Inspired by Actual Events

Hello lovelies,

This week I am still at a loss as I wait for my computer to be fixed. You see my husband is a total computer nerd, but in an, “I also like body building” kind of way. So he looks good while fixing computers and playing PC games ūüėČ
So the good news is, he can totally fix my laptop AND save my data, but the down side is him being able to find time to fix it for me. So until then, I’m limited to using the WordPress app on my phone.

I guess this has sort of been a blessing in disguise, as I found some short stories I wrote on the MS Office app on my phone.

After a little editing (on a much smaller screen, mind you), I’m ready to share one of these short stories with you all. This story was inspired by actual events, but of course, is still a work of fiction.

Enjoy,
KK

New Friends…

I pulled up next to the obnoxiously orange ford ute at the traffic lights and waved excitedly at the male occupant.

He waved back, looking a little confused, but as I began to wind down my window, he followed suit.

“Oh my gosh! Fancy seeing you here! Small world hey?! It’s so nice to see you again so soon.” I said with over-the-top excitement in my voice, my hands flapping around excitedly.

“Um yea… Fancy that hey..” He replied with uncertainty.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” I said in mock shock.

“No, I’m sorry I don’t.” He said with an apologetic shrug.

“Well I suppose I can forgive you.” I said with a silly girly giggle. “After all we only met for a moment, but I certainly remember you.” I said with a wink.

He looked at me questioningly, so I continued to enlighten him about our previous chance meeting.
“You’re the asshole that aggressively overtook me for doing the speed limit, barely missing the front of my car.” I said, still with a ridiculously sweet smile on my face. “And now we meet again, just seconds later at the next set of lights! Definitely a small world!”

I loved it when the dawn of realization formed on his face, as he suddenly figured out what was going on.

“Oh, green light!” I said as I waved and quickly pulled away from the intersection. I couldn’t help but laugh at leaving him behind looking utterly stupefied and embarrassed as I watched him struggle with the car’s gears in my rear view mirror.

Moral of the story: Driving like an asshole doesn’t get you very far, on the road or in life.

 

 

© 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

Raw and Real or Perfectly Polished?

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Image courtesy of Flickr CC user zapdelight

Hello Lovelies,

Everyday life has been getting in the way of my writing lately and it has been a while since I last posted, but I’m here now and hope to give you a little insight into my thoughts and views when it comes to my own writing.

You might have noticed that quite often, my blog posts are not perfectly polished, they contains typos, grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. There is a reason for this.

You see, my posts are meant to provide an insight into the inner workings of this writer’s mind. To give you all a glimpse of what I am thinking and feeling on the particular day/topic I am writing on. I want these posts to be real and sometimes quite raw in emotion and opinion, and I believe this is something which can be lost in the editing process. There is such a thing, in my opinion, as too much editing, especially when it comes to an opinion piece. Through the editing process we can start to censor ourselves as we strive towards the point of polished perfection.

Now, some of you might think that there’s no excuse for poor grammar or silly typos in a published piece of writing, and yes, that might be true. However this is the choice I have made in order to keep these posts as real as possible. I do, of course, read through my posts before hitting the ‘publish’ button, but I do not overly-edit them and a simple read-through is not going to catch all of those nasty little typos.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t or won’t edit my manuscript or that I fear that editing it will diminish the realness of the characters I have created, definitely not. Writing blog posts and writing a novel are two completely different things. When blogging I am trying to capture the sometimes chaotic and confused reality of a writer, who still has a day job and supports a family. The feelings, actions, thoughts etc. are already there and I am trying to provide my audience with a snapshot of my reality. However, when writing a novel, the feelings, actions and thoughts do not preexist. I, as the writer, am creating these and through a careful editing process, the world of these characters is further enhanced not diminished.

So there you have it.

My aim is that my blog posts are real and raw, with the occasional (OK, sometimes more than occasional) typo and error, but this is my preference, rather than having a perfectly polished, but void of “realness” post.

My manuscripts, on the other hand, will be getting a completely different treatment though.

So write, read, edit, whatever, but do it your way.

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

¬© Katherine A. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Ghoulish Yet Graceful

Hello Lovelies,

I don’t know if I’m noticing it more since returning to Sydney or that Sydney has seen an increase in bat numbers, but there definitely seems to be a lot of bats around lately. They’re huge too! When I went to take the bins out the other night one was flying¬†so low that I could feel the wind from its wings and the wing span was enormous!

