Introducing KP Minicourses!

Introducing_MinicoursesHave you ever needed to get a solid foundation on core writing principles really fast?

If so, you may be interested in our newly released KP Minicourses!

KP Minicourses are built on the premise that many writers don’t have time to take an intensive course on every writing subject.

Sometimes they just need a shortcut so they can jump in, quickly learn what they need, and  return to writing.

Today we’re releasing two Kingdom Pen Minicourses.

One minicourse is called How to Create a Compelling Protagonist and explains the five key qualities every protagonist should have in order to enthrall the reader.

The other minicourse is titled The Basics of Writing Genre Fiction and explains what emotions readers expect to experience when reading various works of genre fiction.

Each KP Minicourse is between twenty and thirty minutes long and gives you the crash course you need to go out and write.

Sometimes a short course means a simple course that only covers the basics. That’s not what we’re trying to do here. We don’t want to waste your time with simple lessons that teach you things you already know.

Instead, each minicourse seeks to approach the topic with a unique perspective that helps you situate the topic in the context of our overall goal as storytellers: to tell stories that both delight and instruct readers.

These courses aren’t as comprehensive as our main courses. But they aim to be an effective shortcut to help you start working on your story immediately.

Even better, for this launch week, we’re offering both courses at the discounted price of $7 (normally $10) until midnight Saturday.

If either of these courses interests you, you want to snatch up this opportunity fast.

You can read more about both courses on their sales pages.

Click this link to learn more about what these minicourses offer.

Announcing New KP Staff Members

staffannouncementOne side effect of trying to do everything at once is that you can forget to announce the awesome new people you’ve added to the site team. So without further ado, here we are. We’ve recruited three illustrious interns for our writing team—Gabrielle Pollack, Emily Kopf, and Cindy Green—and we are proud as punch to have them with us. You should begin seeing new articles, book reviews, and poems from them this upcoming month.

We’re also excited to belatedly announce Christi Eaton as our new social media manager. Christi’s been running our social media for a while now and has been doing a fantastic job. If you aren’t subscribed to our various social media channels now, here’s your chance. (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.)

Finally, we’re thrilled to introduce a new web developer to the team. Isaiah Taylor is a rather mysterious fellow, so there’s not much we can say about him, but his expertise will be invaluable to us as we work on updating the site over the coming months.

Read more about our new writing interns below and feel free to wish them a hearty welcome in the comments!

Writing Team Interns

Gabrielle Pollack

Gabrielle PollackGabrielle 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 she looks forward to learning more about her trade.

She dreams of traveling the world and wishes to return to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the heights of the Rocky Mountains, and the sandy shores of the Outer Banks. Gabrielle also wishes to travel to New Zealand and stand upon a rocky perch overlooking a flatland, where she will then quote Lord of the Rings lines in dramatic fashion. Her more realistic goals include becoming a full-time writer and surviving adulthood.

Cindy Green

CindyCindy 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 (though the winter season is consistently extended in the land of igloos and hockey, she has climbed trees in her snowsuit before, and she will do it again). She began scribbling out fiction and keeping a journal at around age seven, and last she checked, hasn’t stopped. Thinking of writing always goes hand in hand with thinking of a quote that she feels captures part of her existence: “I just want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

She deems becoming an intern for Kingdom Pen the biggest of deals in regard to her writing accomplishments, surpassing even her excitement upon placing second in a library contest, having a short story accepted in a nationwide collection, and being frequently published on a blog for young authors.

Aside from obsessing over the arrangement of words and fantasizing about maple-syrup-coated beavertails, Cindy enjoys spending 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.

Emily Kopf

EmilyEmily Kopf has loved books since her mom taught her how, and she reads everything she can get her hands on. After she read Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis at the age of eleven, Emily became obsessed with dragons and fantasy. Now, ten years later, she has invented a few fantasy stories of her own and is determined to make a career for herself in the bookish world. She is studying English Literature in her final year in college, writing scores of book reviews, blogging at Zerina Blossom’s Books, writing epic stories, editing, and helping other authors make a name for themselves.

Emily comes from a creative family, with two self-published authors for uncles. She grew up in the beautiful mountains of the Inland Northwest as the oldest of three kids in a Christian family. She was homeschooled until fifth grade, when she joined a tiny Christian school. Emily loves everything artistic, from singing to macramé to sketching. Most of all, Emily loves Jesus and her family and friends.

Her favorite genres to read and write are fantasy, fairy tales, historical fiction, and sweet romance … or anything clean with a happy ending. A few of Emily’s favorite authors include: Nadine Brandes, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Bryan Davis, Jane Austen, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Currently she is a book reviewer for Kingdom Pen, so if you want her to review a specific book, send in a suggestion to KP for consideration.

