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.

 

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Some Things Cannot be Unsaid

thinking flickr withbeautiful
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user withbeautiful

Hello Lovelies,

Sometimes we say things without thinking. Sometimes the things that we say are of little or no consequence, so are neglect of the thought process is not of a concern. Other times though, we live to regret the things that we say without thought and the unfortunate ripple of consequences that follow, changing our lives forever.

Sometimes we don’t notice the ripples until much later. The ripples reaching out further and further until months or perhaps even years later, something we said comes back and bites us in the arse.

I’ve had a few of those moments in life, unfortunately, when something I have said, perhaps in jest or in frustration, has resurfaced to give that metaphorical arse bite. Fortunately though, I’ve never said something that would cause such a consequence, that I would never recover from (At least I hope I haven’t!).

Other times we might say things in anger or frustration that hurt others, this may not change our own lives directly, but the relationship with the other person will be altered forever. These are  when we need to remember that some things cannot be unsaid, once the words leave our lips, we cannot take them back. We might apologise, we might say that we didn’t really mean what we said, we may try to forget it ever happened, but no amount of apologies will take those words back.

Sometimes our words change our relationships with others. Sometimes our words change the direction our lives take. Sometimes our words can have such dire consequences, that there is no hope of coming out the other side.

This is the dilemma that one of my secondary characters is currently faced with. Some things were said in frustration after one (or ten) too many drinks. At first it seems as though the consequences are limited to a terrible hangover and a lot of embarrassment, but then the ripples are revealed and his life and that of his entire family are sent into turmoil. Their world will never be the same again, because of some words that were said in drunken frustration. This is fiction, yes, but this type of thing (perhaps not as extreme) does happen.

Words can change lives, make sure it is for the better because

Some thing cannot be unsaid.

Enjoy,

KK

 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to have a look at the archives or at any other pages on the blog by clicking on the menu option. Also you can follow The Writer Within by clicking to follow or subscribe with your email address to receive my posts via email so you never miss out.

Please check out my latest page addition Mother-Daughter Poetry to have a read of some poems that my 8 year old daughter wrote with a little editing and guidance from yours truly.

© 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.

I Already Know What Will Happen

writing flickr CC OuadiO
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user OuadiO

 

Hello Lovelies,

Up until last night, I had no idea what this week’s post was going to be about. I knew I wanted to get back to my WIP again, but have sort of shied away from it a little since getting over those rather heart-wrenching scenes I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I was speaking to a fellow writer and long-time friend about the lack of progress in my writing lately.

This is what came out of that discussion, we are both suffering from minimalwordcountitis (I may have made up that diagnosis) but for different reasons, we are both equally frustrated because in our minds, we already know what will happen. That is, we know how the story starts, we know how it ends and everything in between.

You see, whilst our characters stories never really end (read about why here), we still know the plot of the book. I know the path that the characters take, I have even seen the scenes played out in my mind many times, some changes might be made as the story and the characters develop of course, but in a nutshell, I already know what will happen.

That’s why it’s so frustrating when the words don’t seem to be coming, it’s all there in your head the characters have a life of their own and they show you their story. That’s the easy part, the part when you’re the audience, but it’s a little more difficult to bring the characters to life on the page, finding the right words to convey what they think, feel, see and experience.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

-Jack Kerouac

So this is where I am, I have twenty days left to meet this month’s goal of 8,000 words and I haven’t even written one. I need to get back into it and stop shying away from it. Writing isn’t easy, I never thought it would be, and even though I procrastinate constantly I am the type of person who likes to finish what I start. So I will finish this story, I will meet the word count and I will give my characters a voice, not just because I promised myself that I would or because I’m stubborn (although that helps) but because I already know what will happen and there’s no point in leaving a story trapped inside my mind when I can share it.

Plus, I don’t think my characters would shut up if I neglected them for any longer. They would slowly drive me mad playing their story over and over again!

So, if I already know what will happen, I better get to work and bring them to life through words.

Wish me luck!

-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.

Please, Just Let Me Sleep!

