Broken Face

A poem depicting our freedom and life in Christ

By Carolyn Garner

Eyes of fire

Mouth that hates

Tongue that scorns

Heart that lies

Shoves out thought

That torments soul

Kills the hope

Of ones who mourn

 –

Buries love

To help forget

Pain it caused

The ones who left

 –
Men meant to run

Crawl in shame

Conscience screams

Of duty now lost

[Read more…]

A Storyteller

It can often feel lonely being a writer, especially a Christian writer, but you are not alone. 
 
By Alexander Weeks
 

Are you a storyteller?

Can you think of anything

But telling stories?

Can you dream of anything

But telling stories?

Do you look at the world

And see its beauty?

Do you look at the world

And see it’s endless stories?

Do you feel that you are alone,

That you are the only one?

Is this what you think

You are meant to do?

Or do you know it?

When you wake up to a new day

Is telling stories

The first thing you think of?

[Read more…]

Code Of Honor

We are all warriors.

By Sarah Spradlin

A warrior is not felled by one wound.

A warrior is not swayed by offers of evil.

A warrior is not given in to the pedestals of pride.

A warrior is a guardian of the weak and of the hopeless.

A warrior is a flint among the diamonds and kindles a fire in others’ hearts.

A warrior is more than a conqueror.

A warrior has chosen to lead.

A warrior has chosen to fight for what he believes.

A warrior has chosen to serve the poor.

[Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

War What War

 A poem reminding us that often our greatest enemy is ourselves.

By Alexander Weeks

I have been gone at war.

In truth I still am at war.

And have been for too long.

A war with myself,

My mind, body, and soul.

Who will win,

Me or my foe?

For my foe goes on unnamed.

Who or what could my foe be?

For that answer

You must know

My thoughts and secrets,

But those are for me.

Yet who am I?

For that I must know.

Or my foe undefeated it will be.

But if I find my foe

Will I win?

[Read more…]

Breaking The Mold

Making your characters their own people.

 By Eric Johnson

Developing characters is one of the most important things you can do—for any story. This is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the pre-production phase; the process is easy for some writers and challenging for others. However, I have discovered that for almost any writer, there is a tendency to develop characters that are very similar to one another. This can have a very negative effect on the characters, the story, and even the writer.

If you’re like me, you may notice that your male characters tend to have brown hair and your female characters are usually blonde. Or perhaps you’ve realized that all of your protagonists are courageous and their sidekicks are more hesitant. Maybe all of your villains wear black. Then again, maybe not, but even so, according to my hypothesis, if I dug deep enough I could find a recurring theme through most of your characters. This isn’t always a bad thing, as the writer is always going to come through in the characters in some way. My point is this: too much of this and you’re going to end up with the same character twice.

Going back to the hair color example, you may wonder why it even matters what the hero’s hair looks like. Well, I’ll tell you why. I got through five completed novels (and novellas) and numerous uncompleted ones before I realized something: if I were to give a couple of my main characters personality tests, they’d probably end up with mostly all of the same answers as the other one. In the same way if I lined them up, they’d be (for practical purposes) indistinguishable (except, perhaps younger or older.) I realized then that I had to break the mold somehow. The first thing I did was start a brand new novel with a brand new main character. I gave her red hair as opposed to the typical blonde, and things took off from there.

This was significant not because the appearance of the character changed, but because this character was now officially an individual—her own person. She was no longer a character that could be confused with any of my others—even on a surface level. I decided to do this because I realized the importance of doing anything at all different from what I typically did.

[Read more…]

Heaven’s Declaration

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  – John 1:5

 

By Deborah Rocheleau

The darkness was great

darkness so ancient, the days could not be counted

since light had touched the world, 

for there had been no day since that time.

Only wandering stars and tangled

constellations

to offer guidance

 

And then, a pale glow across the world

from somewhere above a beacon, a light

not just another high example of purity

a moon which rose quietly from the horizon

and lit the world in white, a light

vaguely familiar

and brilliant.

 

It cast shadows in the night,

gleaming in eyes that had never seen light

yet the world could not accept the moon as it had the sun

and perhaps hated it for its likeness

and this pristine, alien being

became a symbol

of the night 

and the darkness.    

  [Read more…]

Bad Is Good

Letting yourself write poorly Mr. Sso you can become good.

By Reagan Ramm

Daniel Schwabauer

“Bad isn’t bad. Sometimes bad is good.” – Daniel Schwabauer.

I hear it all the time: “My writing is terrible!”

Almost every beginning writer thinks that their writing is an abomination at one point or another. I’m sure you’ve expressed such sentiments about your own writing before, or perhaps you’ve talked to a writing friend who has lamented over the sad state of their literary work. While I believe some writers do this in order to fish for complements, many really are in despair about the quality of their writing, and for good reason, or so they think.

It’s disheartening when you think about how much of your time, effort, and soul you’ve poured into your writing only to come to the conclusion that it isn’t very good. To give up all the blood, sweat, and tears and not see the results is one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever experienced. It can even be enough to make you quit writing completely.