Announcing KP’s First Free Writing Course!

FREE_Writing_CourseDo you aspire to write a novel but have no idea where to start?

Do you wish to learn the basic techniques of storytelling?

If so, you’re in luck, because today we’re excited to announce the release of our first writing course.

And we’re letting you all take it for FREE.

In Jumpstart Your Novel: The New Writer’s Guide to Storycraft, author and forum moderator Daeus Lamb outlines the fundamental principles of storytelling and explains what beginning writers need to know to super-boost their writing. He’ll be covering:

  • The seven main points of story structure
  • How to create awesome characters
  • The building blocks of theme
  • How to choose the best POV for your story
  • How to accelerate your growth as a writer
  • …and more

If you’re a beginning writer who needs to drill down the basic techniques of writing, this course will help you jumpstart your growth—and you don’t have to pay a dime! And if you’re already an experienced author, but you have friends who are newbies, this is the perfect resource to introduce them to fiction writing.

Do you want to propel your novel from concept to reality?

Watch the video below to learn more about the course, then click this link to sign up!

A New Focus for 2017

As we beckon in 2017, we prepare ourselves for tragic misadventures that all start with last-minute New Year’s resolutions:

“I’m going to write ten novels in 2017!”a_new_focus_for_2017

“I’m going to write the next [insert favorite work of literature here]!”

“I’m going to stop overusing parentheses (because it gets annoying when you basically could have started a new sentence)!”

It is hard to fulfill New Year’s resolutions (I am my own case in point). Perhaps the main reason we have so many tragic misadventures each year is because we have not yet developed the skills and habits needed to accomplish our resolutions. The good news is that all of us at Kingdom Pen are gearing up to give you the skills and habits you need to achieve your writing-related goals (except maybe the one about parentheses—you’re on your own there, unless you wish to plead for help on the forum).

Where to Get the Skills

Each month we try to center our articles, short stories, and poetry around a Monthly Topic (formally known as Monthly Themes). Since many of you will be interested in writing something to fit those topics, we are making the list for 2017 available for your viewing and planning pleasure here. Challenging yourself by focusing your writing on a certain topic can help you become a better writer. Just ask Josiah DeGraaf, author of “Why Everything in Your Story Must Tie into Your Theme.”

In addition to our Monthly Topics, we are going to concentrate heavily on understanding theme, which is an important topic or idea that the moral aspect of a story addresses. Are you confused? Let’s unpack this a bit.

An Important Topic or Idea

I believe a story should revolve around a single topic or idea (and I think a few notable authors would back me up). Even Charles Dickens’s 135,420-word masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities, has a core theme: resurrection and transformation. Even with all of the wonderful characters and plot twists, ideas and sub-themes, Dickens ties everything together through a central theme and creates a powerful story that leaves an impression on readers.

Notice that the theme is simple. It is not even a full sentence. It is meant to be abstract because everything in the story flows into or out from it. Theme is a subject on which you have an opinion, and your story is your opinion playing out in someone else’s life.

The Moral Aspect

According to John Truby, author of The Anatomy of Story, “Theme may be the most misunderstood of all major aspects of storytelling… Theme is the author’s view of how to act in the world. It is your moral vision.” Say your theme is love. We all know there are right and wrong ways to love and even an opposite of love (hate). But what is the “right” way to love someone? Hopefully that is what your story will dive into. Your characters will likely face moral choices that all pivot on the central theme of love. You will give different characters opposing views on how to love and that will put them at odds with one another, causing tension. Meanwhile, you, the writer, will be displaying a number of ways to love, and in the end it will be clear which one is “right.”

As Christians, the Scriptures inform our moral vision. The only way you will see the world correctly is through the lens of the gospel and God’s Word made flesh (Jesus alive in you). Thus, it is imperative that we ground ourselves in THE Word before we attempt to tell others how to live.

Story

If you are like me, you long to share what you know and care about with others. For writers, this often takes the form of a story. We write to express who we are and what we believe, but we don’t want to shove our views down people’s throats. So we decide to compose a story. Unsure where to start, we look to the great allegories of our childhood like The Chronicles of Narnia. But soon we realize that storytelling is more than making up fanciful creatures and recreating our own version Narnia.

Everything we write should have a heavy focus on theme because it is the heart of storytelling. Without it, a story can feel disjointed, preachy, or even meaningless. It is impossible to sum up the importance and complexities of using theme in storytelling in one article. Thus, we are going to concentrate our efforts on increasing your Mastery of Theme throughout 2017. Watch out for more articles on theme to be published here in the upcoming year.

