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.

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 (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. 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.

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.

Dancing in the Dark

By Isabelle Evans

I put my headphones in,

And I begin to sway,

I rock back and forth to the music

And welcome in the day.

Dancing_in_the_Dark

No one knows I hear it,

I doubt they’d even care,

But my music is special,

I find my quiet here.

[Read more…]

How to Use Personality Types to Deepen Your Characters

If you’ve been an author for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Maybe you’re enthralled with it. Maybe you’ve glanced at the confusing muddle of letters and given up deciphering it. Or maybe you’ve heard others talk about it. Whatever the case, if you aren’t acquainted with MBTI, welcome to your introduction to personality types.

How_to_Use_Personality_Types_to_Deepen_Your_Characters

Although other personality tests and categories exist, MBTI is one of the most popular. With eight letters in pairs of two (Introvert or Extrovert, iNtuitive or Sensing, Feeling or Thinking, Perceiving or Judging) and sixteen possible combinations, the range is comprehensive without being overwhelming.

This topic is fascinating for those of us who enjoy delving into other people’s minds, but do personality types have practical applications in writing, and what are the limitations? [Read more…]

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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/

KP Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” The perplexity of this newspaper ad catches the attention of a boy named Reynie Muldoon, who is indeed gifted and yearns to achieve purpose outside the walls of Stonetown Orphanage.

The_Mysterious_Benedict_Society

Upon responding to the ad, Reynie and dozens of other children find themselves taking a test that is not an average multiple-choice exam. Rather, it is bizarre, seemingly impossible, and altogether quite insane. The participants are quizzed with random questions pertaining to math, geography, science, and other subjects of academic nature—in addition to humility, kindness, and courage. [Read more…]

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Christine Eaton is an 18-year-old, high school senior, who loves stories and hopes to someday publish a great novel. She lives in Southern California with her parents and her younger brother. She loves the ability to wear flip-flops in December and spend time with her friends at Disneyland. Besides writing, she loves drama, painting, and reading. Broadway musicals can usually be heard blasting through her bedroom. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson.

Queen of the Adriatic

By Emily Bunker

You are called the most wonderful Queen of the Sea,

And I say the city of water you be.

Crowned with the gold of many far lands,

The fate of the world’s wealth is in your hands.

Wide, clear-blue waterways, main streets they are,

Cool, damp back alleys, dirty and dark.

The former is told of, the latter is not;

The first is clean, without soiled spot.

It is transparent, crystalline blue,

And all of its merchants are honest and true.

[Read more…]