Paranormal Activity

Paranormal
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Guain Bolisay

Hello Lovelies,

If you haven’t already guessed from the title, today’s post will be looking at my experiences of what people refer to “paranormal activity” and ways in which it has influenced my writing, on both a conscious and subconscious level.

If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you may recall something that happened to be in the wee hours of the morning during one of my writing sessions.

fb post paranormal activity

What happened that night wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that sort of presence, it’s actually something that has happened to me quite a number of times over the years. I’m not the type of person that goes in search of paranormal activity, it is something that finds me. Sometimes it is simply a feeling and other times it is something glimpsed ever so briefly and I’m never 100% sure if it was there or not. Usually the experience is accompanied by an emotion, perhaps a sense of calm or sometimes a sense of sadness. However I have not ever felt threatened or in danger from such a presence. Do I believe in ghosts though? I guess the simple answer to that question is yes, I do believe that there are spirits among us, but I don’t exactly believe in the haunting, dragging chains presence that a ghostly presence is often depicted as.

For some reason, I have always felt a connection to my great-grandmother, even though she passed away about ten years before I was born. When I was a teenager and doing my final exams, I was understandably under a lot of stress. One night I felt the presence of an elderly woman sitting on the end of my bed as I slept, she patted my leg in a comforting way, as if telling me that everything would be alright. This would not be the last time that this woman would visit me, over the years she has always been with me during difficult times in my life and also in times of celebration and also most recently, I believe it was her again who was with me the other night as I was writing, looking over at me work. My family members have also had similar experiences over the years and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that the elderly woman is my great-grandmother, who was lovingly called Nanny Greene. She was fiercely protective of her family and even though she passed away before having the chance to become a great-grandmother, I believe that she is still with us all, popping in every now and then whenever we need a little extra support or just to see how we are doing.

There have been other times as well when I felt a presence other than what I believe is my great-grandmother. One night as a teenager I was driving home by myself when I saw a girl with long brown hair, probably in her early teens, standing next to the road under a tree wearing a white nightdress. I thought it was odd that someone was out at 10:30 at night in their pajamas, when I blinked though she was gone.

Perhaps it was the night and my mind playing tricks on me, perhaps the girl was never there at all, but I remember looking at her for that brief moment as I drove past her and I remember the feeling of being lost, not physically but emotionally lost. I never saw the girl’s face, her head was down and her brown hair curtained her face, but I am sure the feelings I felt were hers. You see, they couldn’t have been my own feelings, I was on my way home that night feeling happy, I knew where I was heading in life, I was in love and I was happy. The feelings I felt from the moment I looked at her and for a while after she was gone were definitely not my own.

I never saw the lost girl again, but the memory of that night and the feelings I felt will never be forgotten.

Sometimes I wonder if I have some sort of natural ability, whether I am in some way in tune with their world. It is not something I have explored, it actually frightens me a little, probably because it is so unknown, so I am thankful that most of my experiences have been positive ones. I’ll never know for sure whether it is my overactive imagination or if they are true experiences and connections with the spirit world. However when members of my extended family are also having similar experiences, we can’t all be victims of overactive imaginations can we?

Mark Twain once said,

“Write what you know.”

Whilst this is a common piece of advice for writers, I don’t believe that these words should be followed to the letter because what we know is always changing, I do believe however, that we often bring some of our own experiences to our characters, so in many ways we are often writing what we know.

In saying this, I have definitely brought my experiences with the “paranormal” to my characters, not in a clanging of chains haunting way, but in the way that I have experienced it, as emotions and a connection to family who have passed. My stories do not have a strong paranormal theme, but it is an element and essential in telling the story of my characters, in understanding who they are and as a way to explore their emotions and experiences.

I have two WIP that include characters of strong women who have experienced a connection to the paranormal world. Whilst these characters are in two different stories, in two different times, they have one common character connecting them: József. This man is the connecting thread between his and Anna’s story, taking place in the 1910s and Thomas and Rose’s story, which takes place in the 1930s. His connection with these two women is quite different, with Anna he is a husband, a friend, a lover and with Rose he is a protective father figure and a friend, but while he has never personally experienced the same connection these women do with the spirit world, he understands their experiences and never doubts them.

Now it’s sharing time.

To my fellow writers, what experiences of your own have you drawn on to breathe life into your characters?

And to my readers, have you ever had any experience with the paranormal? A feeling, a vision or even a clanging chains type of haunting?

