What’s in a Name?

Hello Lovelies,

The good news this week is that I have still been working on József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”. I may not have actually added any words to the manuscript in the last week, but I have been busy researching, it’s not procrastination this time, I swear!

Sometimes when a new character comes up in the story and I don’t yet have a name for them, I refer to them as **(character description)** in the manuscript so when I go back through, it’s obvious that I need to place a name in there, for example ***(soldier name and rank)** is one that has popped up a couple of times. This is usually done when I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop writing to go search for appropriate names for the character.

This is fine when a character first appears or is just mentioned one or two times, however it does become a bit of a problem with recurring characters. Without a name, it becomes increasingly difficult to relate to that character, no matter how minor they might be, but naming a character is often harder than naming your own children!

This is where I am now, Anna’s lady’s maid has been present in quite a number of chapters now and will be there for quite a few more, yet I’m still referring to her as **(maid’s name)**. It was fine in the beginning when she was first mentioned, but now she is about to play a more prevalent role in moving the story along, therefore she most definitely needs a name.

Some might feel that the name doesn’t matter that much, as long as it fits with the story, I don’t feel the same way. When naming a character I need to feel a connection with the name, not only does it need to be fitting for the time period, culture etc. of the story, but I also need to feel that it is the right name for the character as in my mind I already know them. Ever met someone and think that their name doesn’t really suit them? I sometimes feel that about my own name but the thing is, our parents usually chose our names before we were born, before they really knew us. They chose something they liked, something they thought would suit the child they imagined. I already know my characters and that’s why it is often harder to name a character than it is to name your own child.

Even though I claim to ‘know’ my characters, their identity is not fully formed until I give them a name, so in taking that into consideration, I also need to consider where the character will go in the story, how they will develop. If they are an outwardly strong character or have an inner strength that they don’t even know they possess, their name too needs to reflect this. Of course the names are chosen based on my own perceptions of strength etc. but at the end of the day, I need to feel the name fits in order for the character to progress. Some of you might remember a previous manuscript I was working on (which will actually be a later book in the same series as ‘An Anguished Heart’), where the main characters were originally called Thomas and Maggie. I couldn’t really connect with the character of Maggie and I realised it was because her name wasn’t right, this is when Maggie became Rose.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

– ‘Juliet’ in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Now I need a name, not just any name though. It has to be a traditional Austrian name in use in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Of course it must be a female name, but one that conveys youth and femininity but also a hidden strength. Not a name like Helga or Hilde, to me those names bring forth images of shield maidens, showing an outward strength not a deeply hidden one.

The right name is out there, but I haven’t found it yet and I can’t go on calling her **(maid’s name)**. For some reason, I have a feeling her name starts with ‘A’ or ‘E’, so I guess that will be my starting point.

Wish me luck!

-KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

And So It Returns…

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Image copyright Katherine A. Kovács, The Writer Within

Hello Lovelies,

I think it’s obvious to those of you who follow this blog, that since returning to Australia I’ve struggled to get into the right (or ‘write’) frame of mind to continue with József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”. First, there was the excuses. I had unpacking to do, the “real world” was getting in my way, I even found myself tidying the house rather than clicking to open the file on the computer.

The characters though, were constantly on my mind. I planned and I pondered the fate of my characters, I even went to The Rocks in Sydney to chase a little inspiration, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to actually sit down at the computer and type. I did other forms of writing in the meantime, this blog, some poetry even some short stories and children’s stories, but not one extra word was added to the word-count of “An Anguished Heart”.

I was lost and having trouble truly embracing the writer within. Perhaps I was a little scared. Perhaps it was that the last time I worked on József and Anna’s story, it was when I was in Budapest, away from the real world, away from the day-to-day constraints of reality. It was easier then, if I accidentally stayed up writing until 3 a.m, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I didn’t have to get up for work or to take children to school, I didn’t really have to do anything. In my mind I was stuck, I didn’t know how I would continue to work on my writing when I was worrying about staying up too late or making sure the kids lunches were ready for the next day. I just had to find a way to adapt and learn how to  balance writing with reality, I’d done it before we left for Budapest, I just had to figure out how to do it again.

And now… I think I’ve done it. I’ve broken the self-made barrier in my mind and I’ve made the first steps to embracing the writer within again. The last few days I’ve deleted around 3,000 words from my manuscript, it was crap, I revealed too much, too soon. I’ve  since replaced those 3,000 words though, plus more. I’ve researched, I’ve planned, I’ve taken notes and I’ve even figured out some later plot points and logistics of some of the upcoming events in the story. I’m problem solving the details.

I feel positive and energized, I’m telling myself, “That’s it, you can do this!” and I’m actually starting to believe it again.

Yes, it’s returned. The Writer Within is back! Now it’s time to embrace it!

Below is an excerpt of what I’ve been working on, it’s an excerpt where József is reflecting on Hungary’s involvement in the First World War. It is of course a first draft so it is extremely rough around the edges, but it’s been so long since I shared anything with you all.

So thanks for sticking around and as always…

Enjoy,

KK

 

It is not that the men in our family were cowards or disloyal to their country. However this war was not ours, it was a war forced upon the Hungarian people and by many other countries, as a result of the alliances formed over the years.