Hello Lovelies,

My apologies for this week’s post being a day late, but I was quite busy starting and finishing a 3,000 word paper titled, “Differentiation and Personalised Learning in Primary Education –Theories, Rationale and Practices for the Promotion of Inclusive Teaching,” sounds riveting I know! The good news is I managed the get the paper written in record time and also was finished at a reasonable hour. The downside is I’m not quite sure if what I was writing about is quite enough for a passing grade (fingers crossed it is!) and also despite being finished at quite a reasonable hour (around 9:30 last night) I was actually unable to sleep until almost 2am because my characters that I have been neglecting for so long refused to let me sleep!

You see, since I made the conscious decision to become sidetracked from Lonely Hearts and decided that I needed to write József’s story if I am to truly understand Thomas and Rose’s story, I actually havent had a spare minute to even consider writing, well besides writing that riveting piece of academic writing that is! It seems though that last night, my characters had simply had enough of me neglecting them and the words of József’s story began to fill my mind, effectively preventing me from getting much sleep. At the moment József’s story isn’t 100% planned out, whilst I know roughly what his story is, I do not know the finer details of it yet. However, this does not stop József’s words filling my mind in fragments of his speech, thoughts and so on.

So as a reward, I have a little piece of what József insisted I write down last night before allowing me a few hours of sleep. Remember this is only just notes and fragments, a very rough drafted piece and is in no way finished or complete, so be kind.

Enjoy,

KK

My name is József István Szabó.

I know what and who I am and I know what and who I am not.

I am a simple man.

I am a humble tailor.

I am a man who loves and cares for his wife.

I am Hungarian.

I am a Jew.

I am not a soldier.

I am not a man of war.

I cannot and will not take a life.

It is not my place to choose who lives and who dies; I am not God.

This is why I must leave this place, my home and my people. 

This is why I must go far away, before I am forced to become someone I am not. 

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More Than Just Pleasantville

Hello Lovelies,

Last night I was watching the movie Pleasantville and it got me thinking about the importance of conveying emotions within each of our characters. Now of course this is not something new to me, but rather something that was reinforced by the watching of the movie.

In case you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a quick rundown of the plot. Basically, teenage siblings from the modern day, David and Jennifer, are transported into the 1950s television world of ‘Pleasantville’ into the lives of Bud and Mary Sue, where everything is well…. pleasant; pleasant weather, pleasant people with nothing but pleasant feelings doing pretty much the same thing day in and day out. The TV show that is depicted in the movie, is in black and white, so naturally when the two main characters are transported into that world, becoming the Pleasantville characters of Bud and Mary Sue, they also are in black and white.

 

Content of this clip remains the property of Warner Bros Studios

However, things start to change in the TV land of Pleasantville, as people begin to experience other things besides ‘pleasant’, the world starts to slowly fill with colour, one person, one flower, one door at a time.

There are many lessons to be learnt from the movie Pleasantville (such as those suggested here) however something which I took out of this movie was the importance of self-discovery and self-acceptance, allowing for the experience of all emotions.

But see? That’s just the point! It can’t stop at once, because it’s in you, and you can’t stop something that’s inside you. -Bud/David, Pleasantville

Sometimes, the world isn’t just pleasant. Sometimes it’s more, it can be amazing, exciting and exhilarating and sometimes is not pleasant at all it can be sad, lonely, dark and painful. The important thing though is that we allow ourselves to experience the world in all of it’s technicolor glory! Allow ourselves to feel happy, sad, excited, depressed, ecstatic, angry or even down right pissed off! The point is, not only is it important for our own lives to allow ourselves to experience all of these emotions when appropriate, it is also an important part of character development to create characters that experience a world that is more than just Pleasantville. In order to develop our characters we need to consider Bud’s words from the quote above and find out exactly what is it inside our characters that can’t be stopped? What is their emotional response to each complication in the plot? (Even the smallest complication that seems insignificant). We need to consider their life experiences and things that have shaped the person they are in the story we are trying to tell. Their background and history may not be important to the story, but it is something that is important for the writer in the development of each character.

Enjoy you week,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Creature of Habit

Hello Lovelies,
I’ve had barely any time for writing this week, it’s been another one of those crazy weeks! However, even though I haven’t had time to sit down and actually write, my brain does not have an off switch. So I have been doing a fair amount of character analysis, in my head!

