Perfect Imperfection

Hello lovelies,

Over the past week I’ve been thinking a lot about my main characters and their appearances, I wanted to pinpoint their imperfections, the things that make them real, unique and perfectly imperfect. I have posted previously about the importance of creating realistic characters that your audience can relate to. I believe it is important to acknowledge not everyone is Hollywood Perfection in their appearance and it is unrealistic and unfair to encourage this perception of perfect appearance and beauty, therefore this is something I am striving towards in the development of my characters.

This week I would like to focus on Thomas, after all I am seeing him through Rose’s eyes, so it makes sense that I take a closer look at his appearance.

When Rose sees Thomas for the first time, he is not at all what she had expected, even though she knew nothing about him except he was a wealthy investor. Rose had imagined someone similar to József’s age, an older, but distinguished man, with a slim build and slightly grey hair. Instead she finds herself looking at a man who is built more like a labourer or dock worker than a wealthy investor. Before he turns to face her she notices that he is tall with broad shoulders and a muscular frame but when he turns to her she is shocked by his youthful appearance. Of course Rose finds Thomas physically attractive, but it is more than just his appearance that draws her to him. As she studies his appearance more closely, she notices that it is not perfect, he has a small scar above his right eye and a slightly crooked nose, his physical appearance is not perfect, but to Rose he is perfectly imperfect.

Here is a brief excerpt I have been working on, explaining Thomas’ appearance through Rose’s eyes, this is still a draft so be kind!

Enjoy,

KK

“I hadn’t noticed it at first, I was too distracted by his appearance and my now apparent misconception of him, but there was something dark about Thomas, something dangerous I just couldn’t put my finger on. I knew it was there though, it was hinted in his voice, like an unspoken warning to stay away from him and it was in the way he moved, with power and grace, like an animal stalking its prey. Darkness was something I knew all too well and I could spot it easily in others. Thomas’ darkness was different from my own though, which caused me to cower and to be afraid, but I sensed that his darkness was the thing that drove him, gave him strength in spite of his past, whatever that might be.

As I prepared the tea for József and Thomas, I caught myself staring at him through the partially open door, nearly overfilling the cup. He must have heard my faint curse, glancing towards me so slightly it was nearly undetectable. I noticed a small scar above his right eye and his nose was slightly crooked. Was this his darkness, was he a brawler, exerting his physical power over others for his own gratification? Surely a man of his social standing would not associate himself with such barbaric activities. Yet how can I be sure, by my own admission I know nothing about this man, yet I am strangely drawn to him, I imagine reaching my hand up to the side of his face and touching that small scar as he leans his cheek into my palm, I shake my head banishing the image from my mind. Listen to yourself Rosie! You barely know this man and you’re having unsavoury fantasies about him! Fantasize all you want, but remember, you are from different worlds; you could never be together, besides he probably thinks you’re simple after this morning’s performance. I nod in silent agreement with my subconscious, even though I barely know this man, I know that we inhabit two very different worlds.”

© 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.

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Location, Location, Location!

Hello Lovelies,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing The King and I at the Sydney Opera House. While it was a magnificent production and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it is not the topic of today’s post as yesterday I also had some time to explore some possible locations for Lonely Hearts. 

There’s something truly amazing in physically exploring the world of your characters it’s completely different to researching on the internet, walking where they may have walked, touching the sandstone they might have touched, entering the buildings they may have entered. I completely understand why Stephenie Meyer of the Twilight Series visited the town of Forks in Washington when writing the series, you are stepping into the world of your characters. The area I briefly explored was The Rocks in Sydney, an historic area of Sydney that was almost completely wiped out by the outbreak of the bubonic plague in the early 1900s, however there are still some amazing buildings and architecture that remain, providing a glimpse into the past.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/teammakepeace/5461511568/in/photolist-bj1pZt-bV6kLG-GRbz5-uA2Se-8ErtPP-tTBGu-aCuFB3-8Fs3aS-bkwMhC-nUSK1Q-6wjVFf-aCioBG-7CF7hC-9jBFVm-6BHScV-ffbJhE-4i5ccQ-9jBF7y-9jAz7d-9jxtV2/
Side Entrance of The Rocks Discovery Museum Image Retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons User Caz and Craig Makepeace

I was very excited when I came across a small museum in the The Rocks called The Rocks Discovery Museumnot only did the four permanent exhibits in the museum document the history of The Rocks from the Indigenous people to the present, it was also FREE to enter (although a gold coin donation is appreciated). The museum provided a valuable insight into the history of the area and gave me plenty of ideas for other things I need to research. I only wish I had more time yesterday to explore. I definitely need to plan another visit to the area, solely for the purpose of research and I would love to visit the Susannah Place Museum as I am thinking this might be a possible location for the home and shop of József.

