Meaning And Balloons

Does your novel have a point? We live in a world starving for meaning and purpose. People look for it in all the wrong places, but God is the only purpose, and the only One who can bring meaning. Does your novel point back to God? Does your novel have meaning?


 By Kathryn Comstock

It is happening in everything: school work, literature and even writing. Meaning is being systematically removed and instead, we’re told that “it’s all relative”. There’s no real meaning in anything. This is called deconstructionism.

I heard an analogy that meaning—what deconstructionism does to meaning—is like a red balloon. One person can come up and say it’s a blue balloon. Another can say it’s a green and pink balloon. Yet another person could say that it isn’t a balloon at all; in reality, it’s a pen. I could go on with examples forever, but you get the picture

Now, according to what the American education system teaches, (because it’s really they who are furthering this kind of thinking), everyone would be right. Meaning is considered to be relative. Because of this, the balloon can be anything or any color people want it to be, based on their thoughts and their desires. This probably sounds crazy, but it is what many people say they believe these days.

So, how does this apply to writing? I’m glad you asked.

As any writer knows, there’s something specific you’re trying to get across when telling a story. If you’re like me, the character may actually be an exaggerated reflection of one aspect of yourself, a person you admire or someone you’re close to. The scenes and situations you put in mean something, and it’s something very specific.

I’ll use an example from my own writing. Currently, I’m working on a story about a girl who escapes from a Nazi death camp like situation. She runs away and ends up, unknowingly, in the governor’s house. The butler agrees to let her spend the night (he isn’t aware she’s a prisoner) in exchange for her working an international dinner that his boss is putting on. Now, because of the fact that the governor has kept Kiah (my main character) and her family imprisoned for so many years, she has developed a deep and intense hatred for the man.

Her first errand at the party is to serve drinks, and she meets the governor. At first, she doesn’t know it’s him. He strikes up a conversation with her and, having no preconceived notions herself, starts to think that he’s a nice guy and all that. This is when it’s discovered he’s the governor. She gets super embarrassed and ends up dropping her tray, shattering and spilling everything she was carrying.

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Unspoken: How detailed Are Your Characters?

 When it comes to characterization, sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.

By Hannah Mills

As did many others, I made the trek to the movie theatre to see Les Misrables. And, as many others are, I am a Downton Abbey fangirl.



I could go on and on about the music in Les Mis, about the amazing screenwriting that makes Downton what it is, the actors, many things.



Today, however, I want to focus on some things that are more in the background.


After watching Les Mis, I noticed something. The costuming was incredibly well-thought out.



The Thenardiers, viciously money-minded people with no morals and a dramatic flair, had costumes that perfectly fit their chameleon-like personalities. The colors were bright, almost verging on gaudy. Their teased hair and heavy makeup accented their bawdy outbursts and licentious lifestyle.



Eponine, Thenariers’ daughter, dressed very differently. The costume designer stuck to earth tones, and gave Eponine’s dresses a tomboyish/trampish look. She didn’t agree with the lifestyle of her parents, and practically lived on the streets. Sweet and savvy, her personality and clothing style spoke of the clashes between what she wanted in life and what her parents strove for.



Cosette, as a young woman, was styled in soft colors and feminine cuts; touches of lace, a ruffle or ribbon here and there, very genteel and quiet. This, too, fit the persona of her role. A peace-loving person, the sort you would find curled up with a book and a kitten.



Throw these four characters into the same scene and their differences are multiplied tenfold simply by how their costumes play off each other. Without words, the swaths of fabric on the actor’s bodies are giving backstory. Showing, rather than telling, and translating the concepts of gentleness or mercenary-minded into visible images.


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The Dread Factor: Dos and Don’ts of Writing Villains

By Eric Johnson

What makes the best villains work? The simple answer can be summed up in one phrase: lots of things. There is, however, an even simpler answer. Dread is what makes villains work. A good villain is a villain we dread, a bad villain is one we don’t. So how do you make your villain dreadful? Good question.

The most obvious question that needs answering is this: Why should my hero dread my villain? If you can come up with a convincing answer to this question, you’ve probably succeeded in making your reader dread your villain too. Hopefully, your villain will have some unique trait or traits that makes him or her more dreadful. However, there are a few basic dos and don’ts that will make almost any villain more intimidating.

