A Sense of Accomplishment

Hello Lovelies,

It’s the beginning of yet another month, the year seems to be going by at an astounding speed. Sometimes things seem to be going by so quickly that it’s important to stop and appreciate the things that you’ve enjoyed, seen, heard and accomplished so far.

This month I again feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving a goal. Yes, that’s right! I’ve kicked procrastination’s arse again and met another word-count goal. It was a pretty close call this month, but I was determined to get it done, so what if I left it to the last minute and only went about 20 words over my goal, I still achieved it! And that is something I am definitely proud of.

I was also able to figure out some of the finer details of the more important plot point in József and Anna’s story and I can now see the road we are travelling on and the sights to see, instead of just the destination.

Yes, I am definitely feeling a sense of accomplishment that I intend to hang on to for as long as possible. However, now that I have gotten this far with József and Anna’s story, the more I am beginning to realise that it’s going to take more words than I thought it would to tell their story properly.

When I first set out to write their story, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a novel or perhaps even a novella, all I knew it that I needed to tell their story in order to understand the subsequent stories in the series. I set myself a goal of 80,000 words, which is the length of  a short novel. A goal that seemed so far away but still certainly still doable. I am now at around the 55,000 word mark and I’m not sure if I’m even half-way through their story. This is where the dilemma is, I want to do their story justice, but I don’t want a novel of some gargantuan length that only the most avid readers will consider touching. I want József and Anna’s story to the casual readers and enthusiastic readers alike and wouldn’t want to scare away a potential audience simply because of the length of the novel.

I’ve decided though, that’s a dilemma for another day. For now I will concentrate on simply getting the story out. I will stick to my monthly goals and see where the story takes me. The word-count of a first draft will be very different to that of a final draft and that’s when I will make my decision. For now I will simply revel in my sense of accomplishment and keep on writing!

Keep reading for a little sneak peek from the first draft of An Anguished Heart.

Enjoy,

KK

Our people may now enjoy the freedoms all Hungarians do now, but that didn’t mean that prejudice from certain individuals had completely ceased to exist. There were still many who believed that the people of the Jewish community were second-class citizens, who were no better than the slaves we may have once descended from. Despite the changes in laws, there were many who still believed that the Jewish people in Hungary were not entitled to the freedom and liberty that all citizens of Hungary enjoyed. Many would jump at the chance to openly bring question to the loyalties of the Jewish community and in many ways I think this is why so many young Jews had already enlisted in the army, even perhaps why Dani was drawn in as well, they did not wish to give others the opportunity to question their patriotism or loyalty towards Hungary. Of course I was a proud to be Hungarian and I am proud of my Jewish faith, but I am not about to fight a war that I believe is not ours. Hungary is part of this war because of Austria’s declaration of war, just like many other countries who have now joined this war and those who may become involved soon, it is due to governments and rulers honouring their allegiances and coming to the aide of their allies. It may have began as a war between Austria and Serbia, but each of these countries have many allies and so to, they also go to war, for the sake of honour, loyalty and allegiance.

 

© 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.

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Heat Wave

heat waveflickr micolo j
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Micolo J

Hello Lovelies,

As I sit here melting in what is considered a “heat wave” in Europe (temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius since Wednesday), I begin to think about how weather and weather conditions influence the setting of a scene.

Of course compared to an Australian summer, this summer “heat wave” is actually like a cool spring day, but with no air-conditioning I’m sitting in a puddle of my own sweat which actually does nothing to cool me down. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled in my life, having had air-conditioning in the house since I was seven years old. However when much of the Australian summer consists of days over 40 degrees Celsius, I see air-conditioning as pretty much a necessity rather than the luxury it seems to be here. I guess heating is a necessity in Hungary, to survive the winter but in much of Australia it is the opposite.

I know I shouldn’t complain, it could be worse, but there’s nothing like melting in a pool of your own sweat to put you in a cranky mood. I have found a positive though, I have experienced the “wrath” of summer as my characters would have experienced it in the 1910s.

Small fans were in use during this time for residential purposes, often used in bedrooms, but that was all they had – and all I have at the moment.

I decided to write József’s story, or at least start it, while in Hungary, surrounded by the same (or similar) environment he would have been. Little did I realise just how closely surrounded I would be, despite being decades apart. Yes the world is very different now, I sit her surrounded by technology that never existed during József and Anna’s time, however many things remain the same. The apartment building is from their time, the furniture probably is too and whilst I’m sure the building would have looked quite different all those years ago, I can still sense the spirit of days long gone and catch a glimpse into the way things were.

The external world influences our writing, whether we want it to or not, this is something that cannot be avoided. We can though attempt to ensure that the influence is a positive one by surrounded ourselves with their story and seeking the write inspiration and influence, like myself writing this story in Hungary. Not everyone can go to the actual location and I consider myself to be extremely fortunate on this account, despite the fact that I’m soggy and cranky in this heat.

