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Image copyright Flick CC user Marcelo Graciolli

Hello Lovelies,

This is a scheduled post because I currently do not have home WiFi until arriving back in Sydney.

I write this as I try to get everything that needs doing before our WiFi is disconnected in preparation for returning to Sydney. Of course I can visit a WiFi hotspot if I really need internet access, but with the soon-to-be absent internet, I’m beginning to realise just how dependent we have become on it.

Gone are the days when we ponder the answer to a questions for hours or days before heading to the library or asking someone more knowledgeable on the subject. Nowadays instead of getting frustrated with an answer that’s “on the tip of my tongue” but you can’t just quite remember, we turn to trusty Google and enter the most absurdly vague search terms imaginable and somehow still manage to find what we were looking for.

I cannot even begin to imagine writing a novel in the days before the internet, especially one which would require significant amounts of research, like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander for example. I have nothing but absolute awe and admiration for the writers who tackled their research without the modern (if somewhat overused) convenience of the internet.

I myself didn’t have internet at home until I was around fifteen or so and that was only the drearily slow dial-up version with the modem that made funny noises. Those noises will be something that the younger generations will never understand as well as the habit of clicking on the webpage you hoped you needed for your assignment and then going to make a sandwich while you waited for it to load. Now we become frustrated when the page fails to load the instant after we click on it.

As a society we have become extremely dependent on the internet, we use it to research, to keep in touch with people, to watch movies, share photos, writing and everything else and to generally procrastinate and waste endless amounts of time. Any information we seek is at our fingertips.

The internet definitely has its uses, but often it is more of a tool for distraction than anything else. Whilst writing I often have several tabs open, researching and checking facts and details as I write, this is extremely useful. However I am also guilty of having Twitter and Facebook open at the same time, definitely a distraction and I would probably get a lot more writing done if I banned myself from social media for a while but it helps me to procrastinate.

I don’t let social media overtake my life though. Sure I have Facebook and Twitter but I’m not on there giving the world play-by-play updates on my life or trying to make my life seem more glamorous than it is. I’m on social media, but it doesn’t rule me.

Sometimes I think we need to take time to disconnect ourselves from the World Wide Web, time to be in the real world and actually experience life and see it through your own eyes, instead of through the screens of our smartphones or through the status updates of our friends on social media.

So get out there, go offline and experience the world the way it is supposed to be experienced. Make memories to cherish forever not status updates for “likes”.

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
 

 

 

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“Best Novel of the 20th Century”

Hello Lovelies,

This week saw the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman . Whilst it has received mixed reviews, I’ve decided that it will be one to add to my TBR list and I’ll make up my own mind.

With all the media attention over the release of Go Set a Watchman and reading To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, I naturally headed over to Wikipedia to find out a little more about its author, Harper Lee.

In high school, To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the novels we read for english class, as well as watching the 1962 film adaptation. As I’ve said before, I was the kind of student who loved when it was the time of term when we did novel studies, the novel we were meant to read over the term was usually read in just a few nights and To Kill a Mockingbird was no exception. I can’t even remember what grade I was in at the time, year 10 perhaps, but I knew nothing about what the novel was about or how it was once (and still is) considered to be rather controversial in the themes and topics it addresses until we began our novel study. Needless to say, I finished the book quite quickly, as always and enjoyed both the film and the novel, but that’s the last I really thought about it.

When I saw in my newsfeed that Harper Lee was releasing another novel that in fact was part of a series that To Kill a Mockingbird was intended to be, I found myself intrigued as to what type of person Harper Lee was. With the quick answers that the internet provides us with these days as opposed to when I was in high school (we had internet, but with the download limits, the internet was strictly for necessary school work), I googled Harper Lee without hesitation.

Coming across the Wikipedia page, I was a little surprised to find that Harper Lee was a woman, I have no idea why, but for some reason I always thought that the Mockingbird author was male. I was even more surprised to find that To Kill a Mockingbird was 89 year old Lee’s only published novel until the release of Go Set a Watchman. I guess I just assumed that with the success of To Kill a Mockingbird, in both novel and film, that it would just be one in a long list of works, but I was wrong. In fact, according to Wikipedia, in 1999 To Kill a Mockingbird was voted the “Best Novel of the 20th Century” in a poll by the Library Journal. Whilst Lee has written of pieces, Mockingbird was actually her only published novel until the release of Go Set a Watchman. 

I was also intrigued to read about the semi-autobiographical nature of To Kill a Mockingbird and the connection between Harper Lee and Truman Capote. It is also rumoured that this latest publication is actually part of a trilogy, which would be interesting to see. At the ripe age of 89 will Harper Lee release a third novel after stating that she would never publish another novel after Mockingbird?

