KP Critiques – 10

We give you our tenth installment of KP Critiques! We greatly appreciate the willingness of our subscribers to subject their work underneath our editor’s scrutiny. While critiques are necessary and greatly beneficial, it’s never easy to put your work out there for all to see, and for it to be publicly critiqued. Thank you for having the courage to partake of this daring endeavor!
(Our editors really aren’t that scary.) KP Critiques Post 1

Thank you, Taylor for providing today’s submission; an excerpt from her novel, The Healer’s Servant.

The Submission

Have you ever looked into the Healer’s shop and pitied the poor soul who had to gather the salamander eyes?  What about the acid leaves for wart-removal powder? Or, and here’s a favorite of mine, dragon fecal matter? Because that poor soul is me. I have burn scars from the acid leaves. I’ve collected dragon dung in a sack, then carried it for three days straight on the journey back to the city. In the middle of Summer.

But no. You don’t know who I am. All you know is Thelma the Great. The Magnificent. Thelma, with her miraculous healing hands. You don’t know the one who gives those hands the ingredients they need to make magic happen. [Read more…]

5 Times Everyone Wants to Quit Their Novel

And What to Do When You Run Into These Points

Us writers can be a moody bunch at times.  And so, in the process of writing a novel, there are several points in it when we’ll just want to give up and quit.  For whatever the reason, the story just isn’t working anymore.  Perhaps it’s the plot-holes that are making our story look more like Swiss cheese than anything else.  Perhaps it’s the roadblocks that our characters keep running up against.  Or perhaps it’s that it just isn’t that good anymore.  Glorified kindling at its best. 5_times_EVERYONE_pinterest

What do you do when you arrive at this point in your story?  Do you do what you’re actively considering and trash it?  Or do you ignore your feelings, press on, and write until you fall in love with your story again?

The short answer?  It’s complicated.  A lot of the time, our feelings can be deceptive, and the best course of action really is to keep writing.  But our feelings can also be right: sometimes a story really does need to be scrapped in exchange for another.

The key is to hold our feelings alongside reason and use them alongside each other.  There are many possible places when the temptation to scrap your novel and start something else will raise its ugly head, but in my experience, there are five main places where it tends to do so.

Let’s look at them and see what sorts of questions we ought to be asking ourselves to determine whether or not we should give into our feelings and quit the novel.

   1. The 10% Mark

In some aspects, beginning a new novel can be a bit like beginning a marriage.  You already have a perfect idea for how the novel should start, your main character is brilliant, and writing prose has never been easier.  And then you hit the five or ten percentage mark and the honeymoon stage is done.  The newness of everything is over.  And the creative spark that you began your novel with is over.  You don’t think your novel has that much promise anymore.

So what do you do about it? [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

How You Can Help Kingdom Pen

Four and half years ago, Kingdom Pen began as a simple eMag comprised of articles, short stories, and poems. Primitively produced with Microsoft Word, Kingdom Pen was founded, run, and written for Christian teens, by Christian teens. It was free, and it was basic, maintained by volunteers.


Kingdom Pen has drastically changed since we began, though we are all still volunteers, and our content is still free.  It is also still our goal to encourage a generation of Christian writers and artists to use their God-given talents to impact the world for good and advance God’s kingdom here on Earth. Our culture is starving for truth—the truth of Christ. As Christians, we have the potential, more than anyone else, to supply this truth. Kingdom Pen wants to be here for the long term to equip you—the bringers of truth.

As it stands right now, most of us on staff are not teens anymore.  Now into our early 20s, many of our staff members are in college, and/or work two or three other jobs in addition to Kingdom Pen. Our free time is very limited so we are always looking for help and new talent to become tomorrow’s leaders of Kingdom Pen.  The current Kingdom Pen staff members were once Kingdom Pen readers who responded to opportunities as they arose to lend their talents as writers, editors, graphic designers, content managers, administrators, and so on.

If Kingdom Pen is going to continue to thrive, it will be as a result of some of our current readership stepping up into active participation as members of the Kingdom Pen staff.