I’ve been starting to think about my characters habits, the little things they do that make them real, that bring them to life.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Rose is a hair adjuster- compulsively tucking stray hair behind her ear whenever she is nervous or unsure. While Thomas is both a smirker and brow creaser. If he find something interesting or amusing he will smirk, ever so slightly, but if something frustrates, upsets or irritates him, he will crease his brow. These are often unintentional actions, providing an insight into each of the characters thoughts and feelings.

By developing these character traits or habits, not only can you develop an understanding between your main characters, but also between the reader and your characters. I’ve written this time and time again and whilst I admit I am not a professional writer, I cannot stress enough the importance of creating characters that reach out from the pages and with your readers. If you are able to create that connection and tell a good story, it almost doesn’t matter whether your writing is grammatically perfect in every way (although too many errors will of course form a distraction). Yet if the connection does not exist, the piece of writing becomes a collection of words, formed into sentences and paragraphs that may or may not be grammatically correct.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write. – Somerset Maugham

So with that in mind, what are the traits and habits of your characters that add to the depth of your story?

Enjoy your week,
KK

Image from postsecret.com

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Let Your Feelings Show

Hello Lovelies,

This past week has been a little crazy with three sick kiddies in the house to look after. While this has given me little time to sit down and write, it has given me some time to think about things.

Children do not hide their true feelings, even before they learn to speak you can tell how they feel by looking at their eyes. There are no fake or polite smiles and when they smile, the smile touches their eyes. If they are sad, cranky, scared or shy, they will let you know.

So what happens in the time between childhood and adulthood that causes us to smile that fake smile? Why do so many of us hide our true feelings?

Granted that there are many things that are acceptable for children to do and not adults. For example if my children to skip in the shopping centre, it’s considered cute by many. Yet, if I were to do exactly the same thing, people would consider me to be a very strange woman and urge their own children to keep their distance.

Is that why we hide our feelings? From fear of being thought of as weird or strange, from fear of repercussion? Imagine if there was an “open feeling day” where we could all express our true thoughts and feelings without fear of repercussion, I think it would be quite liberating.

Whilst it might not be appropriate to let all of our feelings show in every moment, in every setting, it is important to ensure that you show those you care for how you feel.

Let us take our example from children. Before children fully understand displays of affection they will smile at you. The smile touches their eyes telling you that you that because of you, their world is brighter. Then without thinking about it, you smile back- a true smile.

I think the same goes for the characters we create, let their true feelings show so that we may truly see who they are. Without understanding how the characters think and feel, our readers will not be able to connect properly with them.

So here’s to not hiding feelings! But when your boss asks you tomorrow morning why you’re 1 minute late, you might want to hide your true feelings if you want to keep your job.
Just a thought.
Have a lovely week,
KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Breaking Down the Barriers

Hello Lovelies,

I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this week with my writing. Not with my assignment that was due on Friday, the lecturer gave us all a week extension, so of course I’m still in procrastination mode with that one! My breakthrough if with my (not so) short story that I had hit a wall with.

Sometimes when you come up against a wall in your writing and some type of barrier is preventing you from exploring your characters and story further, you need to get yourself a big ol’ metaphorical sledgehammer and break down that barrier in your mind. If you keep on hitting away at the barrier, usually you will eventually have a breakthrough where the words begin to flow again and you start to unravel the complexity of your characters. This is what happened to me this week, I’m in the process of discovering just how complex these two characters really are, particularly my female lead. At this point the characters are still known as ‘he’ and ‘she’ and perhaps it will stay that way. The story is told by both main characters, with each character telling the story in sections from their own perspective. We have a man who never felt love as a child and has searched for someone for him to love and to love him in return. He has found that in a woman who experienced nothing but abuse and false love as a child and had shut herself off from the world as a means of self-preservation. It wasn’t until they met each other that the world came alive again for her and he experienced what it felt like to love and be loved in return.

Yes, it’s another ‘love story’ but there can never be too much love in the world! The timeline of their story is over several years and looks at the impact of both of their pasts and the darkness of it that can not always be kept at bay.

I have a little bit to share with you today. remember this work is raw and unedited and is only a first draft.