First, the don’ts. It’s probably convenient to mention here that there are definitely exceptions to these guidelines. I don’t always follow them myself, but I think that even going against these concepts can be done better if you know what you’re contrasting. That being said, here is the little list of don’ts that I have compiled. Results may vary.

Don’t let the reader know that your villain is beatable. It may seem obvious, but I could probably think of several examples of stories that I have read, watched, or written where the villain is the underdog throughout the entire story. Everybody loves an underdog, they say, and that’s part of the reason why you want your hero to be the underdog, not the villain. It’s great to show that your hero is strong, but if the only way to do that is by showing that your villain…isn’t as strong, skip out on writing that scene.

Let’s say your villain has come face to face with your hero in chapter four of your novel. The villain has decided to kidnap the hero’s love interest. He’s not interested in keeping her alive for a dramatic rescue scene later. However, you don’t really want the love interest to die yet, so the hero channels his love for, well, his love interest, and soundly defeats the villain in a fist fight. Once this has happened, your reader has probably made a mental note of the instance. The villain just lost. They’ll come back in a dramatic way later, but why should we think that they’ll do any better in chapter eleven? This is not to say that the villain can never be outsmarted, outmuscled, or outanythinged, but I would recommend avoiding this when possible. Especially avoid having the villain lose when they’re in their element. Every time your villain is beaten, both the hero and the reader can rest just a little bit easier. That’s bad.

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I, Sherwood (Short Story)

Creative, emotional, and thought provoking, I, Sherwood is an excellent short story with strong writing quality, imagery, and soulful questioning. Braden Russell comes through with an original take on the story of Robin Hood, told from a new pair of eyes.

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The Future Of Kingdom Pen

The next issue of Kingdom Pen has finally arrived! This issue marks the end of one era, and the beginning of another. While Eli King is moving on, his dream and vision will not be leaving with him. The work Eli has started with Kingdom Pen is far from finished, and it is now up to all of us to carry the flag as Eli moves on to fulfill the will of the Lord in the other areas of his life.


This time of transition has allowed the leadership of Kingdom Pen to evaluate where we are, what we want to be, and how we can better fulfill our mission of encouraging young writers to write well, write purposefully, and to always write for Christ. We are overflowing with ideas and are incredibly excited about the future, and hope you are too!


Some of the ideas we will be seeking to implement that you can all look forward to include,


  • Turning Kingdom Pen into a quarterly publication and making hard copy versions available for purchase. Have you been published in Kingdom Pen? You can buy the issue and see your article, short story, or poem in print, rather than just in an electronic format. Even if you haven’t been published, a hard copy makes for easy reference or a great gift for a friend or relative.
  • Making all issues available for download on the website. Are you new to the magazine or have you lost a past issue? No problem, just download a new PDF.
  • Turning the Kingdom Pen website into the main vehicle for content. We want to help out our writers as much as we can, as well as draw in even more writers and form a community. To accomplish this, we will begin posting much more of the submissions we receive on the website. This will provide more exposure for our writers and allow them to “get their names out there”. This will also make draw more traffic to Kingdom Pen and allow us to grow our community of Christian writers.
  • More staff opportunities. The more we do with Kingdom Pen, the bigger the work load becomes. In order to keep improving, we’ll need more people on the team. In the near future, we will begin taking applications for job positions. Want to be a member of the KP Team? You can apply.


These are just a few of the ideas and goals we would like to achieve to continue to improve KP. We’re always open to any ideas or suggestions you may have as well. Know a way to improve Kingdom Pen? Send us an email at Additionally, please keep submitting material! The eMag issues we send out will be collections containing “the best of” from each quarter, so no more submission deadlines; all our material will be posted on the website.


What has already been accomplished has been nothing short of spectacular, but there is no telling what more God has in store for our future. Now is the hour to consider anew how you can wield your pen in the service of the King, and the advancement of His Kingdom.


Keep spreading the word and keep writing!

Reagan Ramm

Editor, Kingdom Pen Magazine