On another note, I’ve written a few times about my introduction to the Outlander series recently, I’m now onto the second book in the series and I only have one word to describe Diana Gabaldon’s work….. AMAZING! Do yourselves a favour and add the series to your TBR list if you haven’t already. As for Go Set a Watchman, I’m waiting until later in the year to order both books in hardcover and reading them one after the other to get a proper feel of them and make up my own mind about Go Set a Watchman, until then I’ll try and ignore the spoilers and media sensation over the “racist” Atticus Finch.

Happy Reading!

Enjoy,

KK

* facts and information on Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird retrieved from Wikipedia.

© 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’s Talk About…. er… Intimate Relations

Hello Lovelies,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of the places in the world that I would like to see, that list included the Scottish Highlands (if you missed that post you can read it here). One of the reasons that the Scottish Highlands was included in my list is because one of my good friends introduced me to the TV series Outlander, knowing that the books that inspired the series have been on my to-be-read list for quite some time.

Over the last few days, I found myself with a little bit of time and decided to actually start reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the first book of the Outlander series and it is everything I had hoped it would be! Diana Gabaldon is an absolutely amazing writer and I can’t wait to work my way through the series, which has eight books so far with a ninth book being written right now, not to mention Diana’s other works which build on the stories of some of the secondary characters in the Outlander series.

As I make my way through the first book in the series, not only have I noticed and admired the quality of Diana’s writing, but also the way in which she describes the more… intimate scenes in the book. It’s no secret that the Outlander series (both the book series and the TV series) contains… well… sex, but there’s something I noticed about the way in which Diana describes these more intimate scenes which I’ll discuss in a moment.

Image courtesy of Flickr CC George Duncan
Image courtesy of Flickr CC George Duncan

Unless you have been living under a rock, most of you will be familiar (or at least heard of) E.L James’ Fifty Shades series and the subsequent hype and apparent disappointment of the film. Whilst I think that E.L James’ writing style leaves a lot to be desired, the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey showed some small amount of promise. However, the relationship of the two main characters was built around their sex lives and the rest of the story built upon that. This is similar to many other contemporary romance novels, such as those by Sylvia Day, Meredith Wild and J. Kenner (although these writers are in a totally different class compared to E.L James). In these contemporary romances, the relationship between the characters revolves around their sex lives and the emotions that develop. Every element of “intimacy” is described in every sordid detail from the beginning to the “happy ending” and whilst sometimes that may be a good thing, other times it’s not really what the story needs in order to develop. I mean, that’s all well and good for the genre that these books are in and the stories the writers wish to tell, but it’s not right for every romance story and it’s especially not right for Thomas and Rose’s story.

You see, I’ve been battling with the idea of including some of the more intimate details of Thomas and Rose’s relationship as it develops not only throughout Lonely Hearts, but also throughout the rest of the series. I feel that by acknowledging these aspects, the readers will understand the develop of their relationship and it also adds another level of emotion for the characters. I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst it is essential to acknowledge the degree intimacy that develops between Rose and Thomas, as it shows the develop of their relationship, it is not something that needs to be described in explicit detail.

***Possible spoiler alert*****

This is similar to my experience so far of Jamie and Claire’s relationship in Outlander, even though their relationship takes a natural development leading to… intimate relations, it is not the defining aspect of their relationship. The particular scenes I’m referring to are (so far) dealt with quite tastefully without the need to describe every sordid and explicit detail. The scenes are there, there’s no mistaking that Jamie and Claire are intimate, but some of the finer details of the particular encounters are tastefully left out. I know I am only part-way through the first book and this may very well change and I’m fine with that, however it has given me something to consider in my own writing – that it is possible to write about intimate encounters between characters without it defining the characters’ relationship or the book itself. I don’t want Thomas and Rose’s story to be one of those books that people flick through to simply read the “naughty bits”. It happened with Fifty Shades and I’m sure Google would be able to find similar lists for other books as well, but this is not the type of story that is Thomas and Rose’s. Sure there might be romance, maybe even love, but it is not what their story is truly about. With the help of Jozsef, Rose gets through each day but she feels the darkness of her past constantly at her heels trying to pull her down, she sees things that others don’t, including the shadows surrounding Thomas. Thomas has his own darkness and in some ways it feels similar to Rose’s but also very different.

So, as I head off to add some more questions in my notebook about Thomas and Rose’s story, it seems that it is possible to write about “intimate relations” without it defining your characters or story.

Enjoy,

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.