Susannah Place Museum. Image Retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons User Caz and Craig Makepeace
Susannah Place Museum. Image Retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons User Caz and Craig Makepeace

On another topic, two fairly amusing things happened yesterday. Firstly, after thanking the lady who worked at the museum and explaining how useful the visit had been to my writing, she suddenly looked concerned and asked if I was someone that she should know, I smiled and shook my head, explaining to her that I was a frustrated (and unpublished) writer that is trying to make a conscious effort to stick to one WIP. Maybe one day I’ll be someone she should know, but fame and fortune is not why I’m doing this. Secondly, I witnessed first-hand a tourist taking a photo of himself and his female companion using the latest must-have selfie assistance tool –the selfie stick! Something which I then laughed about for the rest of the rest of the day and frankly I’m still laughing about it as I write this (if you haven’t heard of a selfie-stick click here to find out more).

I’m now off to research other places I would like to visit in Sydney and step into the world of my characters.

Until next week,

KK

© 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.

Not What You’d Expect

Hello Lovelies,

Well, things have been pretty crazy this last week, just one crappy thing after another, not exactly what I was expecting for the first week back after school holidays. But, you know what they say, expect the unexpected! So with all that’s been going on I haven’t had much time for writing this week, but I did get an extension on my last assessment for the uni semester so I can spend some more time procrastinating!

I’ve only got a short post for you today and I’ve quickly scribbled down the rest of chapter one and reached the point were Rose meets Thomas for the first time. Prior to this meeting, Rose has never laid eyes on Thomas and doesn’t know much about him except that his a wealthy entrepreneur, who is of a high social class. Rose is expecting a older man, perhaps with slightly gray hair, lean and well-dressed. The only thing she has right though is well-dressed and the man who is the handsome and youthful Thomas Heath, catches her off-guard turning her into a mumbling idiot. The excerpt I have shared with you today is a small piece of what I’ve written this afternoon, it’s very raw and unedited so please forgive any typos and grammatical errors.

So, never presume and expect the unexpected!

Enjoy,

KK

As Jószef paces in his small office, I make myself busy double-checking that everything was prepared for the meeting. Over the last few weeks I have made summaries of our accounts and expenditure, as I’m sure as an investor Mr. Heath would be interested in that type of information, I have samples of the latest clothing line Jószef has been working on and I’ve set out the two best teacups and saucers we have on a silver tray with a fresh pot on tea. Meanwhile, Jószef is still pacing, I’ve never seen him this anxious, even when he thought he was too late to save me. I quickly push the last thought out of my mind, this is not the time to be reminded of such dark times. I glance at the time, we still have a few minutes before Mr Heath is due to arrive,  just enough time to pop into Jószef’s office and reassure him –again. As I open the door to the small office Jószef pauses mid-step, smiling when he sees me, but his brow is still creased, revealing his nervousness. “Jószef, everything is prepared, just be yourself and Mr. Heath is bound to see what a wonderful investment opportunity you have for him.” I hug him gently, “Apa, don’t worry, you’ll do fine.” His faced softens as he looks at me with a father’s love, the way he always does when I call him Apa. Just then, the bell on the shop-front door rings, heralding the likely arrival of Mr Heath, I give Jószef one last hug for luck, “Don’t worry, I’ll go greet Mr Heath and you take a moment to gather yourself.” Jószef nods, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves as I smooth my dress and head out into the shop to greet Mr. Heath.

I walk through the small doorway that leads from the back office into the small shop. I have never seen Thomas Heath before, but the man gazing out the window is undoubtedly him, judging by the obvious expense paid for the fine navy suit he is wearing. Aside from the clothes, he is not what I expected at all, he’s tall, with broad muscular shoulders, his build seems more likened to some sort of labourer than a man of money and class. My heart begins to race at the sight of this man, it’s just nerves, I tell myself, but as I walk into the room, the atmosphere changes and as though he senses me, he turns and faces me.

Oh my, I pause mid-stride, nearly stumbling as I am stunned by the strong, handsome, youthful looking man that faces me. He couldn’t be much older than me, “I’m Thomas Heath and I believe Mr. Szabó is expecting me.” Offering his hand, I shake it without thinking, I wasn’t expecting him to be so young, I’m completely caught off guard, “And who do I have the pleasure of shaking hands with?” As I stare into his jade green eyes I realise I am still shaking Mr. Heath’s hand,  I quickly let go, hoping he doesn’t notice I blush in obvious embarrassment, say something Rosie, he’s going to think you’re simple, “Oh, I’m Rosie, um Rose, Rose Greene. I’m Jószef’s, I mean, Mr. Szabó’s assistant.” A hint of a smile touches his lips, is he laughing at me? I’d laugh at you, you mumbling fool, my inner thoughts snap me back to the now. “Well I’m very pleased to meet you Rosie um Rose Rose Greene, I’m always pleased to meet such beautiful woman.”  Ok now I’m positive he’s laughing at me, surely I wouldn’t be the first person to be caught off-guard by his obvious youth, I am equally caught off-guard by his compliment, is he always so forward? “So, Miss Greene, is Mr Szabó ready for our meeting?”

