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Hey there, I'm Jaeden Knight, author of several short stories that you can read on my website Gone with the Pen. Approximately every week there should be something new to read there, so check back and comment often. This blog is a record of the comings and goings of my writing, my art, and my life. I will often post when there's a new story on my website, why there isn't if I'm not able to, and occasionally links to my art.  Feel free to friend me, I enjoy being friended and more often than not will friend back.

Feb. 4th, 2010

I've made, yet another, journal.

Recently, I decided to do away with the pen name.

If you read me here, and I want to read me there, friend shiananwrites 

The Art of Old Stuff

For the past couple weeks, Mondays have become "clean the entire house" days. My big project for today was to go through a big stack of papers and toss out the old junk. There was a lot of junk.

I found several copies of some work that I'd done in high school all marked up in pretty colors. I'd forgotten that I'd written these short (SHORT) pieces and about the group of writers who took the time to look them over. Just looking at the names of those writers brought back a lot of great memories from that group, and a lot of not so great ones of the divorce I was going through at the time.

I think after I get my to-do list caught up on (if I ever) I may go back through those old things and actually read them. Maybe I'll even tweak them and make them better. Who knows, I might even post one of them.

I've always liked going through old stories. It's like going through an old photo album. You get to re-live the moments. Some of them aren't always great, like remembering how you tortured yourself over coming up with the perfect word for any given sentence. Or how late you stayed up trying to remember what you'd written on a draft that your word processor decided to dump.

Some of the memories, though, are wonderful. You don't forget the thrill of having found that perfect word, getting lost in the draft, and being able to see nothing but the scene before your eyes and not realizing that you've written for hours and the rest of the house has long since gone to bed. Its moments like that which make writing more addictive than any drug. It make you a crazy person.

I wouldn't wish this addiction on anyone who hasn't already had a taste. To those that have, revel in it. There's nothing else on earth like it, and don't get discouraged when people look at you strange when you start talking to yourself. Usually, that means you're doing something right.

So, perhaps later, I will relive the moments nearly 10 years old now. I wonder how horrible I used to write. LOL It will really be fun to see what kind of progress I've made. (Because writing is both a craft and an art, and still requires practice at any stage.)

Jan. 7th, 2010

I finally finished reading my flist. Its 10:45, baby girl is asleep, Shane is tired enough to go to sleep, mom is tired, and yes...so am I.

I joined the 2010 challenge thing. It looks like fun. It may have to wait for tomorrow though. Cause...yeah. I'm tired and talking to my husband via AIM cause we don't get much time to talk now and its easier to say things and talk about serious stuff when little ears can't listen in and repeat.

Tomorrow I go and get my hair cut and colored for the first time since March '09. YAY! My two-tone hair won't be two-tone any more. Well, it will still be, but on purpose this time. =)

After I get back, I'll need to knock out some things writing-wise that I've had on hold for months because I was too physically miserable to care to do them. Also, I will need/want to get some jewelry design ideas down on paper so that I can figure out how best to fabricate the materials that I will need (because I really want to cut down on how much I buy when it can be made myself).

So with that, I bid you all good night, and a late Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that.

PS - My daughter was born Christmas Eve. Welcome Fallon Evangeline.
It may take forever, but I'm determined to go through my f-list and catch up on everything. I may not comment a lot, but I will be reading. Now that I'm no longer pregnant, I'm hoping things can get back to some form of relative normalcy.

[Gone with the Pen] Music That Moves You

Like most writers, I have the compelling need to research as I write.
On this 6th day of NaNoWriMo that research comes in the form of sounds
(and really, that's no big surprise as I most often will research the
way something sounds. Memory is faulty and popular media lies).

I have researched two sounds this morning. The sounds of the barn owl,
and the cello. Not all owls hoot, and from my time in band, the school
never had the money for an orchestra. If they had, I would be a
violinist instead of a clarinet player.

Note to self: Pick up violin lessons again. Also, save up about $300
for a cheap beginner's cello. (My violin is purple. Maybe I'll get a
black cello with a white bow...or neon pink. Watch as my crazy skills
transform the bow into a streak of color across the strings.) Just
thinking about playing again brings back memories. I used to be pretty
good. I wonder how things may have been different if I had practiced,
lol.

While I was listening to random tracks online of cello music samples
(read as: 30 seconds is not long enough) it occurred to me that as soon
as possible I needed more. The music, played on a loop, began to fuel
me. I could hear one of my character's voices in the notes. I have no
way to describe this feeling. I can only compare it to an experience
that not many have gone through.

