A Day in the Country

By Greta Dornbirer

 

Oh, where are you going,

On this sunny day?

To the country I’m a-going.

Why to the country?

The city you should try!

adayinthecountrypost

Oh no! The city is not for me.

For I prefer the country,

Where all is bright and gay.

The night is dark and starry,

And brilliant is the day.

The air is crisp in autumn

The cider is a-brewing.

Everything is rustic.

Birds chirping in the spring,

The smell of sweet honey, [Read more…]

KP Critiques – 23

We are so delighted to be presenting you with our twenty-third installment of KP Critiques!! All of you amazing subscribers who have submitted your work for us to critique, THANK YOU!!! Through your courage you have provided us with substantial material, as well as aided in sharing wisdom to fellow writers. Receiving constructive criticism is never easy, but it’s necessary to grow as a writer!  tobefreefb

So please continue flooding us with your wonderful critiques!

Today’s submission is an excerpt from Tatiana’s novel, To Be Free. 

The Critique

To Be Free 

“Asbee, I have come to expect more from you. I trust you won’t let this happen again,” a round, stern-faced man declared, looking down his nose at his young daughter. “Next time, I guarantee, there will be consequences. Do you understand?”

Hmm. Now I want to know what she did.

The girl bowed her auburn head and meekly answered, “Yes, sir.”

“Good!” her father said, suddenly smiling. “Mr. Jacob, we may proceed,” turning to a balding, hawk-nosed man standing to his right.

“Of course, sir. Miss Asbee, may I escort you out?” [Read more…]

Three Things You Need in Your Climax

The climax.

That point which should be the tensest, most enthralling portion of the book.  Done well, a climax can be simply stupendous.  However, there are also few things in writing that are as bad as a climax done poorly. 3thingsclimaxpost

As one example, there was a series that I was reading a couple years ago that had a ton of promising potential.  It had great characters, gave an amazingly-executed theme, had a thrilling setting, and was explicitly Christian without falling into any of the traps that Christian fiction can have a tendency to fall into.  The first book was stellar and was my favorite novel that I read that year.

But then I came to the second book, which, while it maintained much of the momentum from the first book, failed to have a climax.  It merely set up the last book and thus lacked any real type of conclusion.

I still think the first book is excellent, and still want to finish the series sometime.  But I finished the second book two years ago.  And I haven’t brought myself to read the last book of the series since then.  Despite everything that the series had going for it, it had a distinct lack of a climax.  And that lack killed everything else going on in the series.

Obviously, this isn’t the type of reaction that you want to get from the readers of your book.  While on the outset, the climax may seem rather simple—it’s where everything gets resolved after all—it can often be trickier to execute than it seems on first glance.

“And given how devastating a poor climax can be to an otherwise good book, a lot rides on the success of a climax, so it’s a part of your story that needs to be planned very carefully.”  

There’s a lot that could be said about a novel’s climax—after all, it’s a big topic.  However, as I’ve been thinking of the climax, there are three basic things that every climax ought to have.  Or, rather, three balances.  Let’s look at each of them in turn. [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.

Keystone of The Matter: How to Execute Your Climax

Every element in the construction of a story is important.

The beginning catches the reader, the middle makes them care, and the conclusion satisfies. But the climax…the climax is the keystone of the whole arc. It’s the point which the whole story has been leading to, the turning where success is finally grasped, and the event from which the rest of the character’s life will lead away.keystonepost

And it needs to be done well or the rest of the story, even if it’s well written and intriguing, turns out at bit of a disappointment.

Viewed another way, if the beginning of the story is the foundation of a building, and the middle is the walls, then the climax is the roof…without which you have no house. It is the culminating event in a long chain, during which the main character must finally put to use all he’s learned during the book against overwhelming odds.

The best climaxes will tie together both internal and external struggles.

Regardless of your theme, the internal struggle, be it gathering courage, granting forgiveness, learning sacrifice, etc., is usually solved before the external struggle; [Read more…]

Profile photo of Hope Ann
Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legends of Light novellas and is the Kingdom Pen Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration. You can claim one of her stories for free at: https://authorhopeann.com/rose-of-the-night/

KP Critiques – 22

With overwhelming delight we are proud to be presenting you with the 22nd installment of KP Critiques!! We enjoy all of the effort and willingness from each and every one of you who has participated. We know the great courage it took for you to submit your work to scrutiny and we thank you abundantly! Keep ’em coming! We love your critique submissions. Even if you’ve already sent one in, don’t hesitate to submit another one!  amongwolvesfb

Thank you Kenya for providing today’s critique!

 

“Ok. Two minutes. That’s it. Two minutes, and then you and Josh get out there. Ok?” Crouching behind a parked car, Stürm outlined her plan for two of her closest friends, Blue and Josh. Josh nodded. He pulled a bag of skittles from his pocket and began chewing on a handful.

Blue whispered. “What are you going to be doing?”

Stürm looked at him out the corner of her reddish-brown eyes. Loose strands of black hair from her ponytail stuck to the sweat on her face.  “I’ll be going first.” She slipped around the rear bumper of the car, and stood up.

At the other side of the alley were three other teens, a pair of boys, and a girl. All wore black vests over dark grey shirts with black jeans. One of the boys stood slightly in front of the others and he wore silver chains on his pockets and black gloves.

