Faith

By KayleighAnne Stanton

“What is faith?” my teacher asked,

his brow furrowed in wonder.

He didn’t know how I stayed strong

while the world was pulled asunder.

I could have given him a simple answer,

but instead I did not.

Faith

For Christ is king and died for me—

and that He would have not.

So I looked at him and smiled,

and began at the place to start,

sharing a song from my very heart.

[Read more…]

How Villains and Side Characters Can Deepen Your Protagonist’s Character Arc

The core of story is conflict. If your story contains no struggle, it’s just a tale about nobody important who never overcame anything. Conflict takes many forms; physical, mental, and spiritual conflicts are all crucial, and even necessary. Ideological conflict, however, is invaluable to developing character arcs. Without it, your protagonist won’t grow because his beliefs are never questioned. Ideological conflict is often facilitated by villains and side characters who challenge the hero’s beliefs and worldview. If you start with your protagonist, creating these characters is relatively simple.How_Villains_and_Side_Characters_Can_Deepen_Your_Protagonist_s_Character_Arc

How to Create an Effective Villain 

Let’s say your hero has a positive change arc. This means your protagonist initially has a negative Experiment in Living and clings to a lie that damages or hinders him somehow. Over the course of the story he learns the truth, which he eventually uses to replace the lie and defeat the villain. [Read more…]

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Gabrielle Pollack currently resides with her family and many cats amidst a small wood she wishes was Narnia. Her interests are varied, and when she isn’t writing or studying, she enjoys karate, archery, introverting, and hanging out on the Kingdom Pen forum. She relishes the cool wind that rushes in before a thunderstorm, the scent of fresh rain, black clouds, and in summary, all things storm. As a lighthearted INFP, she loves horses, spring, strawberries, and sitting on the roof of her house.
She fell in love with stories many years ago and immersed herself in epic books like The Kingdom Series and The Peleg Chronicles, living the adventures and loving the characters. It took her a while to realize she could write epic stories herself, but once she did, she was a lost cause. She never quite recovered her sanity and often rants about good storytelling to innocent bystanders. Gabrielle has written two books since, and has a plethora of other ideas swirling inside her brain, waiting to turn into people and worlds. She desires to glorify God through her books, short stories, and blog, and looks forward to learning more about her trade.

KP Book Review: For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

From birth, Lady Sabine’s arm has been blotched by a bizarre birthmark. In a culture where beauty is regarded as symbolizing the state of a person’s soul, a slip of her glove could have her branded as a witch and killed. But despite all the pressure, Sabine dreams of finding acceptance from her friends, community, and God.For_Love_and_Honor

For Love and Honor is the third and final book in Jody Hedlund’s An Uncertain Choice series. Although readable as a standalone novel, it features many of the main characters from the first book in the series, namely Sir Bennet, Sabine’s counterpart. [Read more…]

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Emily Kopf is a voracious reader with a love of all things fantasy, fairy-tale, and happily-ever-after. She is a twenty-something college student studying English Literature and Christian Studies to learn how to harness her two passions into some kind of career in the Christian book-ish world. In the meantime, she writes Zerina Blossom’s Books, reads and reviews books constantly, and dreams of faraway places and a handsome prince. Back in the real world, you can find her making pretzels, volunteering at church, crafting beautiful things, and spending time with friends and family.

Majesty Complete

 By Joy Peklenk

The ground I stand on shrinks below my feet

As does my soul and my great worlds inside

As I gaze up to majesty complete

To glowing specks of fire that melt my pride

Majesty_Complete

How distant are those hypnotizing dots

How radiant those terrible ghosts of light

And all of this land’s sights and sounds, they rot

When my young eyes and those ghost lights unite

[Read more…]

Beyond the Evil Overlord: Three Dynamic Character Arcs for Villains

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a hero in possession of reasonable talents and good looks must be in want of an arch nemesis.”Beyond_the_Evil_Overlord

Although the above statement is nothing more than a bad Jane Austen paraphrase, every writer knows that a story is vapid without a villain. Without darkness, how will the light shine through? No one can test, provoke, or push the hero to reach his full potential the way a villain can. In all likelihood, without the villain, the hero would still be a poor moisture farmer in a planetary backwoods.