I’d be interested to hear some of your experiences. Feel free to comment below or drop by on Twitter or Facebook to start the conversation.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). 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. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Way the River Flows

Hello lovelies,

What an amazing but also difficult week it has been! The words are flowing! I’ve finally gotten to a point in the story where I know what is happening next and the only problem is finding enough hours to get the words out. It hasn’t been easy to get to this point, sometimes the river flows slowly, sometimes it is fast and now I’ve got the raging rapids as I make my way through the ups and downs of József and Anna’s story.

river Flickr cc Daniel Mennerich
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Daniel Mennerich

Not only did I completely smash this months word-count goal with an extra 5,000 words (and it’s not event he end of the month yet!), but also I have had the chance to write not only some of the happiest scenes I’ve written, but also some of the most heartbreaking scenes as well. I’ll be honest, I was sort of (definitely) ugly crying as I wrote one of the most difficult and heartbreaking scenes I have ever written, I may have also broken the hearts of my Beta readers as well when I sent them this month’s updated version of An Anguished Heart, but in the word of Robert Frost:

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

 

I think one reason I have been powering through this part of the story and staying up until 3 a.m several nights in a row, is because I need to keep the momentum and feeling of anguish, loss and devastation that my characters are feeling at this point, one moment they are blissfully happy newlyweds and the next….things aren’t quite blissful.

It’s never easy writing those sort of scenes, but it is often necessary in order for the characters to grow and change. I know that the characters are not the same people as when I started this story, they’ve grown and changed and their experiences they have had so far are shaping the people they will become, just like in life.

I’m not going to share the details of the events that caused such grief and devastation for József and Anna, that’s something I’d like to keep to myself for a while. I will share with you some of the feelings Anna is having in the aftermath though, when she is full of grief and despair, struggling to pick herself up and start again.

I hope over the next few weeks the river continues to flow in the white water rapids that my writing is lately. I have pages of notes on all the upcoming events, the only problem I have now is finding enough hours to get it written while still getting enough hours sleep! So fingers crossed!

Enjoy,

KK

I wish I was stronger, I wish I had the strength to pick myself up and start again, but I don’t. All I want is to lie here and pray for the pain to end and hope that József has enough strength for the both of us. -Anna, An Anguished Heart.

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). 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. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Unexpected Change of Weather

Hello Lovelies,

I’ve been trying to get this month’s word-count goal accomplished before the 20th of this month. Why you ask? Well if you remember back to earlier this year, I enlisted the help of a close friend and one of my top supporters to kick my arse for procrastinating. Each month I send her an updated first draft of An Anguished Heart as proof of meeting my goal and in return, she doesn’t tally up arse kickings for when she sees me again.

Well that friend is coming to visit on the 20th and was looking forward to kicking my arse in person and it was just the push I needed to get on with it. There’s nothing like the threat of violence to get your act together. Seriously though, she would physically kick my arse, it would be more like making me feel guilty for not telling her more of József and Anna’s story, which I think might be worse.

So last night I put the kids (and husband!) to bed and sat down with a bottle of diet coke (I know it’s bad for me, but I don’t drink coffee) and hyped myself up into a writing, researching, note-making craze until almost 3 a.m.

I got quite a bit done actually, I’m only around 2,600 words off this month’s goal and I was able to figure out a lot of things that are coming up next in József and Anna’s story. I’m totally going to make my friend laugh and then cry like a baby with the upcoming events!

Whilst writing a scene (which you can get a sneak peek of below) when the weather changes suddenly from a beautiful spring day, to pouring rain, sounds pretty crappy right, but it was actually an amazingly beautiful thing to happen. I got to thinking how sometimes change, however unexpected are actually one of the most invigorating things in life. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time change is scary, nerve wracking and down right just sucks! But other times, change is exactly what you need even if you didn’t know it until after the fact.

Sometimes an unexpected change occurs for the better and we are unable to return to life as it was before, even if we wanted to because in truth you couldn’t imagine your life being any different. Before that you were just existing day-to-day, then the metaphorical unexpected change of weather comes along and forces you to live again. You had no idea you were sleep-walking through life until the universe cause you to awaken. That is the type of change that is good, that is the type of change that is welcomed, the type of change that we are thankful for once it has happened.

Now it’s your turn to reflect on the unexpected changes that happened in your lives that forced you to awaken and live again.

Feel free to share in the comments section if you’d like or simply it to yourself as a reflection of an unexpected change that ended up being for the better.

Below is a sneak peek of the scene that sparked this week’s post, it was written in the wee hours of the morning, so excuse any errors!

Enjoy,

KK

rain tree flickr cc Steve
Photo Courtesy of Flickr CC user Steve

 

“That was a little unexpected wasn’t it.” Anna says, peering out at the pouring rain from our makeshift shelter under the tree.

I smiled, taking in her own dishevelled appearance and noting how beautiful she looked in that moment.

“I don’t suppose that will be much help in this weather?” I ask, pointing to Anna’s parasol.

“Erm, I doubt it.” She replies still on the verge of laughter.

“Well then, I guess we have two options then.” I say, as Anna looks at me expectantly, “We can either wait it out and hope the rain stops soon or….”

“Or…?” She questions with a raised eyebrow.

“Or we make a run for it.” I finish.

Anna peers out again from under the relative dryness of tree, looking at the sky, then at her shoes and finally looks at me with a mischievous gleam in here eye, “Well…. I am already quite wet. I say we make a run for it.”

And just like that, my mischievous Anna hitches up her skirt and takes off running across the lawn in the pouring rain. I shake my head and laugh, before taking off after her, shoving the blanket into the basket in my hand and laughing like a couple of giddy school children playing in the rain.

