, but a story of human emotion and the importance and dealing with our emotions.

As I further explore my characters, I am beginning to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between Thomas and Rosie, it goes far beyond the initial physical attraction between them, it is a deep emotional bond, one that Thomas has been craving since his parents’ passing. Rosie encourages Thomas to explore his emotions towards his grandmother and his parents, something which his grandmother discouraged, with her help, Rosie is leading Thomas away from the darkness and into the light. Darkness, heartbreak and devastation still exist in the light, but in the light we are able to see and enjoy the things that give us joy and happiness that we cannot see in complete darkness.

Today I have a short excerpt where Thomas is scratching at the surface as he explores his feelings towards his grandmother, remember it is raw and unedited and will likely change many times before it is final.

Enjoy,

KK

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“Thomas, are you ready for dinner?” That voice, I’ll never tire of hearing that voice, I shrug into my coat and make my way to join Rosie in the sitting room of our suite. Our suite on the SS Strathaird is rather luxurious, I would have preferred something less extravagant but of course my dear grandmother would not hear of it, “if one can afford luxury then one should not settle for anything less”, remembering my grandmother’s words cause me to involuntarily shudder for some reason. As I enter to sitting room I see Rosie, a vision of perfection in a long pearl coloured evening gown and elbow length gloves, her chocolate brown hair pulled back into an elegant twist. No one would believe where this beautiful creature was from, not that it mattered to me at all. “My fair lady, would you do me the pleasure of accompanying me to dinner?” With a shallow bow, I offered Rosie my hand, as she accepted I dipped her and placed a soft kiss onto her crimson lips, as the kiss deepened we were interrupted by the noise of someone clearing their throat, of course that someone was my grandmother. I quickly turned to face her and saw her eyes of disapproval, “Grandmother, you look lovely, should we head down to the dining room?” Grandmother look at me, then glanced at Rosie letting out a long, disapproving breath, “My dear Thomas, I am not interrupting anything, am I?” I could distinctly hear the tone of sarcasm in her question to which I replied to with the same tone, “Of course not grandmother, your timing is impeccable as usual.”  As my grandmother pushes past Rosie and insists that I escort her to dinner, I shoot her an apologetic look, letting her know that it won’t always be like this. She understands the meaning conveyed and as much as I detest my grandmother and her stubborn ways, she has been for many years the only family I have had. Despite this cold-hard fact, I do not feel any real closeness or emotional bond to my grandmother, only obligation. I feel obliged to care for her in her older years and to put up with her nonsense as I feel it is my duty and responsibility. After all, she did provide care for me as a boy, through the employment of a long line of nannies and governesses and she did respect my parents’ wishes to raise me in Sydney, so it is expected that I now provide for her needs and indulge her moods. Yet, her animosity towards Rosie is wearing my patience. I try not to let my frustration and anger show as we make our way to the dining room. My grandmother’s false sentiment and moodiness towards myself, I can deal with and have done so for many years, but the way she is treating Rosie is becoming ridiculous and something which Rosie does not deserve. I do not often stand up to my grandmother, but this is getting preposterous, I have decided that once we arrive in England, things will be different. I will be the man of the house and she will simply have to accept that, I will indulge her silly luncheons, afternoon teas and other functions, but I will no longer put up with her ill-treatment of Rosie.

******

December 15th, 1932

By nothing short of a miracle, I managed to make it through dinner without telling my grandmother exactly what I thought of her and the way she was treating Rosie. Thankfully I was able to make polite conversation with the other people dining with us and I maintained my mask for society, you know the one with the polite smile and the perfectly timed compliments? Rosie is worried though, not because of the way my grandmother is treating her or worried that she might not fit in, but worried because she can see the fine lines that are becoming cracks in my mask. She is the only one who would see these cracks forming, the only person who knows the real me. Rosie is encouraging me to calmly discuss my feelings with grandmother, I told her that one does not simply discuss feelings with Agnes Heath, emotions are “utter nonsense” and have no place in her world. The woman has a stone-hard exterior with a heart of ice that cannot be melted. I know Rosie is right though, for my own sanity I need to express myself; if I can’t talk to Agnes Heath then I will express my feelings in writing. Perhaps someday I will have the courage to show her, but for now writing it down may be enough to keep the darkness from closing in.

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fact or Fiction?

Hello Lovelies,

It’s hard to find the time to write, but this week has been quite a productive one. My characters have given me enough insight into their first meeting allowing me to be able to fill in the blanks and put it into words, my fellow writers will understand just how exciting it is when something like that occurs. You see, it is not the writer who is simply writing the story, the characters are taking us on their journey and we are merely putting their story on paper. Sometimes your characters show you the whole scene and you have to find the right words to depict the scene, other times your characters let bits and pieces slip and you need to find out the rest. That’s where the fun of research comes in (again and again and again).