I recently returned from the One Year Adventure Novel summer writing workshop in Kansas, and while all of the sessions were incredible, the one that stood out most to me was the last session. During this session, Mr. S said the profound words which I have quoted above, “Bad isn’t bad. Sometimes bad is good.” Mr. Schwabauer specifically asked us not to post this quote by him on the internet, but I couldn’t resist.

Of course, the context of that sentence is what is most important. Mr. S wasn’t talking ethics, he was talking writing. I wish all of you could have listened to the entirety of his talk, but you will have to settle for my meager summary.

Mr. S began by explaining how “Creating” and “Analyzing” happen separately. During creation, God first created, and then analyzed, concluding that His creation was “good”. This was God, though. Of course His creation was going to be good. Still, Mr. S insisted, this was the method God used. Perhaps we should try it on for size. We have to let ourselves create, first. We can’t be concerned about whether or not it’s “good” or “bad”. The mere act of creating is good, because it is helping us improve and we are using the creativity God blessed us with.

“Creativity is impossible when wrong or bad aren’t options,” Mr. S continued. It can be utterly paralyzing to sit down to write and then realize that whatever you type is going to be “wrong” or “bad”. “What’s the point?” you might think. Thus, you sit staring at a blank word document, cursor blinking impatiently, until you finally give up.

“Creativity requires risk, and risk sometimes means failure. You have to create bad things before you can create good things.”  Thus, creating something “bad” is actually very worthwhile! You have to get all of your bad stuff out of the way before you can be good. Not writing is the worst thing you could do, because you can’t get any better unless you practice. You’re just delaying yourself from becoming good. You’re prolonging your time as a “bad” writer.

In the writing world, many versions of a quote are frequently circulated, though who originally said it has been disputed. The quote goes something along the lines of:

“Your first million words don’t count – Be prepared to throw them in the trash.”

I’ve only written about 500,000 words. Does that mean everything I’ve ever written has been terrible and a waste of time? Not at all! My writing may not be very good, but that’s okay because no writing is wasted. Everything you write makes you better, and brings you closer to perfection. First you have to make it real. You have to put your writing on “paper”, and then you make it good later. “Bad isn’t bad. Sometimes bad is good.”

But don’t stay bad. Technical excellence matters. Your writing will help someone, even if it’s only you. Writing will help refine your thought process and skill. It can even improve your relationship with God, and God can use your own writing to talk to you. Creating is a god-like act.

Keep writing; keep improving. Let yourself be bad so you can become good. Don’t give up. Be excited. Bad is good.

The One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop

Reclaiming Inspiration

By Reagan Ramm


I just returned from an amazing week at the One Year Adventure Novel summer writing workshop in Kansas, as did many of you. Learning about writing, talking about writing, and hanging out with other incredible writers…trying to boil it all down into an article is pretty daunting.

 

Instead of trying to summarize, I’ll just share the thoughts and feelings I had walking away from it.

 

I had been stuck in the doldrums when it came to writing. It wasn’t so much writers block as it was a complete lack of motivation to write. I felt as though my fiction writing was terrible, and I had become burned out in my non-fiction writing. I didn’t want go through the agony of allowing myself to write poorly in my fiction, and I didn’t want to put in the work to write an intelligent blog post that wouldn’t be misunderstood.

 

Now, I have regained my motivation. As Mark Wilson said, we need “Rivendells”: places of healing and shelter from the world. The workshop was very much like a Rivendell which healed my writing sickness. If you ever find yourself lacking inspiration, I really encourage you to find your Rivendell: a place of safety and healing and creativity. I’m hoping that one day Kingdom Pen can become a Rivendell.

 

I was also reminded of how important it is to have a community of support when it comes to writing. You need people who understand where you’re coming from, and who are chasing the same goal you are. You need to have people there to give you constructive criticism, and honest praise. I received all of these things at the OYAN summer workshop, but we need to keep it going.

 

I can’t wait to get the Kingdom Pen forum up and running so we can form our own community here with KP.

 

Walking away from the workshop, I also find that my commitment to Kingdom Pen has only grown. I now have a strong desire to add novels to the list of artistic mediums we publish. I don’t know what the time table is, but if Kingdom Pen continues to grow, I will take that as a green light to pursue starting a publishing house for Christian speculative fiction and kingdom-building non-fiction.

 

You all are so talented and committed to writing, I want to be able to publish your novels as well as poems and short stories. If this is something you want, there are so many ways you can help.

 

1) Please pray for the future of Kingdom Pen. Nothing is impossible with God.

2) Keep coming back to the website and read all of the submissions from fellow Kingdom Pen subscribers. Just reading will actually go a long way toward allowing us to start a publishing house.

3) Tell as many people as you can about Kingdom Pen. Word of mouth is the best way to help KP grow.

4) Keep writing and keep getting better. The world needs you to be the best writer you can be.  

 

I hope you’re as excited as I am for the future of Kingdom Pen!