I know the bat wasn’t trying to hurt me (I hope), but it scared the crap out of me! Besides the fact that they are creepy-looking, bats carry disease and are the things of horror movies. Not to mention that bat crap is like acid mixed with paint-thinners and tar and is an absolute bastard to wash off any surface, even if you catch it early before the sun bakes it!

On the other hand though, have you ever watched a bat in flight? When curled up, the black flying fox doesn’t look very big, but their beady little eyes are super creepy. When in flight though, the larger ones can have a wingspan of up to 1 metre. They glide through the air with ease and land in the trees, grabbing hold with their feet with extreme accuracy. There’s something almost graceful about them in flight, you become mesmerised by them and almost forget about the ghoulish nature of them as depicted in horror.

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Image from Flickr CC user James Niland

So it seems that there’s more than one side to a bat, there’s the creepy, ghoulish nature that we’ve been conditioned to believe in fiction and society (and the fact that they can carry disease, doesn’t help), but then there’s the other side, the graceful image of a bat in flight and the startling accuracy of their landings.

Now, I haven’t decided whether bats deserve their ghoulish reputation or not, however I think that every creature, human and animal, has many different sides. This needs to be the same with the characters we create, they need to have more than one side to them, they need to be multi-faceted, they need to be real.

To do this, we need to consider who they are with their loved ones and how they are different with others. We need to figure out what drives their actions, what image do they put forth in public and so on, we need to decipher the different masks they wear.

Make your characters real, make them be seen in a different light, show your audience each of their different sides and draw your audience into their world.

Enjoy,

KK

 

¬© Katherine A. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Is Love All We Need?

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Image courtesy of Flickr CC http://www.karlocamero.com

“Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”

-Christian (Ewan McGregor), Moulin Rouge

Hello Lovelies,

Some may say that love is all you need, with love anything is possible, that lover conquers all. I wonder though, is it true? Is love really all we need?

“A girl has got to eat… She’ll end up on the street.”

-Satine (Nicole Kidman), Moulin Rouge

Satine makes a very valid point. To survive in this world we need more than love, we need a home, food, clothing and everything else. However, if you love someone and they love you, whether it be a husband, wife, partner, parent, child… whatever… wouldn’t you make sure that they are cared for in every way possible, because that’s what you do for someone you love, isn’t it?

So back to my original question, is love all we need?

Love is a lot of things, it can be expressed in many different ways but can love in itself give us everything we need?

Let’s just take a moment to define what love is. Can you define love?

It’s not easy is it. To put feelings into words, to describe exactly what love is.

Even if it were, your definition would likely be different to others. From mother to child, from child to father, even from one wife to another their definition of love would not be exactly the same.

I think love is so difficult to define in words because love is better expressed through actions, rather than just words. Of course it is nice to hear the words, “I love you” but remember what they say?

Actions speak louder than words.

So, again back to the question at hand.

Is love all we need?

I’m going to say yes, because love is not in the words, it’s in the actions.

So, yes. Love IS all we need, because when you love someone you do everything in your power to give them all that they need.

Now get out there and SHOW those you love, exactly how much you love them.

Because in the end, Love is all you need.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

¬© Katherine A. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What’s in a Name?

Hello Lovelies,

The good news this week is that I have still been working on J√≥zsef 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. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs, 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 J√≥zsef 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 J√≥zsef 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 J√≥zsef 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. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs 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 J√≥zsef 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. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

A Visit from St. Nicholas

Hello Lovelies,

Apparently ‘Tis the season to be merry and Jolly Old St. Nicholas will soon be making his much anticipated appearance. So I’d thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect a little and even provide you all with some totally useless but interesting facts about perhaps one of the English speaking world’s most famous poems, “The Night Before Christmas” as my little gift to you.

