Towards the Future

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to 2016!

So far this year is proving better than the last for me. For starters, I finished reading Grey, thank goodness! I actually spent New Years Eve (Szilveszter in Hungarian) alternating between looking out the window at the sporadic fireworks displays from various locations across the Danube River, stuffing chips and Coca Cola in my face to stay awake and reading Grey. My thoughts of Grey haven’t changed from last week’s post, however, I am now slightly more disturbed by Christian Grey’s stalker tactics and I’m so glad that it’s over.

So with mediocre literature out of the way, it’s time to look towards the future and focus on what I would like to accomplish in the year ahead!

This year I am determined to only look towards the future, not dwell on past events and focus on my family and my writing. Having already started writing József’s story, I would really like to finish at least the first draft whilst we are still in Hungary. I want to be immersed in the surroundings of the story as much as I can, with the culture, history and setting right on my doorstep -literally. I’m not sure whether this story will be a novella or a novel, my aim is simply to write the first draft and decide later what it is.

I am hoping that 2016 will be the year that I actually finish a first draft and perhaps even get into editing and some beta readers. I want 2016 the year that I further develop my writing skills, the year that I explore, create and redefine my characters and their stories, the year that I am able to immerse myself and further embrace and explore the writer within. The only way I can do that though is to actually write, to practice the craft of writing, every day. Any of you who regularly read my posts will know what a terrible procrastinator I am. Having finally completed enough units to graduate with a post-graduate degree in Education, I have been known to leave my assignments to the very last minute, writing 20,000 words in just a matter of hours, including research and somehow still manage to get a good grade. From these actions of my own, I am clearly capable of spewing out a significant word count in a short amount of time, however it is my tendency to procrastinate and the lack of an external deadline that often prevents me from doing so in my own creative writing.

What I really need, is someone to set a deadline for me. I’ve tried the self-imposed deadlines and it doesn’t work, my inner procrastinator gets the better of me and I end up promising myself that I’ll catch up next week or next month and I never do! So this is the plan I propose, I have a good friend who I’ve spoken about before, she has always encouraged me to embrace my creativity and was the first person I sent excerpts of my writing to, she is one of my greatest supporters. She doesn’t know this yet, but she is going to be the one to enforce the deadline. With constant nagging (I’m sure she’ll be good at it), “friendly” reminders and consequences for not reaching my monthly word count goals. I hope she’s up to the challenge, she knows only too well how much of an accomplished procrastinator I am!

I’m not going to call it a resolution or a plan, but rather my intentions for 2016:

  • Focus on the future – don’t dwell on the past, it can’t be changed, it won’t help me move forward. Keep my eyes on the road ahead of me, towards the future.
  • Practice my craft- kick procrastination in the butt, with some help from a friend and write as often as possible, hopefully leading me to finally…
  • Finish a first draft!

 

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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Grey – somber, drab, neutral, dull

grey flickr cc iggyshoot
Image Courtesy Flickr CC user Iggyshoot

Hello Lovelies,

Quite a while back I admitted to having read the Fifty Shades trilogy. I’m sorry. The only excuse I can offer for this is that every one was talking about it and I felt left out.

My first impression when I started reading the trilogy, is that it was a little boring and seemed more like a journal recount than a narrative and a poorly written one at that. Whilst the story E. L. James was trying to tell, had a few redeeming qualities and if it were worked on and edited a little longer it might not have been so bad. Whilst I admit that I do not have perfect written (or spoken) grammar and quite often make mistakes in my own writing, the errors in this trilogy that actually made it to print were quite frustrating.

So why did I read the entire trilogy you ask? Well, the simple answer is this, no matter how poorly written it might have been, I don’t like leaving things unfinished, including book series. So naturally when Grey (the first book of the series rewritten from Christian’s POV) was published, I had no choice but to purchase that one as well and I have been putting off reading it until now.

After finishing book 8 in the main series of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I told myself I couldn’t put it off any longer. I tried to convince myself that E. L. James must now be a more experienced writer and after the movie deal was made for the series, she’s probably laughing all the way to the bank and therefore can probably afford (or be assigned) the best editors in the country. In my work up to reading the book, I also told myself it might actually be interesting to see the story from Christian Grey’s POV. Whilst I haven’t gotten up to any of the “saucy” parts of the book yet, my first impressions of this rewrite are very similar to my first impressions of the original – somber, drab, neutral, dull -coincidentally these words are all synonyms for grey. I’m also finding that by reading the same book from a different POV it’s actually ruining the character of Christian Grey, before he was a little mysterious and you were trying to figure him out, now he’s a bit of a whining little bitch with the, “OMG don’t touch me” crap. Like I said though, I can’t leave things unfinished, so it looks like I’m going to have to trudge my way through it and hope that I find a few redeeming qualities. For one, I having come across any major grammatical errors or annoying typos.

With my own writing, sometimes as I reread what I have written previously in preparation to continue, I find that I have also fallen into the same style of recount rather than a narrative and I am often going back and rewriting sections in an attempt to eliminate this. A well written story is not a he said, she said, blow-by-blow recount of events, it needs to immerse the reader into the story, allowing the reader to experience the character’s surroundings, feel their emotions and see what they see.

 “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

I can only hope that as the stories of my characters and my writing develops, I am able to do them justice and not fall into the “recount” trap. However, in considering that I am most often able to notice when I have drifted into that style, it gives me at least some hope that I will be able to do the stories of my characters justice.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and would like to wish you all a happy new year, may 2016 be a year of working towards the fulfillment of dreams!

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács 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. Kovács 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.