I Should Be

By Ingrid Dornbirer

With Jesus inside me,

I should be strange,

White against a sea of black.

I_Should_Be

With Christ in charge,

I should be lovely,

A rose among thorns.

[Read more…]

How to Resist Writing Stereotypical Fantasy Races

A fine line separates inspiration and imitation, or so the saying goes. Writers struggle to define this boundary more than most artists—they are, after all, rearranging the same twenty-six letters in various patterns judged to be the most pleasing to the mind and ear. The number of plots guaranteed to captivate readers is also limited (falling in love, freeing the kingdom, solving the mystery). Since fantasy writers have immersed themselves in the worlds of their literary heroes from childhood, they cannot help subconsciously modeling their own stories off them.How_to_Resist_Writing_Stereotypical_Fantasy_Races

Thus, it is unsurprising that many books seem to be penned by copycats, or just another Lord of the Rings rip-off. Nevertheless, original fantasy works with fascinating new species are still being written and enthralling audiences. What are these authors doing differently?

To answer this question, let’s examine the staple of high fantasy: the common elf.

How Tolkien Reinvented the Elf

These mythical beings predate recorded history and intersperse Anglo-Saxon, Icelandic, Germanic, and Scandinavian tradition. [Read more…]

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Sierra Ret — homeschool grad, camping fanatic, and amateur adventurer — joined the KP team as an intern a year ago and has since been promoted to Writing Team Captain, an honor equally thrilling and humbling. She enjoys both swinging in a hammock in the woods and hermiting behind a laptop screen with a mug of tea in one hand and a bar of dark chocolate in the other (something that tends to make typing difficult).
While the most recent plot in her long string of fantasies involves making a living as a travel blogger in New Zealand, she currently makes her home in Peterborough, Canada, a pleasant land that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Shire. But regardless of whether she eventually settles at home, abroad, or at the seat of government power in Ottawa, her chief aim is to live a passionate and meaningful life for the glory of God.

KP Book Review: King’s Folly

In response to the immorality and idolatry of the five nations, the one true God Arman sends judgement through severe natural disasters called the Five Woes.

But the five nations do not understand this yet. Instead, they are caught up in political games and power struggles amid dealing with the first of the Five Woes. The king of the most powerful nation, Armania, vacillates to choose one of his three sons, Wilek, Janek, or Trevn, as his heir. Meanwhile, Armania’s enemy plots to kidnap Wilek and use him to fulfill a false prophecy. Subterfuge, schemes, and danger abound.King_s_Folly

King’s Folly, the first in a YA fantasy series by Jill Williamson, is complex above all else. It contains nearly five-hundred narrowly spaced pages with over a dozen POV characters. All five nations are represented by one or more POV characters, and all major characters in the royal families and successions are introduced, along with their teachers, servants, guards, friends, etc. The book has an index of names, pronunciations, and roles to help keep them all straight. [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.

How to Enrich Your Story with Magic

By Amy Caylor

I’ve always adored fantasy. I’m fascinated with princesses in castles and knights battling dragons. But I especially love magic (and yes, Christians can write about it with discretion). To live in a world where books have self-turning pages and torn clothes can be mended with a gesture would be delightful.

I’m particularly drawn to unique magic systems. Over the years, I’ve observed stories where magic was thrown in as a component of the genre, and others where magic was purposefully included. Brandon Sanderson’s laws of magic have helped me identify two factors that set apart a magic system or any sort of extraordinary powers/abilities: costs and limitations. With these in mind, you can develop a distinct magic system and enhance your story.How_to_Enrich_Your_Story_with_Magic

Establishing the Cost for Using Magic

Characters should experience consequences for exercising their abilities. Not all magic systems have drawbacks, and when they do, it’s typically energy—such as in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. After a magician casts a spell, he feels tired. I can count on one hand the books I’ve read that had a downside to magic besides energy. Thus, energy-cost systems will likely be familiar to readers, which may be what you seek, but unusual disadvantages to magic will make your world more interesting to visit. [Read more…]

When the Towers Fell

By Eliza Downer

One normal autumn day

Lurking darkness flew

Few knew of the coming evil

Morning coffee, rushed goodbyes, final hugs

When_the_Towers_Fell

Clocked in, ready to work

Lunch break, stay or leave?