“The Night Before Christmas” was first published anonymously in 1823 and was titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas. It wasn’t until over a decade later, in 1837 that Clement Clarke Moore was attributed with authorship of the poem. However, the authorship is still an ongoing debate amongst scholars, with some claiming there is evidence to suggest that the poem was written by Major Henry Livingstone Jr. This is an interesting debate, especially when you consider that authorship was attributed to Clement Clarke Moore fourteen years after it was originally published and nine years after the death of Henry Livingstone and it wasn’t until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore acknowledged authorship by including it in his own book of poems. Also, Wikipedia cites more recent analysis of the poem stating,

In 2016, the matter was further discussed by MacDonald P. Jackson, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Auckland, a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an expert in authorship attribution using statistical techniques. He evaluated every argument using modern computational stylistics, including one never used before – statistical analysis of phonemes – and found in every test that Livingston was the more likely author.

(Read more on Wikipedia here and here).

Nowadays though, most people recognise the poem from it’s opening line, “‘Twas the night before Christmas…” which is where it’s current title is derived from, without giving thought to the author, which is a bit of a shame. However, what the imagery provided by the poem captures people’s imaginations, young and old, evoking the magic of Christmas even to this day.

Also, the names of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer are derived from the poem. Now commonly written as¬†Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen,¬†the names over the years (and in different publications of the poem) have differed slight in spelling. For example,¬†Donner¬†and¬†Blitzen¬†have also been written as Donder and Dunder¬†(derived from “thunder” in German and Dutch) and¬†Blixem¬†and¬†Blixen¬†(derived from “lightning”). Interesting but useless information, right!

Now to move on to something different… In the lead up to Christmas, I have been listening to the Pentatonix Christmas album, “That’s Christmas to me.” The title track of this album is one of my absolute favourites and is an original Pentatonix song, which you can listen to here.¬†I think my love of Pentatonix has rubbed off onto my children, as they can name all five members by only listening to them sing and describe pitch in relation to the vocal range of the members. Anyway, when listening to the words of this song, I was thinking what a great children’s book the lyrics would make, looking at the true meaning of Christmas. The song itself even prompted my children to discuss what Christmas really is. They’ve decided it’s not about presents even though they’re really nice), it’s not even about the food (although I really do like the food, perhaps a little too much according to my waist), they’ve decided it’s about being with the people you love. Maybe that’s just one other person, perhaps it’s a house full of people¬†it doesn’t matter as long as you get to spend your Christmas with someone you care about.

What about those who don’t have someone to spend Christmas with you ask? People like mother-daughter team Cassidy and Linda Strickland of local charity Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands are setting their sights on rectifying that. Their annual “Christmas Day Get Together” provides a, “free lunch on Christmas Day with no strings, no questions and no judgement, for everyone to enjoy !!” (quoted from the HHH website, click here for more information).

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, take the opportunity to spend it with your loved ones or perhaps to help those who would normally spend the holiday alone.

And don’t forget to read “The Night Before Christmas”/”A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clare Moore/Henry Livingstone Jr. Whatever the title, whoever the author just remember that the magic that is Christmas is all around, all you need to do is believe.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

¬© Katherine A. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Angry Adolescent

Hello Lovelies,

I know I promised you this post a week ago, but life, work and writing Christmas stories for my kids got in the way of blogging!

Here I am now though and I’m determined to share with you all, “something I prepared earlier.”

Something that’s always fun and interesting, even sometimes a little embarrassing and cringe-worthy is some of the items you come across when unpacking your house. The trip down memory lane is always full of mixed emotions and on this occasion I’ve come to this conclusion: I was an angry, moody a**hole adolescent.

I know what you’re thinking, we all go through the stage when we think are parents are jerks and can’t wait for the day when we’re old enough to do whatever we want. We envision adulthood as a time when we set our own bedtime, stay out as late as we want and eat whatever we want and if we don’t feel like cleaning our rooms, well we just bloody won’t!

You see, I found my old diary, you know the one¬†where you write down all your angry and frustrated thoughts¬†as a teenager every time you got pi$$ed off with your parents? Yea…. that one…

That particular diary made for a very interesting read, I must say! Every time¬†I experienced some heightened emotion (anger, frustration, happiness, lust, confusion, uncertainty) I seemed to have written in my diary. Of course I’m not going to directly share anything from it, as I still consider them to be the private thoughts of my adolescent self, but besides looking back and thinking how much of a dingbat I was and how easy I had things back then, I also see how unsure and insecure I was.

I wanted to be treated as an adult and was frustrated if I wasn’t, but I was also unsure of myself and what I wanted. Even now, I often find myself feeling unsure of what my future holds and what direction I should take.