But even though we recognize that a villain is essential to the success of a story, we tend to focus our efforts on fleshing out our protagonist’s motivation and personality. We may create the most unique and compelling character of the century, but if our main villain is a lazy, dark-lord-Sauron imitation, the story’s overall quality will be reduced.

A stagnant villain is a boring villain. With that in mind, let’s examine three dynamic character arcs villains can follow. [Read more…]

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Sierra Ret is a homeschool student who spent nearly her entire childhood with her nose buried in a book, and consequently decided she wanted to write one of her own (preferably filled with dwarves and elves). Actually getting her thoughts down on paper regularly has proven to be a far greater challenge than she first thought, but Kingdom Pen was kind enough to step in and give her some much-needed deadlines by honouring her with a temporary spot on their writing team. When not hermiting behind a laptop screen, Sierra enjoys gallivanting across Canada and adventuring near her home in rural Ontario with her family. Currently her chief fantasies include making a living as a travel blogger and someday moving to New Zealand. But above all, her chief aim is to live a passionate and meaningful life for the glory of God.

KP Book Review: The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Some books that start out bitter end up being the sweetest of all.

C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle lacks the charm, magic, and wonder the preceding stories possessed. An unsettling gloom lurks over the land as the story opens with two of the few talking animals left in Narnia, an ape named Shift and a donkey called Puzzle.The_Last_Battle When Shift and Puzzle find a lion skin, the ape gets the brilliant idea to masquerade his dumb donkey friend as the great lion Aslan, fooling many. Upon hearing the news that Aslan has been spotted in the country, King Tiran and Jewel the unicorn are thrilled, until they realize terrible deeds are being performed in Aslan’s name. Dryads are being murdered, talking horses abused, and Calmorenes are invading.

“Do you think I care if Aslan dooms me to death?” said the King. “That would be nothing, nothing at all. Would it not be better to be dead than to have this horrible fear that Aslan has come and is not like the Aslan we have believed in and longed for? It is as if the sun rose one day and were a black sun.” (Pg. 30)

[Read more…]

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Christine Eaton is a college student who loves stories and hopes to publish children’s books. Wearing flip-flops in December, frequenting the beach, and taking every opportunity to visit Disneyland, Christine relishes living in sunny Southern California. She can usually be found happily sipping tea, memorizing lines from the latest play she is a part of, caving into her addiction to chocolate, writing encouraging snail mail, or listening to music, which is usually something folky like Andrew Peterson or the Gray Havens, or some Broadway musical (and rarely anything landing between those two categories.) Art is one of her largest passions, and her walls are covered in her sketches and paintings. Christine yearns to use her skills to glorify God by illustrating and writing her own children’s books that will teach children more about Jesus. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson. She is so thankful for the opportunity to manage Kingdom Pen’s social media accounts and help out around the Kingdom wherever she can. From the encouragement, enthusiastic young Christian writers, and her fellow staff members, KP holds a huge place in her heart and she is excited about encouraging young writers to write well and glorify God through their writing.

Greenflower

A sunflower grows

in the melting blue of an ombré pot

on the windowsill of my sunlit room.

The suggestion of my supportive friends

Greenflower

is advice I can attest to:

It benefits a plant

if you talk to it

and sing to it,

and whether it’s owed to the music of my voice,

or the carbon dioxide brimming from my lips,

I talk anyway,

and I wonder

if it would help me grow

if I could hear You talk to me.

[Read more…]

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Cindy Green is a Canadian homeschool student who wants to live in a world where rain is colorful and mint chocolate chip ice cream is acceptable for daily consumption. But she is contented to live in one where dogs exist, fireworks are a regular occurrence, and trees are climbable objects. She began scribbling out fiction and keeping a journal at around age seven, and last she checked, hasn’t stopped. Aside from obsessing over the arrangement of words and fantasizing about maple-syrup-coated beavertails, Cindy spends her time playing piano, looking at pictures of outer space, loudly singing along to music, exploring the dictionary, attempting Highland dancing, and reading. She hopes to someday publish a book of her own, learn to skateboard without getting scraped, and witness the aurora borealis in the Yukon. Most of all, she wants to live her life colorfully and passionately for the glory of a good God and to point to her Creator as the source of all joy.

How to Write an Unlikable Hero

A dark, brooding hero isn’t particularly nice to anyone, and he is particularly mean to a few nice people. A tragic event in his past has shaped his sour outlook on life. He might live on 221B Baker Street, or he may call up CIA agents just to tell them they look tired. He’s conflicted, fearless, and terrified.