Teaser News: A Writing Course is Coming!

In closing, I have the pleasure of heralding the following news: we will be releasing our first ever Kingdom Pen writing course this summer. It will be a chance for you to advance your writing to a new level as we guide you deeper into Theme Mastery. That’s all I can reveal for now, but I will also give you this hot tip (because no one said I couldn’t): a limited beta release of the course will probably be announced on the forum, so be sure to check there often in the coming weeks.

Remember, your best hope for completing your New Year’s resolutions is acquiring more writing skills and habits. So be sure to habitually visit us at Kingdom Pen so we can help you become more resolute!

Profile photo of Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton has had what he describes as a scatterbrained adventure of a life that has recently led him to working at Kingdom Pen. When he wasn’t teaching underprivileged children in Uganda and rafting on the White Nile, he was either in Canada’s capital city studying the history of Christianity or in Michigan learning how to make films. Originally from Banner Elk, North Carolina, Michael grew up homeschooled and surrounded by the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. Those mountains inspired Michael’s love of writing (and, let’s face it, the Lord of the Ringsmovies also helped). Many years and adventures later, Michael found himself getting a marketing degree, and low and behold, Kingdom Pen was in need of a Marketing Director. What are the odds that God didn’t see that coming? All divine providence allusions aside, Michael is super excited to get to work in an organization that so closely matches his desires to see more quality content streaming from the minds and hearts of his fellow Christians.

Staff Changes at Kingdom Pen

Welcome, KeePers! When we posted about our new writing interns and director of marketing several weeks back, we thought that would be all the changes to the Kingdom Pen team for a while, but apparently God had different plans.

staffannouncementAs most of you probably know from our previous posts, our illustrious editor-in-chief Reagan Ramm and amazing editor Haley Long are currently engaged to be married! With marriage, however, comes many new responsibilities, which have pulled our two core members away from their work at Kingdom Pen.

In their absence, editor Josiah DeGraaf has stepped up to be the next editor-in-chief of Kingdom Pen. Reagan and Haley will still be involved as part of the newly formed “Kingdom Pen Board,” and they hope to be able to return in a more active role sometime in the future. In the meantime, though, Josiah will be assuming Reagan’s position of leading the team as we continue to put out great content for you all. We have a lot of cool plans laid out already for the upcoming year, and we’re excited to begin showing them to you.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce two new team members to the staff.

Brianna Storm Hilvety is our new copy editor and assistant graphics designer! Brianna has actually been working with the team for a couple months now, but somewhere along the way we forgot to announce her position. *Cough, cough* She copyedits all the posts that appear on the website (which is why you may have noticed an improvement on that front lately) and she also helps to create some of the beautiful graphics that accompany our articles and the quote images we post on Facebook.

Hannah Carmichael is our new editor-in-training! Hannah has been Haley’s apprentice for the past few months and will be transitioning into taking over the editor role from Haley by the end of this year. She will be reviewing all poetry submissions with Mackenzie and uploading the majority of the content (articles, poems, short stories, etc.) to the website.

You can read Brianna’s and Hannah’s bios below.

Brianna Storm Hilvety

Processed with RookieBrianna Storm Hilvety 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.

By the age of twelve, she had devoured several books about the writing industry, could wield a thesaurus with deadly skill, and knew how to format a manuscript for submission to a publisher. During high school, she authored columns in two small Christian periodicals and won an assortment of short story and essay contests. In 2011, she composed a three-part treatise for Homeschool Enrichment Magazine that described the lessons she’d learned while tinkering with two fantasy novels (which still have not been developed or refined to her satisfaction).

After suffering a debilitating case of writer’s block, she struggled with guilt that her own perfectionism was hindering her from fulfilling her calling. But then God placed people in her life who needed her aid in polishing their manuscripts for the cause of Christ, and she realized that her weakness could become a strength if it were channeled differently. Now 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 on the staff of Castle Gate Press and Kingdom Pen magazine.

As a homeschool graduate and an introvert, she is an independent thinker who is not afraid to express her opinions—provided it’s on paper. 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. To explore Brianna’s realm, visit: www.TheLiteraryCrusader.com

Hannah Carmichael

Hannah Carmichael dreams of a world where she can be fully paid to work from home with her three cats and a jar of Nutella, all while wearing her pajama pants.

Hannah is delusional; don’t be like Hannah.

All joking aside and the Lord willing, she hopes to someday be a published author and kick off a fabulous career as a freelance illustrator to glorify God and bless those around her.

