KP Book Review: Northanger Abbey

If you’re like me, as an avid reader or writer, you’ve probably imagined what it would be like to be the hero or heroine of your own little story. northangerabbey

And that’s what makes Northanger Abbey such a fun and entertaining book to read.  The book’s protagonist, Catherine Morland, is essentially a protagonist who does just that: she grew up reading tons of books, and thus she now views herself as a sort of heroine whose story is currently unfolding.  Like any Jane Austen protagonist, Catherine is a single woman in search of a husband.  And so, as the book unfolds, Catherine tries to compare herself with the heroines of the books that she’s read as she tries to find a spouse. [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.

KP Critiques – 26

We are so delighted to be presenting you with our twenty-sixth 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!  digitallyblind

So please continue flooding us with your wonderful critiques!

Today’s submission is an excerpt from Sarah Lim’s short story, Digitally Blind

The incredible submission!

The package was addressed to a Miss Lunaeira Evans who lived somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Job Holt, thirty-seven years old and still of no considerable mark in life, fingered absently at the wrapping twine and set the package down on the seat next to him.

“fingered absently at the wrapping twine” A little awkward to read.

Postman. Archaic term for a now highly advanced technological role in society. Every day Job filtered through the endless influx of mind-messages. Instant intrigue here! Statistically speaking, one in every thousand mind-messages was reportable. But reporting the treason never gave him any extra income—it was all part of the job. What earned extra revenue would be those once-in-a-blue-moon physical packages, such as the one addressed to Miss Lunaeira Evans. Even then, not every physical delivery was as lucrative as what could be dug out of the trip. [Read more…]

Hard Love: How Shedding Romance Can Highlight Love

Stories follow a familiar pattern because it works. When it comes to character archetypes, we have the Hero, Villain, Mentor, Ally, and Love in just about every story. Usually, the weakest of these is the Love.  This is because in an adventure novel, the main story goal is not to “get the girl” (or boy as the case may be), which means your Love character will become the object of a subplot. This leaves less time available for pursuing the Love. Less time for the Hero to be rejected, overcome the rejections, and eventually win the Love. hardlovepost

As a result, romantic subplots usually feel unsatisfying because we get the sense that winning the girl (or boy) isn’t as important as defeating the villain. How many movies and books can you think of where obtaining the Love interest was way too easy, and seemed to just be tacked on at the end, like a bonus prize? Throw in some extra-marital romance, perhaps a kiss here and there, and this all adds up to cheapen love, rather than esteem it. Many books and movies bombarded us with the fantasy that “love is all you need”, but the “love” they speak of is NOT real love. It’s just the glossy icing on the cake, lacking the deep richness that true love actually renders.

“It is love that sustains romance, but our culture would have us believe it is the other way around, and that romance sustains love. We cannot perpetuate this myth in our stories.”

So many stories today want to pitch us the easy, cheap, and “free” kind of love which is just an imitation, a vapor that doesn’t last when divorced from its foundation, a foundation based on sacrifice; hard love.

For most young writers, I think they would be better off leaving out a Love subplot altogether. Pulling off a real, meaningful Love subplot that esteems the real deal is a difficult task. On top of that, it’s hard to write appropriate, believable, and positive examples of romance into your story. Even if your characters are married, for young writers, it can be difficult to pull this off.

However , this does not mean we should abandon love. We need stories that show what we are missing. We need stories with hard love. Therefore, for beginning writers, if you want to write a Love subplot, write one that doesn’t include any romance.
[Read more…]

7 New Reasons to Love Microsoft Word

In a world where gaining and maintaining writerly motivation is about as hard as putting down a good book, we need all the help we can get, and these simple time-savers are sure to appeal to the tech-savvy soul and maximize your motivation—no matter how long that motivation lasts. microwordpost

Before you start celebrating with your characters, however, beware: these tid-bits will minimize one of your secret guilty pleasures: formatting. For hours. Don’t deny it. Everyone knows that the first 24 hours you spend on your novel consist of font choosing, chapter headings, and paragraph formatting. Writer’s block? Must be something about those pesky margin settings.

So, if ye be brave, tread on and learn a few not-so-well-kept secrets of Microsoft Word.

1. CTRL+Z – Microsoft’s Eraser

 Make a mistake? Realize that the sentence you just erased was actual gold? Delete the entire document by accident? Decide you really liked the format from three-hours of tweaking ago? Use this tool to remedy your most spectacular blunders and make it like they never happened.

 2. CTRL+V – Paste All the Things

 Any time you’re moving things from one place to another—be they words, chapters, documents, pictures, or entire folders, this handy shortcut will save you a right-click and scroll. Simply cut or copy as usual and follow this command to paste whatever you want wherever you want it (or wherever your cursor is blinking). [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.

KP Critiques – 25

With overwhelming delight we are proud to be presenting you with the 25th 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!  chosen

Thank you Kate for providing us with this awesome submission!

‘Edsel glanced sideways at the king and studied him searchingly from beneath half lowered eyelids. “You are afraid,” he remarked after a moment, the tiniest smile touching his lips. But it was not a warm smile— rather the touch of some new chill upon a frostbitten face of stone.

What if you cut out the “but it was not a warm smile, rather” (for one it breaks up the flow of the story) and just said, “touching his lips. Like the touch of some new chill…” ?

“What is it you fear? Is it me? Or is it something having to do with the war?

This sounds immature for a man to say.

Or perhaps you doubt your own fitness to lead so great a venture.”