A few years ago, I went through Air Force boot camp. This charged up
crazy feeling is like how I felt after exiting the gas chamber with my
mask off. My skin burned with the fumes (it was a hot day and every
exposed pore on my body dripped with sweat which seemed at the time
like it was what activated the burning, because my eyes, nose and lips
also stung). It made a lot of people throw up, and everyone looked like
they were crying. Me? I felt alive.

It was a thrill ride and I wanted to do it again. I was tempted to get
back in line, but being boot camp, you don't do crazy things like have
an opinion, a mind or your own, or speaking those opinions...much less
be this insane person that enjoyed the thrill of a gas chamber.

This is how I feel this morning. Alive.

The hard part of this is translating this feeling into prose. A blog
post is easy. You can stumble and mutter. You can use the words "like"
and "as" too many times. You can make references to something like a
gas chamber. In prose, you can't do that. You're limited to the voice
and experiences of your characters.

Anyway, I have a busy day ahead of me and I have wasted too much time
sharing this adrenaline-like experience. The story calls.

[Gone with the Pen] NaNoWriMo!

Today is the first day in this strange sort of torture that some of
those of us that enjoy writing partake in annually. (Wow, what a
sentence!)

This month, hundreds of thousands across the globe attempt to write a
novel in 30 days. Not everyone wins. It really isn't as easy as it
sounds. I've trunked a lot of would-be good novels writing this way.
Sure, I could have taken my time with them and gotten some really
amazing novels out of it, but where would be the fun in that?

This year I'm trying something a little different. I'm writing a story
that has already been written...many times. When I read this story, I
knew right away that I wanted to see it in novel form. I'd never heard
of anyone writing this into a novel before, so I vowed that I would be
the one to do it. I'm a little wiser now. There are several adaptations
of it out, one of which seems to be pretty popular. I've never read it,
though it is on my list.

I could be setting myself up for a huge failure here, but where is the
fun without a little risk? I'll write the story, and then read East.
And why yes, I am thinking of posting the chapters on Gone with the
Pen. If you'd like to follow my progress, feel free to. You can see how
awesome I am when I win, or a horrible fail and laugh with me when I
try and figure out why in my busiest month of the year I'm attempting
this.

Jaeden
So, I was doing some goofing off and playing around with character
sketches and throwing my characters into situations to test their
reactions. I had no intentions on my two main characters meeting, but
they have and there's no going back now.

Here it is, a teaser of what's to come in a month or two:

Oz wandered through the rolling plains of stunted trees and dead grass
with his stepmother’s words resonating through his mind. The sun was
high over head, beating down on his furry back. Dry twigs cracked
beneath his furry paws and stuck between the soft pads making him
wince. His once useful fingers, groomed nails and soft skin were now
deformed into this - a bear’s fumbling brute strength. What was he to
do with these? He couldn’t play music, write letters, open doors or any
of the other things he once took for granted. He could wander the
wilderness and smash things.

“Try and find a wife now,” she had said. “You will wed Princess
Teneale.”

“I still have a year to find a woman who will have me,” he had said.
Princess Teneale was a monster, but the only monster who would marry
him, thanks to his stepmother. She’d done everything in her power to
see to that.

It wasn’t that Teneale was unappealing, far from it. She was perhaps
the most beautiful creature Oz had ever seen - until she smiled. Her
gorgeous features couldn’t hide the rows of sharp teeth she hid beneath
those alluring lips. Inside her mouth was the truth of her nature, she
was a troll, and like all trolls he’d ever met, she was selfish,
heartless and cruel.

Oz sat on a patch of moss and looked down into the valley. The entire
place was a barren wasteland, except for a small colorful grouping of
wild flowers that were growing in front of a quaint farm. He wondered
why anyone had chosen this place to live, unless they were like him,
useless, hopeless and doomed to lead a life married to a monster
princess.

The wind blew from the north, pushing chilled air through his overcoat
and into the soft down of his new fur. It felt good. Standing, he shook
himself and grunted, his new voice still unfamiliar to him. Slowly, he
ambled down a path that was cut into the hillside towards the farm. The
wind carried smells of onions, bread and the sounds of many people hard
at work pounding at nails and earth.

When he had reached the farm, he saw that it was not quite as large as
he had thought it was. From the shelter of a cluster of stunted trees,
he counted as many as nine people going in and out of the farmhouse,
barn and fields. There was another that he could not see, but her voice
carried to him on the wind from inside the house.