So now I head off to write about a fellow with a sever hangover and a nauseated pregnant woman on a sweltering summer’s day (both are characters, not myself, I assure you!) and encourage you to immerse yourself in the story, experience it as much as you can and describe it in detail.

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.

On the Brink of War

Hello Lovelies,

When I first started writing this series, I began in the middle (without realising), the setting was Australia in the years when the world was recovering from the Great Depression, leading up to the time when the world was on the brink of what would become the Second World War.

Then I decided I needed to go right back to the beginning and write József and Anna’s story. A lot of this story takes place in a troubled times during World War I, exploring the lead up to the war and the effects that were felt worldwide.

When I first started sharing snippets of my writing a couple of years ago, one of my readers commented that my style of writing and setting reminded them of the TV series, Downton Abbey. As she was a fan of the show, I took it as a great compliment even though I had never before watched an episode.

A couple of days ago, I decided to give Downton Abbey a try, I know I should have been writing, but I was already up to date with Vikings, Game of Thrones and Outlander and needed another series to sink my teeth into. I’m already half way through the second season and I can’t seem to stop! Also, I think I now understand the parallels that my reader made between my writing and Downton Abbey.

Firstly, there’s the historic factor. Downton Abbey is is set in the years leading up to WWI and also during the war (what I’ve seen so far) and even though the piece I had written back then was set in the time leading up to WWII, the events of a country and world on the brink of war remain the same. There will be people who are enthusiastically patriotic, volunteering to fight for King/Queen and country and there are those left behind who pray that their loved ones will not be called up and that the war will end before it really starts.

Secondly, there’s the class factor. Downton Abbey clearly highlights the differences and the lines between the social classes and even though these become blurred during times of war, they are still ever present. Something that also plays a factor in Thomas and Rose’s story.

In my writing, I have needed to research life before war, during and after. Each of these elements play an important role in telling the stories of József and Anna, and Thomas and Rose. Each element is different and plays a different role in setting the scene and telling the story, but each element (before, during and after) has something in common though: those that are left behind.

When the country in on the brink of war, some people are enthusiastically patriotic and are the first to enlist, others are the first to leave before it really begins, but what about those who are left behind?  What of them?

During a war, soldiers are off fighting, battles are being won and lost, but what about those who are left behind? Those who are anxiously waiting on news of their loved ones, hoping that it will only be good news.

After a war, when people are trying to rebuild their lives, when sons, brothers, fathers and other loved ones fail to return home or those who return as a shadow of their former selves. What about those who are left behind? Those who are left to pick up the pieces. Those who are left trying to figure out how to go on. Those just trying to figure out how to live again with the echo of war, of bombs and bullets and death and destruction constantly ravaging their mind.

We must continue to look back in order to remember the atrocities in our past. Even historical fiction can bring light to this.

WWII was the deadliest war in modern history, you think we would have learnt from this and WWI, yet their is still wars being fought in the world. Whether you believe these wars to be justified or not is not something I wish for you to answer.

What I hope though is that you take a moment to remember those who are left behind.

-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.

 

Older and Wiser?

Hello Lovelies,

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when I can’t help myself from taking a little more notice and taking stock of how many new grey hairs the past year has given me (quite a few this time, unfortunately), how many wrinkles I now have (quite a few of those too) and how many extra “jiggly bits” I now have (there’s plenty of those too!).

Yup, that’s right, it’s that time of year again when I am almost another year older. The time of year when I cease to be a 31 year old and become a 32 year old.

Monday I’ll go to sleep, being 31 and then BOOM! I’ll wake up on Tuesday as a 32 year old!

I know I don’t age an entire year in  one night, but I can’t help but over-analyse my appearance and start to think to myself, “Geez, I’m getting old!” Yes, I know you’re all telling me that in the whole scheme of things 32 isn’t old at all, but it is definitely older and closer to 40 and 50 and 60 than 31 is.

Since last year I’ve become fatter, wrinklier and have more grey hairs, which are especially noticeable now because I haven’t been able to get my hair coloured since July last year. I actually pulled out three super thick ones this morning that were sticking out awkwardly, only to brush my hair and see that there are quite a few more hiding underneath. So I chose to strategically position my fringe instead of giving myself a bald spot.

I’m definitely older in appearance, but am I older in mind and am I any wiser? Perhaps I am, my choice of keeping my grey hairs instead of creating a bald spot was quite a wise decision I think,so I guess that’s a start.

A lot of things have definitely happened over this past year and a lot of things have changed. These changes have brought about a different outlook on life, I definitely have a different perspective on many things now. Do these changes in perspective make me wiser? Perhaps in some ways they do.

When I think of where I was with my writing a year ago and how much I have grown over this past year as a writer, I think that might be another indication of perhaps becoming a little wiser.

According to Merriam-Webster the word wise can be defined as:

  • having or showing wisdom or knowledge usually from learning or experiencing many things

In considering this simple definition, I suppose I could say that I am a lot wiser than I was one year ago. I have definitely learnt and experienced many things over the past year, some good, some not so good, but either way I always took something from these experiences.