If you’d like to get involved, email us at with the subject line, “I Want To Help!”

If you enjoy Kingdom Pen, and share our vision of encouraging young authors to write for Christ and advance His kingdom here on Earth, then we would love your help in this endeavor! There are many different things you can do to join in and aid Kingdom Pen, and we would greatly appreciate any assistance you can offer.

Here are a few things you can do to help:




Pray for us as we seek first and foremost God’s will above all else. There are a lot of things we would like to do with Kingdom Pen, but they would not be good unless they were part of God’s will.  So join with us in asking God to direct our paths into His purpose for this work.


Read, comment on, and share the posts!


Being engaged on the Kingdom Pen website goes a long way as well. Not only will you be encouraging your fellow Christian writers, but increased activity and sharing will allow more Christians to find Kingdom Pen, and benefit from what KP has to offer.


Subscribe and submit!


Yes! We want you to submit! We want to publish you! So subscribe to our newsletter to be eligible, and send us your writing!


Spread the word!


Tell everyone you know whom you think would be interested in KP. Tell your friends, your homeschool group, and any writers you know. The bigger Kingdom Pen grows, the more resources we will be able to offer you in return!


Buy Merch  


Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, or just for fun, Kingdom Pen Merchandise make great gifts for your Christian writing friends! Not only do you and your friends get an awesome piece of clothing, but you are also helping to support and spread the word about Kingdom Pen in the process!




We welcome those of you who are led to contribute financially to growing the Kingdom Pen platform.

More funds would mean more contests with bigger cash prizes.  It would also help cover our operating expenses related to our web hosting platform, domain name registration fees, design software, etc ., and enable us to invest in other areas to continue to expand and enhance Kingdom Pen.  As stated above, we are all freely donating our time and effort Kingdom Pen, which we are more than happy to do. We LOVE getting to spend our time working for Kingdom Pen, but we hope to someday be able to retain our valuable human resources by competing with those who would entice our staff with jobs that pay money!

Basically, the more funds we have, the more we can improve Kingdom Pen! We would very much appreciate any amount you can donate to the cause of Kingdom Pen!

We are very grateful for all of the support and encouragement so many of you already give us! We are optimistic about the future, and can’t wait to see what is in store for Kingdom Pen in the coming months and years!

Kingdom Pen Interviews Wayne Thomas Batson

Kingdom Pen’s own Sarah Spradlin had the amazing opportunity of interviewing Wayne Thomas Batson, and we are so excited to bring it to you today! We hope you find his words as encouraging as we did!


Kingdom Pen: Deciding to follow Christ is one of the biggest moments as Christians. When did you firstWayne_Batson_Interview_Post accept Christ as your Savior and how has that decision influenced you throughout your life?

Wayne Thomas Batson: Which time? LOL Sorry, couldn’t resist. I think the first time I recognized Jesus as Savior was in 7th grade at an all nighter tennis tournament. The teaching pro was a Christian, gave his testimony, and led us in a prayer. BUT, that said, I’m not certain when the old-to-new transformation happened. The nature of saving faith has always been a little elusive for me. I mean, these altar calls, sinner’s prayers, and 100 other practices have only been around for the last 200 years, so how did people get saved prior to that? Probably just what the Bible says: they believed. And even that faith was a gift from God. So, I don’t worry about the day. All I know is that, within me, there is a great desire to know and experience God. I want to please Him. I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

KP: Many authors have at least one embarrassing story to share about their first novels, short stories, or attempts at either. What was your first “big” writing adventure? Do you look back on it as something to be proud of, or is it something you tuck away into dusty corners and try not to talk about very often?

WTB: Well, The Door Within was originally entitled “The Door Without Hinges.” ROFL Whew, glad God gave me a better idea.

KP: Every author has heard the whispered tales of the horrendous behemoth called “Writer’s Block.” How do you deal with this monster when it comes knocking, and what measures can authors take to avoid a confrontation with the beast to begin with?