This might flow easier if it was written as, ‘One of the boys stood slightly in front of the others, wearing silver chains on his pockets and black gloves.’ Or something along those lines.

He had a loose hood on that was pulled up over his head and the shadow from it fell partially over his face. [Read more…]

Exposing The Darkness: Writing Evil…Right – Part 2

By Jamie Dougall

The first part can be found here: Exposing The Darkness: Writing Evil…Right Part 1

 

2. The Story

Every story you write will be different from the others. Each will have its own particular set of limits. We have already established why stories need evil to generate conflict, but we haven’t stopped to ask why you are including these elements in your story. Paul makes an excellent point when he writes there is a difference between participating in the unfruitful deeds of darkness and exposing them (NASB, Eph.  5. 11-12). In writing, that difference is wrapped up in theme. writingdarknessfb

Theme keeps your use of gore and darkness in check because it puts meaning behind the events of your story. Without a theme, we risk losing our way in the darkness.  We risk forgetting our purpose and aimlessly writing evil for no other reason than to create something we hope is ‘entertaining’. As a Christian, this is a very real problem. If you are using gore and darkness solely as a draw card or as your story’s ‘energy drink’, you are not exposing the darkness. You are participating in it.

You can use your theme to set limits for your story by making your conflict, and therefore, your use of darkness, flow out of your story’s theme.

  • Establish what your theme is.

If your theme is something like “Love is powerful”, you will then consider what true love looks like in action. A loving person is sacrificial, caring for others even more than he or she cares for himself.  [Read more…]

2016 Writing Themes Released!

Hello Kingdom Pen!

February Theme Blank

The KP staff is so excited for this new year! Last week, we all got together (many of us meeting in person for the very first time!) and cooked up some pretty cool new treats that we hope to reveal to you soon!

In the meantime, here are the new writing themes for the year, which can also be found under the publishing schedule tab.

 

February:

Romance/love

 

As the month of February holds Valentines Day, we thought it appropriate to make the theme for this month romance and love.

Valentines Day today epitomizes the sad state of love and romance in our Western culture. What was supposed to be a holiday dedicated to a man who was executed for defending marriage during a time when it was banned, it has turned into a time of cheap romance and consumer “love”, or a “SAD” (Singles Awareness Day) day where we bemoan our lack of a romantic partner.

In the same way, so many stories today have taken on this same low idea of romance and love. These ideas are so casually thrown around, misused, and twisted to be used in inappropriate contexts, or to mean something less than what they should.

How can we restore these ideas in our stories to what God intended them to be? How should Christians approach these two elements in their writing? Should teen writers even be writing about romance? How can we write stories that display the immense love of God?

Send in you articles, poems, and short stories that touch on this theme. That’s right! You don’t just have to submit articles that address the monthly theme. Stories and poems are also encouraged! We can’t wait to read what you have to say!

Also, if you want to make sure your submission has enough time to be reviewed and published during the theme month, please send in your submissions one month AHEAD of schedule. So for the month of February, start sending in your submissions now. For the month of March, send in your submissions in February, and so on.

 

Thank you so much! We hope you are looking forward to 2016 as much as we are!

 

March:

Historical fiction

 

April:

Poetry

 

May:

Coming of Age

 

June:

Courage

 

July:

Freedom

 

August:

Politics

 

September:

Foreshadowing

 

October:

Death

 

November:

National Novel Writing Month

 

December:

God/Spirituality

Exposing The Darkness: Writing Evil…Right – Part 1

By Jamie Dougall

 

Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated, or perhaps obsessed, with right and wrong. Mom tells me stories about how I knew there was a right and a wrong way to do something, and would not do anything until I figured out which way was right. Now I’ve grown some since then, and I’ve realized sometimes there is more than one way to get a job done. Still, I have that same desire to get things right, and that desire redoubles when it comes to the written word. writingdarknessfb

After all, once your words are in print and in the hands of your readers, you can never change them. I’ve wrestled with questions like:

  • Is it appropriate to write violence and gore?
  • Is it evil to write evil?
  • How dark is too dark?

Many Christian writers struggle with these questions. We want to craft good stories, we want to “get it right”, but most of all we want to honor a God who hates evil. We feel stuck and kind of dirty, wondering if God is upset because our stories contain so much darkness. We stare at our notebooks or computer screen and ask, “Did I just cross the line?”

In order to truly answer these questions, we must first trace darkness to its root. Why do we include evil in our stories at all? Most would quickly respond, “Because we have to! Stories would be lame and boring without darkness and evil. Nobody would read them.”

But why?

It turns out, the answer is really simple. With the possible exception of survival and “man versus nature” genres, all stories depend upon sin, darkness, and evil to create conflict. If you have good, it seems perfectly natural to have evil come up against it. Christian and non-Christian authors are all in agreement with this idea. Though some authors might protest my word choice, their work testifies to the fact that stories rely on a moral battle to create conflict and generate plot. [Read more…]

Journeying Through Your Novel Part Five: The Midpoint Shakeup

The middle of your novel should be the point where everything gets shaken up… And in this video series, that of course is going to include the camera view.

Part One: The Characteristic Moment

Part Two: The Inciting Event

Part Three: The Pushpoint

Part Four: Tests and Trials (Part I)

Music Credit: Audiomachine

 

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.