Author: Josiah DeGraaf

Five Overused Clichés in Christian Fiction (and How to Avoid Them)

I have a love-hate relationship with Christian fiction. On the one hand, the genre has immense potential, because it transcends what it means to live as a human being to explore what it means to live as a Christian. When these stories are done well, like Dave Swavely’s Silhouette, Richard Ramsey’s The Song (yes, I’m aware this is a movie), or Sigmeund Brouwer’s The Last Disciple, they often become my favorites. On the other hand, the titles I’ve listed are the cream of the crop. For every exceptional Christian novel I read, I typically wade through five or six...

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Character Types: The Evil Overlord

It was only a matter of time before a video series on character stereotypes would get to the evil overlord character. And so here we are. The overlord character often struggles to be much more than a cheap Sauron rip-off. And it often struggles to be more than a Sauron rip-off because readers assume that Sauron is the perfect villain. Here’s the problem. Sauron isn’t the perfect villain–he isn’t even a particularly interesting one. “What?” all my fellow Tolkien-fans are now saying. “How can Sauron not be an interesting villain?” Watch the video to understand why. Previous Stereotypes: The Strong Female...

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Three Ways Gender Differences Should Impact Your Story’s Character Arc

A character arc is the process by which your protagonist grows and changes over the course of a novel, and thus it is the foundation for building your novel’s theme. Many writers have already expounded on how you should weave a character arc throughout a novel. But one aspect of character arcs that seems to be neglected is how a character’s gender impacts his character arc. In real life, men and women sometimes change in similar ways, but often they don’t, and this should be reflected in storytelling. I realize that this statement contradicts the vibe of our culture, which seeks...

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How Advice from a Chess Grandmaster Can Transform Your Writing

One of my favorite classes that I took at a homeschool co-op during high school was a chess class taught by a local grandmaster. I learned many different chess openings, position tactics, and endgame tactics, all of which improved my chess strategy. One day the grandmaster was explaining a game he won against another high-ranking chess player. He pointed out that one move in particular was important because it served multiple purposes. His words stuck with me: “In chess, a mediocre move only does one thing. A good move does two things at once. But a great move does...

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KP Book Review: 5 Editors Tackle The 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing by C.S. Lakin et al.

Sometimes you read a book about writing and enjoy it, but you never think about it after you put it back on the shelf. Other times a book immediately earns a spot in your section of writing resources that you reference regularly. This book is definitely one of the latter. C.S. Lakin, the author of over a dozen novels and several books on fiction writing, joins four other editors to do what the title says: tackle the twelve fatal flaws of fiction writing. These flaws include everything from backstory dumps and POV violations, to overwriting and pacing problems. And...

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