She didn’t have the lyrical, sickeningly sweet voice of Teneale, but it
was no less appealing to him. He moved around the outside of the tree
line, failing at his attempt to stay quiet. Oz cursed his stepmother
for bewitching him with such clumsy paws.

A loud crack shattered the tranquility of the glen. Instinctively, he
crouched low to the ground. Behind him startled voices shouted at one
another.

“Did you hear that?”

“Yeah. What was it? A gun?”

“Don't be stupid. Who would hunt out here? It was probably another tree
limb falling. Maybe one of us got lucky and was crushed under it.”

The other voice laughed, “Yeah, lucky bastard got out of here.”

“Shut up and get back to work,” a third voice bellowed. In minutes, the
sounds of pounding and digging returned to their monotony as before.

After waiting for the people to forget about the noise, Oz crept closer
to the cottage window. Inside he saw a girl sitting on the floor
dressed in and surrounded by rags. She was humming now, quietly, to
herself. She was something unlike any he’d ever seen. Underneath the
dirt and mop of tangled reddish blond hair there was a beautiful young
woman. Her voice even now haunted his ears. Her eyelashes caught the
sun and glimmered gold over her green eyes.

She had lips that were full and turned down in the corners in the
slightest of pouts. Oz was consumed with the desire to be closer to
her, to kiss her lips and erase the sadness from her face. He just
wanted to touch her, maybe to see if she was real, or if he was.

He dropped down below the window, so he couldn’t see her. He pawed at
the ground, leaving small scratches in the dirt. He had to get closer
to her somehow. It was then he realized that he was already enamored
with her.

“What is it, George? The soup will burn.” It was a woman’s voice.

Oz's heart froze in his chest. There were others dangerously close. He
should have heard the people coming before now. Bears had better senses
than people, didn’t they?

He risked one last glance at the girl, one paw on the window’s flower
box, for the briefest of moments before using it to push off and away
into the trees again. He winced as he made another loud crack of
destruction in his wake. He thought he saw, on the edge of his vision,
that the girl had looked up and seen him leave.

He should have run, and kept running until he was safely away from the
farmhouse and the people that lived in it. Instead, crouched again at
the edge of the trees and listened for her voice again.

“Did you hear that?” It wasn’t hers, it was the other woman.

“It looks like the last flower box has finally decayed and broken away
from the window.”

“Why didn’t you have one of the boys fix it? Lord knows we have enough
children that we shouldn’t be living like this.”

“It’s been another fruitless harvest, Sarah. I’m not worried about
flower boxes. What are we going to do? We had barely enough to live on
through last winter, and this year seems it will be worse.”

“You never should have taken Laurent's farm. You should have never
retired from the military. You should have had the foresight for this.
You’re not a farmer. You don't have farmer’s hands. You are a soldier.
A retired good for nothing soldier. Is this why you pulled me away from
the soup? I swear, George, worrying is going to do nothing for us now.
You have eight children, a barren farm, and so help me if you add
burned soup to that list...” she didn’t finish her threat. She mumbled
back all the way towards the house, something about her mother and
Paris.

The man sat on a withered old stump, and Oz placed one tentative paw
out into the open, past the trees, into full view.

[Gone with the Pen] Quick Plug

For those of you who've not heard yet, my good friend Jill Jenkins is
holding a couple contests. (We're all about the contests aren't we?)
Entering is simple, the instructions are simple, and it's a ton of fun.
I'd be entering myself if I weren't a friend of hers and didn't think
that would be unfair for the rest of you all. To check it out, go to
her blog post here at Jillypuff's Journal of Joy.

The prizes are pretty cool!

Jaeden
Fun things first! There is a new story up! Be sure to visit Gone with
the Pen - the website edition to read all about it.

Now, for the sad news. I'm not perfect; I'm not a story machine with a
slot to put in a quarter. 17 Stories in 17 Days Self-Induced
Masochism...or whatever I called it was a complete failure. I know you
can't force the ideas; I know that you can't inflict Chinese water
torture on your muse to make words fly from your fingers...I just hoped
it might work anyway. =)

My baby is due at the end of December, so when the stories run out,
they run out. I will do my best to keep them coming, but I have no idea
what type of child this will become and how my time for writing will
transform.

There's also some talk amongst the voices in my head for a contest
either in December or January, so stay tuned for progression on that
front.

One last thing. You can now find me on Facebook, LiveJournal and
Twitter.

Jaeden Knight on FaceBook
Jaeden Knight on LiveJournal
Jaeden Knight on Twitter