I already knew that Thomas and Rose met at Rose’s place of employment ,a small clothing manufacturer owned by a Jewish family who migrated from Europe several years before. I saw through Thomas’ eyes as he walked into the man’s office and looked into Rose’s eyes for the first time, but I didn’t know the Jewish man’s name. This is where research comes into play. Although this character in only in the story for a very brief moment and this story is a work of fiction, the name had to be factually accurate, this is when the research begins. I discovered many things about Jewish surnames, that I will not bore you with now, but through this research I did find what I believe to be the perfect name for this family, Schneider. Whilst this surname is a common German surname, my research has told me that it is a name that is a German-Jewish surname meaning tailor, the perfect surname for a family who design and make clothing, don’t you think?

After exploring the darkness last week, it was nice to be able to come into the light and discover the softer side of my dark and mysterious leading man and the beauty of my lovely and compassionate leading lady. Perhaps love was in the air? After all it was Valentines Day on Friday. I’m getting closer to completing the chapter that I abandoned a few weeks ago, but I am also discovering that the story is not heading quite in the direction I was anticipating and in some parts I’m not sure what will happen next. No need to worry though, my characters will show me the way when they are ready.

This week I would like to share with you a little excerpt from Thomas and Rose’s first meeting, again remember this work is raw and unedited and will likely change many times through the editing process.

Enjoy,

KK

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Image Flickr Creative Commons user Saif Saif

When I entered the small business, I was greeted by the owner, a dark haired Jewish man by the name of Szabo, who had migrated to Australia some years before with his wife and daughters. As I entered Mr Szabo’s office and sat down, her words took me by surprise, “Tea or coffee Mr Heath?” I did not even realise that someone else had entered the room. As I looked up I saw for the first time her warm brown eyes that hinted at the kindness and compassion she possessed. My brain struggled to register the words which she had just spoken to me. Her long waves of chocolate brown hair that sat below her shoulders were held back at the sides by two small brown hair combs. She was wearing a beautiful jade coloured dress, that had a ruffled v-neckline and belted waist that accentuated her curves. I know I was staring at her as after a brief moment her cheeks reddened and she glanced down at the small tray she had placed on the desk and repeated the question, to which I stammered out an almost unintelligible reply. Her mouth gave way to a small smile, I am sure she was laughing at me. I had been in the presence of many beautiful young women, but none had caused such an effect. The moment I looked into those warm brown eyes, I felt as if the world around melted away and this beauty, whose name I did not even know, was the only thing preventing me from drifting away. As she left the room and I sipped my coffee and remembered that I do not even drink coffee. I decided that I had to find out more about her, I had to find out everything, “You have a beautiful daughter Mr Szabo, you must be very proud,” what I said was the truth but I didn’t care whose daughter she was, I just knew that I must have her. “Who, Rosie? You very kind Mr Heath, but Rosie, she not my daughter, she not even Jewish girl. Rosie just work for me, she very good dressmaker.” Rosie… of course her name was Rose, it suited her perfectly, but in the words of William Shakespeare, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I asked Mr Szabo everything he knew about Rose, I found out many things by that afternoon, he explained that Rose was the only person besides his immediate family who worked for him. Even though he could no longer afford to pay her during these difficult times, Rose still continued to come to work each day. While I was told many things about her I did not know if she was betrothed, but it didn’t really matter, I would have her either way, but it would make things a lot easier if she were not. 

******

Most importantly I became privy to the fact that she was not betrothed to any man and so I began to pursue her, making unnecessary trips to Schneider’s, just so I could bump into her and invite her to lunch. Rosie was not like any of the other women I had been with and she was not the type of woman I would usually lust after, but for some reason I felt drawn to her. I had found what I was searching for, unaware that I was even searching until our eyes met for the first time. I was not used to having to court a woman, on past occasions, women would lust after me and I would let them. I would wine them and dine them, take what I wanted from them and send them on their way, feeling no emotional connection to them whatsoever.

From the beginning with Rosie, it has always been different.  

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Exploring the Darkness

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to this week’s post.

Since my last post I have been exploring my main character and delving deeper into the darkness of his past. I’ve found the more I delve into his past and his feelings towards the death of his parents, the more I am understanding him and what drives him. I am understanding his attachment and overly protective tendencies towards Rosie but I am also now questioning some of my planned plot developments, I have a feeling that one of the major events in the story is going to change slightly as a result of my exploration into my main character.