I have learnt the hard way that people are not always as they seem. This may be something that seems quite obvious and almost synonymous with the saying, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but it can be a hard lesson to learn especially when instead of discovering something or someone is better, kinder or nicer than they appear, that they are in fact the complete opposite. That experience has made me wiser and aware of the games some people play, this was not a nice lesson to learn but a valuable one nonetheless.

I have learnt that instead of trying to please all those around you, it is better to start off with yourself and the others will follow. If you waste all your time and energy trying to please everyone else, you often end up being miserable yourself. If you first take care of yourself and you family, then those who are worth your time and effort will follow. Sounds simple, but it’s not always easy to do.

Yes, I have learnt many valuable lessons over this past year, some of those lessons were difficult and some of them were welcomed,  so I suppose yes, I am wiser than I was one year ago.

Am I older though, besides physically older?

Well, I still enjoy watching cartoons and playing games, I usually laugh first and ask questions later when someone trips or falls (as long as it’s nothing serious) and I may occasionally like to skip through the park like an idiot, smiling like a loon that escaped from some sort of padded room.

My conclusion? I would say I am older in mind, but grasping onto the threads of childhood and immaturity in an attempt to remain young at heart.

And there’s nothing wrong with that!

So yes, I am wiser I suppose.

Yes, I am older, wrinklier, fatter and have more grey hairs, but who cares!

I am going to try my best to be older and wiser (?) and try less to take stock each time I become another year older and I’ll still keep on clinging to those final strands of childhood to stay young at heart.

One of my favourite internet, Facebook, blogging people is Constance Hall. I love her because she doesn’t mince her words, she’s brutally honest about motherhood and life in general and she does it with hilarious flair. I also love the fact that she refers to her fellow mums and women as Queens! Admit it, it makes you feel pretty awesome being referred to as a Queen, right!

When I began “taking stock” I came across a Facebook post of hers that summed it all up perfectly:

constance hall screen shot
Screenshot taken from Constance Hall’s Facebook Page www.facebook.com/Constance-Hall-1019711431407015/. Copyright of Constance Hall.

So when Tuesday rolls around, instead of thinking of much fatter, wrinklier and more grey I am, I’m going to tell everyone that I’m older and wiser and tell them how f***ing brilliant I am, even if they think I’m nuts! Maybe they’ll believe me, maybe they won’t, maybe they already knew all that and I was the last one to arrive at the “I’m f***ing brilliant” party.

Whatever it is, Happy Birthday to an older, wiser, fatter, wrinklier, more grey but F***ING BRILLIANT me!

Thanks for the reminder Queen Constance!

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.

 

Withholding Information

“Every book contains a secret – even the writer doesn’t always know what it is.”
– Carla H. Krueger

Hello Lovelies,

After meeting my goal for the month of May, I’ve been on a roll and have even started working on this month’s word-count goal! I’ll probably start to procrastinate soon though and leave the rest until the last minute again, but at least I am actually meeting my goal each month, so get off my back!

Anyway, while I was searching for some inspiration for this week’s blog post, I came across the quote that is at the top of this post and it exactly described what I have been experiencing  lately in my current WIP, An Anguished Heart.

A few weeks ago I wrote the post, I Already Know What Will Happen discussing that, for the most part, I know how the story progresses and how it ends. However, no matter how detailed your plan might be or how sure you are of the details,the characters are constantly surprising you, letting you in on their secrets as the story progresses. Often, and more so lately, I will be writing a particular scene that I have already planned out in my mind (that’s where most of my planning is done, I always have good intentions of writing down a plan but it never really eventuates), but when I’m finished, or in the process of, writing it, I am completely surprised and find myself thinking, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!”

Some people, perhaps non-writers, will question this. They will wonder how on earth we, the ones who are supposed to be telling the stories, can be surprised by our own writing. They want to know why we didn’t know all the secrets of our characters and of their stories.

You see though, in their questions and wonderings, they have already provided an answer. We, the writers, are the ones telling the stories, our characters’ stories. We know the direction the story is heading (most of the time anyway) but it is the details that we discover along the way, the secrets, the seemingly insignificant things that completely alter the sequence of events that you thought you already planned.

Which leads me to share another one of my favourite quotes,

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
― E.L. Doctorow

It’s true, no matter how silly some people might think it sounds, it is not uncommon for the writer to be surprised by the stories they write. Just like if we were driving in the fog at night, we know roughly where the destination is, just like as a writer, we know where the story is roughly heading. However, when it comes to the details, we can only see as far as the “headlights” allow, but you definitely can “make the whole trip that way”, without a doubt.

So I will continue to write, I will continue to be surprised by my stories, the details that are exposed along the way, the secrets that are revealed as I journey towards my destination. Perhaps one day, there will be readers that will be just as (if not more) surprised as I am by the secrets of my characters and the stories that they share.

 

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.