 

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). 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. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Research into the Underground

Hello Lovelies,

This past week I haven’t done much writing as I have been focused more on researching the small details in order to move forward with József’s story. There are so many things to consider when writing historical fiction and all I can say is thank goodness I am writing in the age of Google! (You can read more on my love of Google in the post, “Google” as a Verb, by clicking  here)

Things that we might even take for granted, need to be taken into consideration when writing historical fiction. In the case of József’s story in An Anguished Heart,  I need to discover what life was like in Budapest in the time leading up to the outbreak of WWI. One things in particular I have been researching is transport in the 1910s. There is some difficulty finding information on the subject in English at time, but with a husband fluent in Hungarian and Google Translate as a backup, it’s easy to overcome this hurdle.

M1 line Miklós flick CC
M1 Metro Station. Photo courtesy of Flickr CC user Miklós

In considering the type of transport applicable to this story, I not only needed to know the transport used at the time, but also the social standing of the characters and their families. You see, whilst cars were in use during this time period, not all families would have owned a car and whilst I have become quite familiar with the public transport system in Budapest over the last few months (check out a previous post Chilly Travelling), I had no idea what types of public transport was available in the 1910s.

So let the research begin!

This is what I’ve discovered so far through a variety of sources such as Wikipedia, The Budapest Transport Corporation (BKV) and UrbanRail as well as by visiting the Millenium Underground Museum in Budapest.

  • Public transportation in Budapest began in the 1860s with horse drawn tram services beginning in Pest in 1866.
  • At the end of the 19th century, modern electric railways and tramways were being implemented in Budapest and in 1896 the first electric underground railway in mainland Europe was opened in Budapest.
  • The underground railway (now known as the M1 metro line or “yellow line” was built as a way to transport the public to the Millennium Exhibition celebrations to be held in City Park that year and was built in only 20 months! The city government did not want additional tramlines covering the city so  Mór Balázs, the leader of the tramway authority suggested to build a tramway underground. As it was built to transport the pubic for the Milennium Exhibition celebreation, the underground tramway was called the “Millennium Underground Railway” and has been in constant operation since its opening in 1896. The stations are amazingly beautiful, after being fully restored to their original glory after the end of Soviet rule in the 1990s. On an interesting note (totally unrelated to the development of the story), the beautiful stations of the M1 line were made “plain” during Soviet rule, this was the way they did things in communism, fair, standard, equal…plain. However after the Soviet rule over Hungary ended, the Soviets paid back a debt to the Hungarian government accumulated during Soviet rule. This money was then used by the Hungarian government to restore the M1 stations to their former glory, so take that Soviet communists!
  • With the increase in population and travel throughout the capital leading up to WWI there were plans to build additional underground railway services. However due to the constraints caused by the outbreak of WWI and WWII, the Millennium Underground Railway remained the only underground railway service in Budapest until 1970.
  • A bus service did not come into effect until 1915, so this is after the time period of my story.

So this is what I have to work with for József’s story.

  • I know the “yellow line” M1 metro line was in use during the story timeline, from my research and actual use of this metro line I know what stations were in use, which areas they served and also the appearance of the stations. During the timeline of the story though it was known as the Millennium Underground Railway.
  • Given the slightly higher social and financial standing of József’s family, I know that his father own a car, possibly a MÁG Phönix Landauer.
  • Buses were not is service until 1915, so this is not an option however the tramways were in service, first horse-drawn and later replaced by the electric trams.
  •  And if it wasn’t too far they walked!

 

As you can see, there are many aspects to consider when writing historical fiction and this post has only given a very brief insight into one of these considerations.

Now as promised in last week’s post, I have a short excerpt from the first draft of An Anguished Heart for you all. This particular excerpt is where we are introduced to different members of József’s family, particular his cousin, who is like a brother to him.

Enjoy,

KK

Dániel was a couple of years younger than I and also a few inches shorter, but we were so often mistaken for each other when not together, that we sometimes took advantage of it, especially when we were at school. We had the same floppy ink black hair; that had the tendency to flip-flop wherever it wanted, the same slightly-slanted dark-brown eyes and the same tall slightly muscular build. When we were together though, the resemblance for so uncanny that people actually thought he was my younger brother and in many ways that was the case. We both only had sisters and we were as much brothers as we were cousins.

I had three sisters, my younger sister Éva was the same age as Anna and my two older sisters, Rebeka and Sára, were already married. My oldest sister Rebeka lived outside of the city with her husband Sándor and my first niece or nephew would be arriving in just a few months. My other sister Sára was married last spring and her and her husband Benjámin both worked in my father’s store as well as Éva and myself. I have always been fairly close to my sisters, especially Éva and Sára, but the bond that Dani and I share is one that can only exist between brothers, even if we are only cousins. When Dani started school I was the one that took care of the boy that was taking his lunch, when I got into a bit of trouble with some older boys in an alley one afternoon, Dani was the one running down the alley like a crazed bear and jumping on the bigger boy’s back, knocking him to the ground and giving me a chance to fight back. We were constantly getting into mischief but we always had each other’s back and would do anything for each other.

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). 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. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.