No, it was not a question of bravery of loyalty, but a question of right and wrong.

Was it right to go and fight a war that was not ours, not our country’s?

Was it right to take innocent lives for such a war?

 Was it right to risk losing our own lives in the process, leaving our wives as widows, our children without a father and our mothers without their sons?

No, I don’t believe it is.

(Excerpt from “An Anguished Heart”)

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

 

Meanwhile in Australia

Hello Lovelies,

While Hungary is struggling through record low temperatures and the river Danube is turning into slabs of ice, here is Sydney we have been sweltering through the last few days.

When I was in Budapest, I wanted nothing more than to experience a winter snowfall, I may have gotten my wish, but it was only a small amount of snow compared to the amount they have now and the amount they have every other winter I’m not int he country.

Budapest, I thought we had something special and then you betray me like this.

I have said before that if I had to choose between summer or winter, winter would always win hands-down. I know the winter that Hungary is experiencing at the moment is brutal compared to what I experienced when we were there a year ago, but I think I would still choose it over the “hottest January night on record”.

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This was at 6 pm yesterday. The temperature went up another degree after this photo was taken! By the way, before anyone complains about using my phone whilst driving, I wasn’t the one taking the photo.

All I can say, is thank goodness for air-conditioning! In Hungary air-conditioning is considered a luxury, but heating is essential. In most parts of Australia, it is the exact opposite.

I know these days people aren’t as “tough” as they used to be. Years ago people sweltered through the Australian summer. My parents didn’t get an air-con when I was a kid until I was almost seven in the early 90s and people survive without it now too. I’m sure people have come up with plenty of creative ways to stay cool in the heat of summer throughout the times and it got me thinking of what it would have been like for my characters József and Anna, leaving the climate of Budapest behind, with its chilly winters and mild summers and arriving in the sweltering summer heat of Australia.

What would they have done to cope with the heat? Desk fans were in existence during this time period, but it wouldn’t be something they would be able to buy or have access to immediately upon their arrival.

Having grown up in Australia, I found the summer weather in Budapest to be quite mild, especially when comparing it to the Australian summers I am accustomed to. Their definition of a heatwave is very different to our own. In Budapest you won’t end up with third-degree burns from crossing the road on a summer’s day in bare feet.

For people coming from Budapest to Australia though, I would imagine they would find the heat even more unbearable than we do. Without modern conveniences though, how would they even cope? How about when you’re expected to wear a corset, bodice, full skirt and stockings? Or trousers and a shirt? Would you cope? I know I sure as heck wouldn’t.

These are some of the themes I’ll be exploring int he next couple of weeks, with the current heatwave for comparison.

So, what are some of the creative ways you’ve stayed cool during a heatwave? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Stay cool (in temperature)

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

 

 

Always Greener?

Hello Lovelies,

Lately I’ve been re-watching the Australia TV series, “Always Greener”. It was made in the early 2000s, if I remember correctly and was sadly cancelled after only two seasons. I know what you’re thinking, I should be doing some substantial writing instead of binge-watching TV series on Telstra TV, but well…. I have no excuse really, but I will do some substantial writing soon, the self-guilt is getting to be too much. Anyway, I loved watching “Always Greener” during its original run and watching it again now is bringing back so many memories of my teenage years. In particular this one,

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This particular scene is where fourteen year old Kim is venting her frustration at her parents who, “just don’t understand”, whilst that is totally relatable for my teenage self, that’s not the reason I took a photo of my TV in excitement. I took this picture for a much more important reason… I totally had the same poster of David Boreanaz on my wall as a teen! This was before “Bones” when teenage girls lusted after David Boreanaz because he played the brooding, swoon-worthy, vampire with a soul, Angel (or Angelus, as any true fan knew that was his real name)…*sigh*

Now, besides lusting after my teenage crushes (for the record, David Boreanaz is still totally hot in my honest opinion), watching “Always Greener” also got me thinking.

I know, everything gets me thinking, welcome to my brain!

The phrase, “always greener” comes from the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. This saying highlights our human tendency to never be satisfied with our current situation and that others seem to have it better. Hence the idiom of coveting the grass on the other side of the fence as being greener than your own. Often, when we finally have the “greener grass” we coveted, we realise that we actually had it good in the first place and what we’ve left behind is what we really wanted.

Now I’d like to take a different perspective, what if the “greener grass” was the things we worked towards, the things in life we wanted and not because we wanted what everyone else had and we didn’t, but because it was what we wanted in life for ourselves.

Am I even making sense? I’m not sure anymore, but stay with me.

Each of us needs to find our “always greener” something to strive for to better ourselves, better our lives etc. Not something to strive for because someone else has it, but to strive for it because it’s what we want, because it’s our dream.

My aim this year is to figure out exactly what my “greener” is and to work towards it.

It is human nature to long for greener pastures, but it should be because it is for us, our family, because it is what we truly want and need, not because we want what someone else has, that’s when it backfires and we realise what we left behind was what we really wanted. That was a long sentence, but hopefully you get my point.

Look inside yourself to  find your “greener”, not over the fence. Then work towards it with everything you have.

Let’s make 2017 the year for each of us finding our “always greener”, perhaps “The Year of Chasing Dreams”.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.