WTB: Don’t hate me, but I don’t get writer’s block. Ever. Seriously. God floods my mind with so many ideas that I can’t even keep up with them. There are times when I make my own blocks, spending hours laboring over just the right character or place name, that kind of thing. The worst obstacle for me is mindless surfing on the Web. If not for that, I’d likely have three more novels written. For those who have what we traditionally refer to as Writer’s Block, I’d suggest becoming more of an Outliner. Sketch out the whole plot, chapter by chapter. You’ll always know where you’re headed.

KP: Christian allegory is a growing genre in the book store, particularly in the medieval fantasy area. For those aspiring to be authors in this genre themselves and since you have considerable experience with it, what are some tips and tricks to writing convincing, original, and meaningful Christian allegory?

WTB: Number 1: Don’t FORCE IT. If you dress up a Bible Tract in fantasy trappings and try to pass it off as a story, you are going to infuriate readers and dishonor God. Write the story that is on your heart. Work hard at it. Craft it. Make it sing. If Christ is in your heart, He will shine through. If God gives you a story, tell it well.

KP: Each of your series have a repeated phrase, generally a command or motto, that highlight a significant message that is in the book. For example, in The Door Within trilogy, the knights of Alleble encouraged one another by saying, “Never alone!” Would you encourage other authors to do the same thing, and for authors who do want to put something like this in their books, how would you advise they pick out a phrase that is meaningful but not clichéd or awkward?



WTB: Two answers here: 1) It allows readers to rally around the story world. After all, you can text someone “Never Alone,” and that will bring to another reader’s mind the whole story experience. Endurance and Victory! Hold Fast!—these are things that allow readers to more easily remember the heart of the series. 2) Reason number two: having a “catch phrase” makes it easy to write something during book signings! LOL

KP: Even if we’re always told not to judge a book by its cover, a lot of times that’s the only reason that a potential reader picks up a book. Since you’ve written quite a few novels and even self-published, what are some things that an author should consider when either creating their own cover or picking out of a publisher’s provided selection?

WTB: The Cover is HUGELY important, especially now. My biggest advice here is: be professional. Use a pro artist (Like Caleb Havertape!) and don’t skimp. Also, make sure that the composition of your cover looks good at small scale too. Think: thumbnail pic. In today’s ebook market, that little pic may be the only thing the reader sees. If it looks cool small, readers will click to see it big. If it looks cool big, reader may just buy it.

KP: Tell us a little bit about your new book series, Dreamtreaders. Can we expect to see some more of your familiar medieval fantasy flair, or will this series take a new direction like your new GHOST series?

WTB: Dreamtreaders is a modern dream fantasy, so it’s not medieval per se. The central thought is: what if dreams were more than they seem, that we could travel into them and have control over certain elements? And what if there was something sinister in our dreams, the dark force behind nightmares? What if that force wanted into the waking world, what then? Who would defend us? Seriously, the Dreamtreaders series will blow your mind with imagination. Book 3 in the series, War for the Waking World, will release this October. Get all three at the same time so that you won’t have to wait!


KP: Late last year you wrote The Black Wood for your readers for Christmas that included an epilogue to the final book of The Door Within and also a short story about Nock and Mallik. What was it like getting back into that universe after writing so many other stories since The Door Within trilogy had been completed?

WTB: Very nostalgic. I love those old characters. It’s fun to roll with them once more and, honestly, they have so many more adventures. There are always more adventures…

KP: How has your career as a teacher influenced your writing? Is there any insight that you have gained especially from being around kids and working with them daily that has helped you with writing?

WTB: 25 years of teaching middle school has given me immeasurable insight about the way kids think, their motives, hopes, fears, dreams, etc. One thing I’ve learned is that kids are MUCH MORE perceptive than most adults give them credit for being. I won’t ever dumb down a novel. Kids are smart. Kids are deep. So I need to write that way.

KP: Authors have been known to do some crazy things, not limited to staying up all night to meet deadlines and dressing up as characters and reading to kids. What is one of the craziest things you’ve ever done in the name of writing, and what is one of your most fond memories related to writing?