This fits better.
[Read more…]

Only A King

By Emma Travis

He loved his kingdom.  Every earthly ruler who had ever taken up the scepter had looked to the stunning beauty of his dominion and yearned for it in their hearts.  The crown upon his head was not taken lightly, nor considered a mere decoration.  To the king, it was a seal.  A promise and a binding oath.  His people would be safe.  He would lead them in every attack, be the last to leave in every retreat. onlyakingpost

The thousands, millions of lives that looked to him for guidance were struck every time they laid sparkling eyes on their king.  He wasn’t haughty.  Nor was he arrogant.  Without a word nor any sound, he made it overwhelmingly clear that he loved his people.  In his heart, he felt the zealous and passionate love that could be found in a new father, looking down at his newborn child.  None could describe the depth or strength of a father’s love.  A king’s love.

 

He was looking out over the land visible from his palace, a castle beyond anything that mortal men had ever dreamt of before its ancient construction.  Towers stretched upwards as if they would pierce the sky itself.  Banners were waving on a gentle wind, the colors easily visible: a lion, regal and fierce, embroidered in white and gold.  Fields of wheat, waving like liquid sunshine, were rippling far below, contrasted to the vibrant forests just beyond them.  He looked silently upon the land unparalleled in its beauty, but grief, not peace, was in his heart.

He knew that the prince from the east was causing pain among his people again.  The bold, defiant knight had defected from the king’s household and tried to overthrow him.  He had little known then that this king was not to be overthrown, but the fact was now widely recognized with fear and trembling after observing the prince’s fortunes.  The knight had been defied and defeated by the king himself and banished forthwith from the kingdom of his origin.  More than seven-hundred of the king’s lower knights had defected with him and had established themselves in the neighboring territory to the east.  Raids and terrorizing attacks had been constantly coming in waves against his dear people.  More counterattacks had been issued, and the prince’s forces were always pushed back.  Always. [Read more…]

The Challenge of Love: Writing Love

Why does love in so many books or movies get relegated to the narrow confines of romance? Yes, romance is love, though much of what is portrayed nowadays is a very shallow love at best. But there is so much more to love than a love triangle or tangled romance. Love can be deep or shallow, directed towards self or others, portrayed in a godly manner or otherwise. There is so much one can do with love as they create characters and stories, be it the presence of love or its absence.  challengeoflove

The most important love which affects your character’s life is their love for God.

Whether the story takes place in the real world, or in a fantasy one ruled by a Great King, the love (or absence of love) for God molds and shapes the character and his worldview. At one end is a character who loves because of the grace and love given to him, who follows such love by obeying the orders of their God, and who shows the same love to others. On the opposite end is the one who disregards the love of his King, who loves only himself and works only for his own gain.

Of course, between these two, there is a wide range of characters, from those who love but don’t trust, to those who are lukewarm, to those who love greatly but place their love on the wrong object or show it in the wrong ways.

There is always going to be some love somewhere: be it for self, for a child, for a leader, for a nation, or for a god. And that is where fascinating backstories can come into play. What does the character love most above everything in the world? Why does he love? And is the object and reason of his love the greatest there can ever be, or might someone else come to his aid and claim that love for his own? And does the love of one beget more love, as in the case of loving God, or does it cause bitterness and hate further down the road?

The most difficult love in your character’s life will probably be loving their enemy.

[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/

10 Romance Cliches to Boycott

Romance. Generally, a genre I choose to steer clear of. Always. Which can occasionally put me in an awkward situation. Being a girl and all. I am just more of an action girl. It has always been my favorite. But I hear the word ‘romance’ and wince.  I have nothing against those who love writing romance fiction; it is simply not my strong point. (Believe me, I tried. Don’t ask about it. It was ugly.)romaticclichespost

Besides all this, I do appreciate some romance fiction; properly executed, I really love it. My favorite romance author is Francine Rivers. She is fantastic with the unexpected. I never know what direction the story is going to take, she keeps me guessing the whole time. I highly recommend her Mark of the Lion series.

Part of the reason I dislike a lot of romance is because of the way many writers handle it. So, I have compiled a little list of clichés and pitfalls in romance fiction. A lot of these I learned from experience when I attempted a romance.

1. Perfect guy falls for boring girl

The biggest cliche of all romance fiction. I am guilty of using this method in one of my stories. The nobody girl, struggling in life, not confident with her body, meets the hot, handsome, and successful guy who magically has interest in her over tons of other hot girls. Practically everyone has had this idea roll through their head while considering romance in a story. It’s pretty typical. Awfully typical. This ties in with my next point.

2. The perfect guy

This one is the worst. It is all over the place. The guy has the absolute perfect body, great career path, and is fantastic at everything. But then, sometimes you have the counterpart, which can be equally annoying. [Read more…]

Agape Poems

 

First Love

Peter Venable

 

We loved him because he first loved us.

            —1 John 4:19.

 

[Love] is an abyss of illumination, a fountain of fire, bubbling up to inflame the thirsty soul.

— St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

 

For the beauty of your face,

Body clothed in glowing lace.

For your touch, which since our birth,

Gave us faith and cosmic worth.

From your life we conquer death,

Safe beyond our final breath.

 

agapepinterest

 

Your love, a fount of fire,

Your love, a blazing spire,

All of this, we are immersed.

The greatest gift? You loved us first. [Read more…]

Journeying Through Your Novel Part Six: Tests and Trials (II)

kpcinemapost

Check out our latest video, in which we revisit the same topic again, engage in shameless advertising, and generally enjoy making fun of each other as we try to explain how you should write a novel.  In other words, everything’s running as usual in our ongoing Youtube series.

 

Buy our merchandise: KP Swag Shop

Part One: The Characteristic Moment

Part Two: The Inciting Event

Part Three: The Pushpoint

Part Four: Tests and Trials (Part I)

Part Five: The Midpoint Shakeup

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.