Short Story Contest Winners Announced!

Yes, the time has arrived! The stories are in, the judges have spoken and Kingdom Pen has elected the winning contestants for our inaugural short story contest. We’ve had a lot of fun with this contest and have been thrilled by the enthusiastic participation of our subscribers. The stories we’ve had the honor of reading and judging for the contest have been exceptional, and we’ve been impressed by the writing quality we’ve seen. We’re excited to have reached a conclusion, and we know you’re ready to hear the results. Before we get to the stories, however, there are some acknowledgements we should make.

We’d like to extend special thanks to our excellent judging panel, who worked carefully and thoughtfully on each and every story that was submitted. Our initial judging team consisted of Mrs. Karen King of Alabama, a long-time homeschool teacher, mother of 8 children and loving wife of 23 years; Mr. Braden Russell of Oklahoma, an author, comedy video producer and contributor to Kingdom Pen magazine; and Miss Anna Pendleton of Alabama, an author and singer as well as contributor to Kingdom Pen also. Each of these three worked for two weeks, reading each story anonymously and assigning ratings of between 1 and 10 points in a series of 8 categories for each story. Each category represented a specific of strength in each story, and the points were totaled at the end of the process to select the five finalists.

[Read more…]

Head Over Shining Heels

by: Eli King

A lesson I’ve learned over the last twelve months of my rambunctious existence that I was sharing with my brother today is that life—any life—is just exactly one element away from completely changing. We all live in living stories, and each of our stories can be turned completely upside down, inside out, wrong side back and all the rest in a matter of hours. This has happened to me personally several times in the last year in some pretty profound ways, but instead of dissecting my life, let’s examine somebody else’s for the purposes of an example, shall we? That’s always so much more fun.

I have a friend that I’ve known for a few years that I would easily call a good friend. We met through school and have gotten along pretty well from the start. We never really talked about our futures a whole lot, but for years I picked up these subtle remarks that she would make which clearly betrayed an obvious mindset she held regarding marriage. She wasn’t anti-marriage, but my friend (we’ll call her Polly) seemed to have absolutely no honest interest in it for herself. As she grew older, I noticed this mindset growing steadily stronger. I guess I never really asked her, but Polly seemed to have plans to move forward with her life, form a career, get an apartment or a house and live happily single right into her twenties. Everybody knew this about Polly, I think. It’s not like it was a big deal or anything, it’s just what Polly wanted for her future, and hey. That was cool.

This is the Polly we all knew and loved in May of this year. In June, Polly suddenly found a very special person in a long time friend, and by this August, Polly is telling us that she is engaged.

[Read more…]

Dead or Alive

by: Eli King

There are two basic types of people in this world, and two types only. The dead, and the living.

Well, duh, right? Not really. It’s true, is it not, that as a Christian you have eternal life? The term is often life in Christ. Which would imply that Christ has brought you to life, which would further indicate that you were dead apart from Him.

No, this isn’t a sermon. And, it’s not an advertisement for a funeral home, either. I’m talking about something beyond the elements of light and darkness, truth and lies. I’m talking about a concept that is essentially the most basic and foundational element of any story, any song, any poem. Any form of art at all. So basic, in fact, that it doesn’t apply to Christians alone. No, this concept applies to artists across the board, because they’re all playing on the same board.

Have you ever watched a movie and come away depressed? Read a book and felt discouraged or empty? Like there was something missing—something incomplete? That’s because there are also two types of art in this world—the dead, and the living. The interesting thing about life is that, unlike Miracle Max pretends in The Princess Bride, it’s absolute. You are either dead, or you are alive. No “mostly dead” here, and the same applies to art. An art production is either dead, or alive. No in-between fence riders.

Well this is creepy, isn’t it? Just what exactly am I proposing? Well, I don’t mean books that breathe, and I’m not even talking about the elusive concept of a “living book” we’ve all heard about—a book which is not dry and boring. I mean something quite a bit deeper than that. Something that flows in the heart and core of a story. In it’s very life blood, if you will.

There was a time in my writing when what I wrote was dead. [Read more…]

Hobbit Holes Anyone?

by: Reagan Ramm

If you’ve followed Kingdom Pen for any length of time, you’ve probably heard us mention the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. If you’ve been following us for a long time, you may even be tired of hearing about it. Don’t look now, but here it comes again. But stick around because I’m about to tell you something that is completely out of this world.

First off, if you haven’t heard of the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum, let me introduce you. Like its name implies, the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum (or OYAN) is a homeschool class that teaches young authors how to write a novel in one school year. In the May/June issue of Kingdom Pen—two issues back—we interviewed the founder of OYAN, Daniel Schwabauer. I cannot recommend OYAN enough. I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be a writer today if it wasn’t for the curriculum. I don’t even think Kingdom Pen would exist without it. In the almost two years since Eli King founded the first issue of Kingdom Pen, nearly all of our writers have come from the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. More than just a homeschool class, OYAN is a family.

That being said, this article is not about trying to convince you to buy the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum (although, if you’re a young Christian writer looking for a place to get started in novel writing, you can’t go wrong with OYAN). I’m here to tell you about something that has never been done before–a dream that can become a reality with your help.

[Read more…]