WTB: I would need to write a novel to answer this question. But I will share this anecdote. When Christopher Hopper and I were writing the Berinfell Prophecies series, we often met for what we termed “Writer’s Bootcamp Weekend.” We book a hotel and just write all weekend long. That can get a little silly at times. At one point, we were both BURNT TOAST mentally. I was flummoxed over a character name, and I think Christopher had revised the same paragraph about 90 times. I began searching “fantasy name generators” online. These are sites that take 1000s of random name or traits and shuffle them randomly. Occasionally, you’ll get something cool, but most of the time, you get hilarious nonsense. I kept clicking the “shuffle” buttons to get new combinations, and it seemed like the more I clicked, the more ridiculously funny the combinations became. Christopher and I were quite literally rolling around clutching our stomachs with the pain-of-laughter. But the crescendo came when once I clicked and the generator gave me: Flatulent barrister gnome! That just killed us. We kept imagining these garden gnomes cutting the cheese and flying around in circles. I know, I know: real mature, right? But you have to understand: 1) we are guys 2) we were completely exhausted and 3) that stuff is funny!

Check out Wayne Thomas Batson’s books on!

wayne-thomas-batson-300Wayne Thomas Batson has spent the last fifteen years teaching Reading and English to middle schools students. He pioneered the active instruction of Strategic Reading in Anne Arundel County and has written Reading and English Curricula for Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, and Howard County Public Schools. Most recently, he helped develop the Challenge Reading Curriculum for advanced readers in Howard County, Maryland.
Wayne Thomas Batson lives in Eldersburg with his beautiful wife of eleven years and his four wonderful young children. Besides dividing his time between family, teaching, and writing, he likes to read, golf, play PS2, travel to the beach, play electric guitar, and create 3D artwork.

Wayne Thomas Batson is the Bestselling author of five adventure novels including the fantasy epic Door Within Trilogy and the pirate duo Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire.


Writing Realistic Sword Fights

By Daeus Lamb

Sword fights are common elements in literature and drama. Everyone wants to include them because they rouse the audience to mountainous heights of tension. What if you have no idea how sword fighting works, though? Even worse, what if you deceive yourself into thinking that you do? Come on, you’ve seen The Princess Bride. Isn’t that what sword fighting looks like? Not even close.


I am not a “master of defense” by any means, but I do know enough to speak with authority on this issue. I was a fencer for about 2 ½ years; I have read books on traditional swordsmanship focusing on medieval and renaissance eras, and have had some practice in them; I even did a thesis paper on what it would have been like to see a sword fight on an Elizabethan stage, including a live demonstration.

If you are considering including a sword fight in your novel but are worried about accuracy, have no fear. I have written this article to give you the basic foundation you need to write such scenes with confidence.

[Read more…]

Profile photo of Daeus
Daeus is the published author of two books, Edwin Brook and Treachery Against The House Of Fairwin. He is a Christian seeking God’s face when he remembers to and finding that that is all he was seeking when he seeks for something else. He is a joker who takes himself too seriously and a sack full of ambition who likes to relax. Among his top interests are poetry, reading, philosophy, theology, gardening and permaculture, athletics, marketing, psychology, and interacting with his friends. You can also find him participating in such activities as ranting about the glories of frozen raspberries or making impromptu music for every occasion.
He also is a fanatic over The Count Of Monte Cristo. Be thou forewarned.
If you would like to sample his work, you can get a free copy of his novella, Treachery Against The House Of Fairwin at the link below.

KPR#6 ~ In Which Bill Myers Imparts ALL His Wisdom


What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The purpose of comedy
  • Using Comedy to present messages
  • The limits of Christian publishing
  • Cowriting with Frank Peretti
  • Nonfic Story and the theme of The Jesus Experience
  • Choosing nonfic vs fic for a theme
  • Bill’s writing routine
  • Eli Book, modern day Jesus story
  • Raising money for Film Adaptations
  • Outlining Process
  • Comedy tips and The Last Fool
  • Christian Film Producing
  • Bill’s Upcoming Projects

Resources and links mentioned in this episode: 



Listen to that one episode you skipped because you had a sudden lapse in your bad judgement on:




Follow Daniel on social media instead of writing at:

Kingdom Pen Forum


Get swagged:


Thanks for listening!