A loud crash, confusion, unknown

Run confused to the light

[Read more…]

Teaching Freedom

Arthur Blakeney hated September.

He didn’t despise fall’s arrival, or his students’ return to his one-room schoolhouse, or even the picking of apples and pumpkins. He once welcomed all these changes and more, but now they evoked dread instead of pleasure. The annual Honor Ceremony fell smack in the middle of that awful month, and as the schoolmaster of Gribleyton, he was compelled to give a lesson on the reason for the occasion. And that was enough to make him avoid flipping his calendar long after August had passed.Teaching_Freedom

But every year September arrived despite Arthur and his students’ wishes, and today the short, graying schoolmaster faced a room of familiar young people, most fidgeting with excitement and the rest chattering loudly about the evening’s festivities. Arthur was a patient man and fond of his students, but today the chaos grated on his already frayed nerves. [Read more…]

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Sierra Ret — homeschool grad, camping fanatic, and amateur adventurer — joined the KP team as an intern a year ago and has since been promoted to Writing Team Captain, an honor equally thrilling and humbling. She enjoys both swinging in a hammock in the woods and hermiting behind a laptop screen with a mug of tea in one hand and a bar of dark chocolate in the other (something that tends to make typing difficult).
While the most recent plot in her long string of fantasies involves making a living as a travel blogger in New Zealand, she currently makes her home in Peterborough, Canada, a pleasant land that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Shire. But regardless of whether she eventually settles at home, abroad, or at the seat of government power in Ottawa, her chief aim is to live a passionate and meaningful life for the glory of God.

Night and Day

By Isabelle Evans

There she stood,

Tall and pale in the moonlight,

Pearlescent eyes glowing,

Silver scales shining.

Night_and_Day

The dragon queen,

Glorious majesty,

Hatched from a moon,

Fathered by a star.

[Read more…]

Keeping Readers Grounded in Strange Worlds

Have you ever worried that the fantasy world and story you are writing is too weird to be believable? Some fantasy stories are so far afield of reality that their authors have (valid) concerns that readers will be lost and skeptical of the world, causing them to miss the important aspects (characters, theme, emotions).

Does this mean we can’t tell bizarre fantasy stories? No. But our stories need to be organized and handled correctly. Here are a few tips to make your fantasy world comprehensible, and even familiar, to readers.Keeping_Readers_Grounded_in_Strange_Worlds

Focus on Humanity

If your story involves shifting fifth dimensions, alternate-dimension non-humanoids that feed off of human emotions, and an evil shadow which distorts time, it may run the risk of being too kooky. The best way to curb its nutcase behavior and mold it into something worth reading is to fixate on the most relatable part of your story: the characters. [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.

What Life Is

By Mariposa Aristeo

What is life? What defines it?

Even the dictionary can’t describe it.

If you had to define it, what would you see?

If it was left up to me, this is what it’d be:

What_Life_Is

Life is more than writing and reading a book,

More than eating and learning how to cook,

It is more than watching movies and having fun,

More than buying merchandise by the ton, [Read more…]

I, Windkeeper

I, apprentice of storytelling

Seeking to hold the wind in a cage

Broken by trials unending

The world will not fit on my page

I,_Windkeeper

I, windkeeper, am searching for answers

How can I spread wide the truth?

Wisdom directs me to singers and dancers

And old men regretting their youth

[Read more…]

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Daeus is the published author of two books, Edwin Brook and Treachery Against The House Of Fairwin. He is a Christian seeking God’s face when he remembers to and finding that that is all he was seeking when he seeks for something else. He is a joker who takes himself too seriously and a sack full of ambition who likes to relax. Among his top interests are poetry, reading, philosophy, theology, gardening and permaculture, athletics, marketing, psychology, and interacting with his friends. You can also find him participating in such activities as ranting about the glories of frozen raspberries or making impromptu music for every occasion.
He also is a fanatic over The Count Of Monte Cristo. Be thou forewarned.
If you would like to sample his work, you can get a free copy of his novella, Treachery Against The House Of Fairwin at the link below.