As a teenager our actions are influenced by and clouded with emotion, when we are adults we often attempt to influence our actions with logic and practicality. Neither of these on it’s own should be a basis for how we live our lives, however by blending emotion with logic we may very well stand a better chance of living a happy life.

So myself now as an adult, what is my direction?

My heart and emotion is telling me to write, to create, to explore but my practical and logical side is telling me that the bills aren’t going to stop piling up, just because I want to change my life direction. So, for now at least, I need to find a mixture of the two and I need to keep my day job and fit in writing whenever I can and keep on chasing the dream.

My days as an angry adolescent are not completely history, of course there are times when my emotions cloud my judgement and influence my actions, as they do with us all some times, but I’d like to think that with a bit of life experience behind me now, I am able to stand back and assess the situation better now, but I’m still trying to fine tune how to get the best of both worlds.

Here I am, the shadows of an angry adolescent breaking into the light of day occasionally, still trying to figure out which direction to go.

 

Wish me luck!

 

-KK

 

¬© Katherine A. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

May I…?

Hello Lovelies,

These past couple of weeks I’ve been busy with work and family life, but also busy trying to find my direction in life.

With all of that, I’ve unfortunately had little time (or energy) for writing, even though my mind has been working overtime with all my ponderings.

Now I don’t consider myself to be a “Grammar Nazi”, I often make many mistakes and typos in my writing and even when I speak (I’m blaming the students, I hear how they speak and I think it’s rubbing off on me), but I am, however, able to recognise my mistakes and I do enjoy taking the “mickey” out of friends and family by pointing out their own errors, all in good fun, of course.

Now one particular thing I would like to discuss in this post is “Can I…?” versus “May I….?”

For example, when a student asks permission to go to the bathroom during class time, they will often phrase it as, “Can I please go to the bathroom?” rather than, “May I please go to the bathroom?”

When I am in the mood to confuse them a little, my response is usually, “I don’t know, can you?” when their request is phrased as, “Can I…?” You see, the first example raises questions of a person’s ability to complete the task they are attempting to request. The you of, “Can I..?” is not entirely incorrect and is perfectly acceptable in the English language, but ¬†as I said, it can raise questions of ability.

“May I…?” is in fact a more formal style of request, therefore would not usually be expected from my students in the classroom, but it is fun to mess with their minds every now and then.

For more information about¬†“May I…?” versus “Can I…?” be sure to check out this great post on Grammar Girl

As the post discusses, once upon a time “can” was used when discussing ability and “may” was used in regards to a ¬†request for permission. However these days the two are used rather interchangeably.

Now, moving on to other things…

Even though my writing ¬†of J√≥zsef and Anna’s story has taken a back seat at the moment, I’m currently in the process of writing a¬†You Be the Illustrator! Personalised Children’s Story¬†for each of my children for Christmas. This is one of the many products and services my new business Creative Freedom Freelance Writing Services¬†is offering and I thought by creative one for each of my children, it would not only be a beautifully unique Christmas gift, but also a good way to play around with some ideas to offer clients. Each story will be a personalised children’s Christmas story featuring my children as main characters, as well as incorporating their own likes and interests into the story.

Writing shorter pieces of work is a good way to exercise those writing muscles and to experiment and explore different ways of writing. Whilst I normally write when an idea hits and then follow the characters on their journey, with the personalised children’s stories, there are so many things I need to incorporate into the story and I need to try and make it as seamless as possible, as if the details were meant to be there as part of the story rather than a tokenism of inclusion. To try and achieve this, each story is drafted and written for each specific child and it is not simply adding the details to an already written story template. So this can be a challenge, but definitely makes for a more unique and much better written story, in my opinion.

I’m hoping to get all three stories finished this week and arrange to get them illustrated and bound with some time to spare. So wish me luck, especially considering that Christmas is less than a month away now!

After all that is said and done, it will be time to move on with J√≥zsef and Anna’s story! I can’t wait to connect with them again and figure out the details of the amazingly daunting adventure they are about to set out on.

Until then,

I will no longer question my ability by asking, “Can I be a published writer?” nor will I ask permission by asking, “May I be a published writer?” I’m just going to keep moving forward, I’m going to keep writing and I going to grasp every opportunity with both hands.

Enjoy,

KK

¬© Katherine A. Kov√°cs 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. Kov√°cs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.