“Yes, right this way Mr Heath and please call me Rose.”

“Well in that case Rose, please, call me Thomas.” I offer him a polite smile as I lead him into Jószef’s small office, trying to hide the small thrill I feel at the sound of him saying my name.

© 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.

In Their Shoes

Hello Lovelies,

This past week I’ve been procrastinating -yes, again. I know I am in a constant state of procrastination, but while I have been procrastinating I’ve been thinking about the editing I need to do already in my current WIP, Lonely Hearts. I’m only half way through the first chapter, as I’ve been doing a lot of planning and research and already I am seeing that I’m going to have to make quite a number of changes. I need to get into my character’s head and think about how she thinks, feels and reacts to different situations – I need to put myself in her shoes, Rose’s gorgeous 1930s style shoes!

Flikr Creative Commons -The Bees Knees Daily
Flikr Creative Commons -The Bees Knees Daily

Lonely Hearts begins with Rose waking in the morning after a terrible nightmare. I had to consider carefully how I would feel if I were in Rose’s shoes, how I would react and what I would be thinking. I guess it goes without saying, (but I’ll say it anyway) that in order to create convincing characters that your readers are able to relate to, you must consider all aspects of the character; their appearance, likes, dislikes, thoughts, feelings, history and so on. Then comes the challenging part- deciding the aspects which would add to the story and make in more interesting and which aspects are for the writer’s benefit only, in order to walk in your character’s shoes.

“The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So at this point I am trying to put myself in my character’s shoes, to think what they are thinking and feel what they are feeling. This is mostly for my benefit so I am able to get myself in the right frame of mind to tell their story. I can’t expect to tell Rose’s story, from Rose’s point of view if I am unable to understand where she has come from and the experiences that have shaped her into the person that she is. So whilst it may not be crucial to the story to retell her entire history, it is important to me- as the writer, in order to do the story justice, in order to tell it convincingly.

So as I go to explore my character even further, I leave you with a small excerpt that I have edited for the first chapter of Lonely Hearts. I’m sure it will be changed several more times before I’m finished with it, but this is what it is at this point.

Enjoy,

KK

Sydney, Australia February, 1935

 

The warmth of the morning summer sun shone through my small window, washing away the darkness of my nightmare that was still clinging to me. Why do things always seem better in the light of day? There’s something about the magic of the sun that keeps they darkness at bay.

“Édesem, are you up yet? We have a very busy day today and you need to have time to eat.” I smile at the familiar accented voice of Jószef, the man who is the closest thing I have ever had to a father, he’s always worrying that I don’t eat enough. I hear him calling out again, “One of these days édesem, you are going to vanish, please come and eat.” I know he worries about me constantly, a little too much actually but the truth is I’ve never really been one to eat a lot, I wonder idly why this is, perhaps it has something to do with my childhood.

I stretch my limbs and climb out of bed heading over to the small wooden dresser to wash my face and get myself ready for the day ahead. I sense that Jószef is a little anxious today, I know he’s been struggling financially for a while, just like everyone else, but if everything goes well today then Jószef will be in business with Mr Thomas Heath –THE Thomas Heath. I try to steer clear of idle gossip, but if all accounts are true, then Mr. Heath is a ridiculously wealthy entrepreneur, who is currently investing in viable businesses that will aide in Australia’s recovery from the stock market crash some years back. I sincerely hope he considers Jószef’s business to be viable as he has so many wonderful ideas including creating a line of ready-to-wear clothing that every family can afford.

I make myself look as presentable as I can, dressing in my best dress – a jade green wrap dress with short puffed sleeves and my black t-strap heeled shoes. Even though we are nearing the end of the Australian summer, February always seems to be the hottest, so I part my long honey blonde hair to the side and twist it up securing it with my favourite hair comb. As I take one last look in the dresser mirror to make sure I am presentable, the freckles that are scattered over my nose and cheeks catch my eye making me think of my mother.

Yes, I have freckles, something which was always used as ammunition by those boys who constantly were making my life unbearable. I remember the day I cried to my mother, begging her to find some way to cover them up or better still, to rid me of them forever. She told me not to be daft, that freckles were something very special, “God’s Kisses” she had called them. She said they were there to remind me that no matter how bad things seemed, God would always be there for me and love me unconditionally -just as she did. She died three days later… I was fourteen. The memory is bitter-sweet, but the memory of my mother’s unconditional love is enough to make me smile and banish away the final strands of darkness from my nightmare.

© 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.