If you liked this episode, please give us an honest rating on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely important, as the more good ratings we get, the more people will be able to find and listen to this podcast! We really appreciate your support!


If you’d like to ask Daniel questions or make suggestions, sign up for our forum and interact with him on the Kingdom Pen Radio board.


Stop by next Monday for the next episode of Kingdom Pen Radio, until then,


Keep writing for Christ,

The KP Team

KPradio E#5 ~ Allegories and Alien Noah’s Ark with Sarah Spradlin





Hiya peeps.  In this lovely episode of Kingdom Pen Radio, we have the equally lovely Sarah Spradlin in studio to talk about the Christian sub-genre known as Allegory.  And, of course, we can’t leave it at that, so we outline our own.  It’s pretty crakalakin.


What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Sarah’s favorite allegories
  • Happy Endings vs Sad Endings (Editor’s Note: Thanks Sarah for using my story as a negative example. Glad I could help!)
  • Elements of allagory and themescape
  • Fantasy as an allegorical medium
  • What an Alien* Noah’s Ark would look like


Resources mentioned in this episode

Would you like to receive lootcrate?


One of the greatest allegories, The Chronicles of Narnia  

Lion, witch, wardrobe

Sarah Sociables:





Chip away at your sanity by re-listening to previous episodes on:



Tell Daniel just how much you hate his guts on the social media most convenient to you:

Kingdom Pen Forum


Thanks for listening!


If you liked this episode, please give us an honest rating on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely important, as the more good ratings we get, the more people will be able to find and listen to this podcast! We really appreciate your support!


If you’d like to ask Daniel questions or make suggestions, sign up for our forum and interact with him on the Kingdom Pen Radio board.


Stop by next Monday for the next episode of Kingdom Pen Radio, until then,


Keep writing for Christ,

The KP Team


*We of course definitely and wholeheartedly believe in tolerance here at Kingdom Pen, and therefore we believe all alien races to be equal. All alien races appearing in this imaginative work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real alien races, living or extinct, is purely coincidental.

Profile photo of Daniel Thompson
Username Daniel (Leinad)
Age 19
What type of writing are you most interested in? Writing for Film/Other Media
How did you hear about Kingdom Pen? I work here, crackers.
Tell us about yourself in 1 sentence: I am the very model of a modern major general; I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral; I know the kings of England and I quote the facts historical from Marathon to Waterloo in order categoricaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.

KPradio E#4 ~ Fantasy, Self-Publishing, and Seat-of-the-Pants with Bryan Davis



“Kingdom Pen Radio: The Only Good Thing about Mondays”


Bryan Davis steps into the house! Daniel talks him through his dragon obsession, they discuss why Bryan loves fantasy so much, delve into dystopia, and give away a book at the end. As is becoming traditional, we’re spoiling you people rotten.


What you’ll learn in this episode

  • Bryan’s dragon obsession
  • Working on projects for long periods of time
  • Unconventional brainstorming
  • Bryan’s writing seasons
  • Bryan’s daily word-counts –
  • Homeschool-dad Life –
  • Bryan actually likes Math and Science, like whaddaheck –
  • How Bryan started writing –
  • Why Bryan loves fantasy –
  • Bryan’s controversial Dystopian novel
  • Bryan’s book release schedule –
  • Hear a wonderful NICHOLAS CAGE POEM –
  • Seat of the Pants writing
  • Self-publishing and the limits of Christian fiction
  • What Bryan reads
  • Bryan’s blog and FREE STUFF


Links and resources mentioned in this episode

Please get free stuff from our sponsor.  Pleeeeeeeease:






Dragon’s in Our Midst, Book 1: 

Dragons In Our Midst


Dragons of Starlight, Book 1:

Dragons of starlight

Oracles of Fire, Book 1: 

Eye of the Oracle


Children of the Bard, Book 1:

Children of the bard


Bryan’s Sociables:






Listen to that one episode you skipped because school started on:




Wisely* spend time chatting with me on social media instead of writing at:

Kingdom Pen Forum


Get swagged:



Thanks for listening!