Also, he’s very popular in modern YA fiction.How_to_Write_an_Unlikable_Hero

But, unfortunately, failure awaits those who attempt to write him. A dark, brooding, unlikeable character is … unlikeable. The chances are slim that he will hold readers’ attention through a book.

Many authors try to skirt the problem by throwing in backstory that explains how the hero became such a jerk. They think readers will pity and ignore the hero’s rough edges if they understand that he lost his parents at a young age.

Wrong. [Read more…]

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Raised on C.S. Lewis and matured (to whatever extent) on Tolkien, Brandon Miller is a huge fan of Christian speculative fiction. His favorite stories artfully bend the physical reality to reveal spiritual realities which apply to all realms, kingdoms, districts and solar systems (including our own.)
When not writing fiction Brandon spends his time tending his blog The Woodland Quill, sportsing, or just struggling through that last-year-of-high-school/first-year-of-college which is really neither but is definitely both.

KP Critiques – 38

Welcome to the 38th edition of KP Critiques! May others be inspired by your bravery, Lady Alia. Even the most skilled wordsmiths shudder at the sight of an editor’s dagger, but it’s a necessary training procedure. Although you may emerge with blood splatters on your hands, your sword will be sharpened and your story will wield more impact.KP Critique 38

Now, onward to the exploration of Alia’s tale!

Everyone knelt there, heads bowed, feeling as helpless, though maybe not as furious, as he did. He wanted to fight, wanted to do something, but he was terrified, same as everyone else. Until someone lifted their his chin, and stood up. He didn’t know how, but sSomehow everyone in the clearing knew sensed that some idiot had looked up. Stupid, stupid. Now we’re all going to die. He didn’t dare look up himself,; after all, he might be shown mercy. Had not his family been faithful? Had not his family sacrificed everything? [Read more…]

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Brianna was born with a rumble in her veins. She finds the tap of a keyboard to be soothing like the pitter-patter of rain. She has been a writer for a decade, a freelance editor for a few years, and a bibliophile from the moment she pronounced her first syllable. Proudly a Silver Member of The Christian PEN, she serves on their team as Graphics Coordinator. She exudes her passion for speculative fiction and helping young writers by being an Associate Editor at Castle Gate Press and the Copy Editor/Director of Graphics for Kingdom Pen. When she isn’t poring over words, she may be spotted shooting her Canon, riding The Breeze (an all-terrain vehicle), or romping with her dog, Zookie. Purple is her signature color, and she refuses to recognize all other claims to it.

How to Cope When Your Manuscript Is Black and White and Red All Over

You did it. You sent your manuscript out to be appraised by someone else—and you’re not sure whether to shout hurray or groan. Maybe you’re trying to get published, or maybe you’re just seeking feedback. Maybe this is the first time you’ve shown your work to someone, or maybe it’s the one-hundredth time. Whatever the case, you’ve placed your writing in someone else’s hands and now you’re trembling and biting your nails as you await the results.

Black_and_White_and_Red_All_OverThen you hear the flutter of paper, the ding of an e-mail, or the shuffle of the mailman, and your precious bundle arrives. But as you open it, you gasp at all the bloodstains marring the pages, and you wrestle with one of two thoughts:

  1. I must be a horrible writer!
  2. This person doesn’t understand me or my piece, and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Both of these reactions are wrong, and neither is good for your morale as a writer (although at least the first displays humility). You’re understandably feeling stung, but before you start sobbing or chopping off any heads, pause to pray for wisdom. To endure criticism and emerge a more astute writer, you need to analyze five factors. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Brianna Storm Hilvety
Brianna was born with a rumble in her veins. She finds the tap of a keyboard to be soothing like the pitter-patter of rain. She has been a writer for a decade, a freelance editor for a few years, and a bibliophile from the moment she pronounced her first syllable. Proudly a Silver Member of The Christian PEN, she serves on their team as Graphics Coordinator. She exudes her passion for speculative fiction and helping young writers by being an Associate Editor at Castle Gate Press and the Copy Editor/Director of Graphics for Kingdom Pen. When she isn’t poring over words, she may be spotted shooting her Canon, riding The Breeze (an all-terrain vehicle), or romping with her dog, Zookie. Purple is her signature color, and she refuses to recognize all other claims to it.