Enjoy and May the Fourth Be With You,

KK

Image

When I first saw him, I hated him with every inch of my being. He was the one threatening my isolation, which I so strongly desired. Yet for some reason I felt drawn to him, he didn’t ask too many questions, which was something I liked. He would simply say, “Hello” and give me a sweet, crooked smile. He would speak only when he had to and each shift was spent working side by side mostly in silence. It wasn’t until one evening that he didn’t come in for his shift that I realised how much being near him comforted me. He was sick apparently and without him there working silently next to me I became anxious and edgy and found it difficult to concentrate on doing my job. I dropped things, tripped over boxes and was so completely uncoordinated that the shop owner’s daughter wondered if I was coming down with whatever he had. I realised that I had come to rely on his present, I was beginning to depend on him and I hated myself for that. I had spent so long and worked so hard at trying to isolate myself from the outside world, that the thought of relying on another person angered me. Yet the thought of living without seeing him was becoming unbearable. It was stupid, I barely even knew him, sure we spent every night together for the past three months, but we weren’t exactly sharing every little detail of our lives. I knew his name and I knew he was well-mannered, I also somehow knew he understood my silence.

When he didn’t show up to work the next day, I stupidly found myself looking up his address in the staff contact files and before I knew it I was walking towards his flat and knocking on his door. When the door opened and I found myself looking into his eyes, I didn’t know what to say, I just stood there staring at him for what seemed like an awkwardly long time before he invited me in. I entered his flat without saying a word, he spoke first, “Are you checking up on me?” I remember him saying with the hint of a laugh in his voice, I didn’t want to tell him that I needed him and felt comforted being near him so instead I told him that I was just checking to make sure he was ok and that the shop owner had sent me over to see if he would be working that night. He invited me to sit down and made us some tea and in that moment something changed, we talked for hours, I did most of the talking. Told him almost everything about myself, where I was from, my time in foster care and my time on the streets, but I didn’t tell him about the deepest of the darkness in my past. I felt so comfortable talking to him, it felt good to let someone in. I remember the feeling of contentment that washed over me as I told him about myself and he didn’t go running in the opposite direction. He said we were the same person, that he too had been bounced around from foster home to foster home before he turned 18 and was forced to make his own way in the world. I also remember that he was glad that I had stopped by. I also remember telling him that I missed him. The words had come out before I could stop them, before I could even consider them. He had smiled his crooked smile and said that he had missed me too.

How I wish I could get back that feeling, the feeling of happiness, contentment and comfort I got from being with him, from knowing that he understood me. Now everything is changing and I hate him for that. I have to make things go back to the way that they were, I have to do something. I can change it, he doesn’t know yet. I can fix this and pretend it never happened and things can go back to the way they were.

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A State of Mind

Hello Lovelies,

I realise I am a day early with this week’s post, as I normally write my new post each Sunday. However, this Sunday I will be busy partaking in Easter family festivities, including an Easter egg hunt for the kids and, of course, for the young at heart.

When thinking about a topic for this week’s post and realising it would be the middle of the school holidays if you’re in my neck of the woods, I came up with what I believe to be a most suitable topic for this post.

To start off, I began thinking about different ways you could define the word “holiday”. Is it getting away for the weekend or longer? Or is it something simpler like not having to get up for work (or school)?
If you consider a holiday to be some type of getaway, then in that case, I have not physically been on a holiday since December 2006. Yes it’s true, the last time I went on a “real” holiday, it was a honeymoon, prior to children!
Before you all start feeling too sorry for me, I would just like to point out, that between 2006 and now, I have been many places. In fact, I’ve been to places all over the world, I’ve visited the past, the present and the future.
Now you’re asking how can some silly woman who said she hasn’t been on a holiday for more than 7 years have done all of this? Well, you see, “holiday” as an escape or getaway, is just a state of mind.
My “holiday” is through experiencing the worlds of characters, not just of my own creation, but also the characters of other writers. Reading and writing to me is an escape, an adventure, a getaway, even some sort of holiday. The words of the writer, whether they are my own or from someone else, transport me to another world, where i experience the life of the characters and explore their world.

So, fellow writers, readers and adventurers, where have your travels taken you?

-KK

Enjoy your Easter weekend! xx

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.