If you liked this episode, please give us an honest rating on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely important, as the more good ratings we get, the more people will be able to find and listen to this podcast! We really appreciate your support!


If you’d like to ask Daniel questions or make suggestions, sign up for our forum and interact with him on the Kingdom Pen Radio board.


Stop by next Monday for the next episode of Kingdom Pen Radio, until then,


Keep writing for Christ,

The KP Team


*We cannot guarantee that spending your time chatting with Daniel would actually be wise, or even necessarily healthy. You should not chat with Daniel if you have a heart condition, as the resulting conversations could lead you to collapse into giggling fits potentially leading to heart failure. Converse at your own risk.

Profile photo of Daniel Thompson
Username Daniel (Leinad)
Age 19
What type of writing are you most interested in? Writing for Film/Other Media
How did you hear about Kingdom Pen? I work here, crackers.
Tell us about yourself in 1 sentence: I am the very model of a modern major general; I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral; I know the kings of England and I quote the facts historical from Marathon to Waterloo in order categoricaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.

Fight Scenes 101: Writing The Fight

By Mark Kamibaya


You’ve got your fight scene all figured out. You’ve followed the five basic scene planning principles and have made sure to keep character at the forefront. Now for the hardest part: writing the fight scene.

A picture is worth a thousand words (or so the saying goes). So if a picture is worth a thousand words then how many words is a movie worth (24 frames per second and about two hours long)? Movies fightscenespost2seem to have supremacy over books especially in the area of fight scenes. Action is very much a visual journey. Would you rather read:

John turned left and punched the man with his right hand, but the man dodged the punch and returned that punch with another punch straight to John’s face.

or see it happen? Movies even have the advantage of hearing the sound of things we’ve never heard before supported by the greatest emotion mover, music. But if movies reign supreme, then why do we always hear that the book is better? There are only two advantages that books have over movies. And we need to use them to turn something visual, like action, into something experiential.

First, character connection.

The power of this is in the reader. Books can show the reader the thoughts of characters. Their internal choices and battles. Readers step into the shoes of the character and join them on a journey at the same time. This is why the book is always better than the movie. You can never be closer to someone other than yourself than with the character of your favorite book. The depth of the relationship is so close it cannot exist off the page.

Note: Actually it can exist off the page. But only divinely. [Read more…]

Fight Scenes 101: Planning The Fight

By Mark Kamibaya


More often than we would like, we read fight scenes. And more often than we would like, we read boring fight scenes.  Fight scenes that don’t keep us on the edge of our seat, but make us flip pages to see when it ends. So how can we make gripping fight scenes that engage and enthuse our audience? It takes both careful planning and considerate writing.  fightscenespost

Planning the Scene

A fight scene is a fight scene. Therefore, you should plan it in the same way you plan all your other scenes. So approach it using thesefive simple scene planning principles.

First, every scene needs to advance the plot.

This isn’t easy. It’s hard to cut scenes you’ve worked hard on. Some scenes are there just to show your great writing skills. Cut them. Some scenes don’t exactly advance the plot, but give great characterization moments (like showing a protagonist has awesome fighting skills). Cut it. Worst case scenario is the reader will put down your book because she’s always losing the plot. Any scene that doesn’t advance the plot needs to be cut.

Second, pace your scenes.

Two big secret reveals in a row? Hinges on melodrama. Two character deaths in a row? Too much angst. Two major fight scenes in a row? Boring. This applies to fight scenes even more because some authors (usually guys) love action so much they just stick it in at every opportunity for any excuse. “Well, I’ll put a fight scene in here because it will show that Bobby likes kittens so much he literally fights for their rights!” (Also a great characterization moment) Please, no. [Read more…]