I guess an occupational hazard of writing is when you delve so deeply into a character, the thoughts feelings and actions of your character influence your own mood. As I have been exploring the darkness of my character so intensely this week, I have subconsciously been withdrawn and detached slightly in my own life, it wasn’t until I sat down to write today that I realised that it was happening. I think because we ‘writer types’ become so invested in our main characters that they truly become a part of us, therefore it is only natural that they influence our lives in some way. As I wade through the murky waters that are my character’s past and allow for his thoughts and feelings to be expressed, I am beginning to see the light that is now in his life in the form of his beloved Rosie. People say that love conquers all and overcomes all obstacles, whilst this may not be true in every instance, it certainly does help and in Thomas’ case, love has shown him that there is still light in the world, love has drawn him out of the darkness.

Today I have an excerpt of Thomas’ journal for you, this excerpt shows that he is beginning to explore the darkness of his past, one very small step at a time, so he is able to heal old wounds (sometimes self-inflicted), physically and emotionally.

Again, remember this is just the first draft and very raw material.

Enjoy,

KK

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I’m not ready to write about the darkest parts of my past, Rosie knows most things but in bits and pieces that she has pieced together or small parts I have confided in her. I think though, I am ready to write about my parents and what my life was before the darkness closed in.

I did not have the typical childhood of a child brought up in the midst of high society. My parents were very hands on, I did not have a nanny or a governess, I was their only child and they doted on me at every chance they had. I wasn’t overly spoiled by any means, I had no idea how wealthy our family was (and is), but I was loved. I still remember the warmth and comfort of my mother’s embrace and the playfulness of my father as we played chasing games, when he caught me (and he always did) he would tickle me until my stomach ached. I knew that my parents loved me, they showed me though every embrace, every word, every kiss goodnight. My grandmother used to always complain that if someone were to see the way my parents were with me, they would think we were simple commoners; I didn’t know what that meant until I was much older. In a way, perhaps we were commoners, my parents enjoyed the simpler life and my mother was not from a wealthy family, something which I feel my grandmother always held against her. My parents loathed the times when the expectations of society would take them away and prevent them from spending time with me. I had the perfect childhood, until they became sick, it was then that the darkness began to creep in. I wasn’t even allowed to see them, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell them how much I loved them. They now say it was an epidemic, Spanish Influenza infected so many people, mostly people who were from poorer families. My grandmother blames my mother’s family for the loss of her son and I think some in some way her animosity towards Rosie is drawn from her feelings towards my own mother and the loss of her son. After they died, I remember feeling angry and lost, all normal feelings for one who is grieving the loss of a loved one, feelings that would eventually subside, so I was told… but they didn’t. These feelings continued to grow until they all but consumed me. The darkness closed in and I thought I would never see light again, until one day… there she was… my light, my Rosie. 

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rewrite, Revise and Reread

Hello Lovelies,

This week I have been a little restless, I was still experiencing writer’s block on my current work in progress and couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so uninspired and uninteresting in working on it. After research, thought and a great conversation with a dear friend (you know who you are) I have finally figured out what was bothering me. I could not connect with one of my main characters, I feel a strong connection with Thomas and I am beginning to understand what makes this man, but I didn’t feel as strong of a connection with my other main character, who was called Margaret or Maggie. I say WAS called as now I have realised what was wrong, her name was not Margaret, I have since figured out her name is Rose. Since making this change I wrote an entire page in less than five minutes and have made a lot more discoveries about my main characters.

Today  I am going to share with you a section of a journal entry from Thomas that I wrote today, again remember it is raw and unedited as I have only just written it.

Enjoy,

KK

December 14th, 1932

Well here I am, travelling to a country I do not know, to claim the inheritance of an uncle whom I’ve never met. Everything is changing, I feel like everything is out of my control, I feel the darkness of my past creeping in, but there is a light keeping it at bay, that light is Rosie. She was the one who suggested that I keep a journal as I’ve always had difficulty in handling anything emotional; I bury my feelings deep inside, hoping that they will either go away or stay buried. Perhaps it’s because my grandmother always kept me at arm’s length after my parents’ passing. In the world of Agnes Heath, you grieve the death of a loved one for the socially acceptable period of time and then you carry on with life as though it never happened, you do not reminisce or discuss fond memories and you especially do not discuss the torment and depression of losing someone so close to you.

Rosie is the first person I have really been able to speak to about my parents and my troubled past. She does not judge or look down upon me, some of the things I have done I am not proud of and would rather forget, but Rosie understands me, better than I understand myself even. She knows that the darkness of my past was in a different time and I was a different person yet she still understands that what happened to me in the past, the things that I did, make me the man I am today, the man that for some reason she loves and I am thankful for this each and every day.   

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.