Most of her days are spent helping to homeschool her siblings, reading, and editing her two novels in the making.

Although born in Florida, Hannah far prefers her home in Indiana where she lives with her large family and amazing OTP parents. (That she ships very strongly.)

Because of all the awesome support her family and friends provide, someday she may even be famous! Or, at the very least, you might pass her on the street while exiting McDonald’s, but that’s close enough, isn’t it?

If you like, you can follow Hannah on Instagram where she frequently posts her art under the code name watersnail1.
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Finally, we want to thank all of you for following us the past several years and for participating in the Kingdom Pen community! We love the work we do and are excited to be taking these next steps!

Writing Team Update

After much ado from engagements to interviews, ladies and gentlemen, we present your Fall Writing Team Interns and Kingdom Pen’s newest permanent staff member, the Director of Marketing. Prepare to unleash your best barbaric yawp in greeting these fine folks who will serve on the front lines of wordsmithing and kingdom expansion.writingteamupdate

’Twas a noble contest of great proportions. Many lances were splintered, and many inkwells emptied. In the end (and after significant deliberation), we crowned four victors, but for those knights and ladies not selected, we would like to remind you that there will be another opportunity to join the Kingdom Pen Writing Team in the spring! We are so proud of each of you who applied; it is truly overwhelming how much talent and passion the KP community has to offer!

So, today we invite you to lay down your battle axes and swords in favor of some appropriately nerdy confetti and goblets full of sparkling grape juice and welcome those who have been elected to serve the KeePer’s Kingdom. [Read more…]

A Long Love Story With Major Rammifications

At last, the final piece in this mysterious puzzle!bigrevealpost

But first. Let us honor the fallen who gave their lives in the comments section, waiting for this to be revealed.

 

 

[Insert moment]

 

 

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[Read more…]

Writing Team UPDATE

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…

The writing team results are…not in. Long story short (and we will be posting that long story later), we’ve had to delay announcing the selected tributes—we mean, interns—for the writing team and marketing director until further notice. First off, it’s really hard to choose when we’ve received a ton of awesome applications. Seriously, y’all killed it. But that, among a few other things, has led our selection committee to request extra time. Yeah, we have to take you up on that little word “tentative” in our writingteamupdateoriginal post and bump back the announcements for other announcements. Besides, this is America, and we do what we want. Let freedom ring and all that. That’s right; we’re rebels with a cause.

Now, before you go on a manhunt for the staff members with all those medieval weapons we know you own (Seriously, y’all, calm down with the long swords and revolvers, m’kay? It’s like you’re prepping for a revolt or something… Remember, Sarah and Laurel live in a doublewide cardboard box that is very mobile, so you shouldn’t even bother trying to track them down.), we will be announcing something very special around this time on Wednesday. No, not the results, but we promise it’ll be something almost as exciting. Well, for some of you, it may be more exciting than the results, but to avoid spoiling anything, we’ll just leave it at that (although you’re free to make your best guesses in the comments below). We also promise that the results will be announced as soon as we have them!

Until then, hang tight, hold your horses, and whatnot. We hate to KeeP(er) you waiting (Ba-Dum-Tsss), but again we assure you it’ll be well worth the wait when you do hear exactly what’s been going on around Kingdom Pen the past couple of weeks.

Sincerely,

The Kingdom Pen Staff

May Theme – Coming of Age

Hello Kingdom Pen!

May Theme Blank

This month’s theme is “Coming of Age”.

It’s the time of the year when many are closing in on graduation, and by the standards of many, “coming of age.”

The “Coming of age” trope is a common one in fiction. For example, Luke Sykwalker, the lowly farmer boy, is thrown into the middle of a galactic struggle and forced to mature to be able to defeat the enemy.

In every Coming of Age story, a character starts out young and immature, and then grows into adulthood.

How does one write an effect “Coming of Age” story? How do we write effect character arcs showing a character growing in maturity over time? What advice or experiences do you have with with writing these kinds of stories? Send in your submissions post-haste so that we have time to approve and publish them this month!

Next month’s theme is COURAGE! Start writing your submissions for next month’s theme and submit them this month so that we can publish them next month.

We look forward to reading your submissions!

Lyric Writing Contest Results!

The lyrics have been written, the contest has been won, and now we are proud to present you with the final results of your efforts!! Tom and Jo recorded all three songs and they are right here for your pleasure! Let us know what you think.

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Also, don’t forget that KP Radio is open for submissions. As always any submission you have should be sent to the Kingdom Pen email: kingdompenmag@gmail.com If you have any questions feel free to ask! We always love hearing from you.