by: Eli King
How old are you? Seventeen? Twelve? Twenty-one? Okay. Now how old do you feel? Seventeen? Twelve? Three?
I first started telling my brother stories at age six, seven or eight (I forget just when), a practice that died temporarily before being revived at age ten or eleven with the addition of one and then several more brothers. This story-telling was the predecessor to my writing, as I didn’t complete my first book until just before I turned fifteen. I can remember many happy hours spent with my brothers, sometimes late into the night, making up stories as I told them. These stories were huge—in written words they would be full novels, and probably very large novels. Most of them were fantasy. My largest story collection consisted of maybe fifteen novel-length stories that I collectively called the “AK stories”, which took me several years to complete. They were about a wild world of dragons, swords, evil villains with armies of monsters, strange little creatures with feisty attitudes and a kingdom of men dedicated to fighting darkness. To keeping the world free of oppressive evil through triumphant honor.
I can’t speak much to the theological ramifications of my stories, but maybe I can get a break since I was all of 10 to 15 or so when I told most of them. The stories weren’t about plot either, and often they would ramble, wander and extend far beyond the reaches of reason or patience. For all that, though, they held my brother’s rapt attention for hours on end. I’m talking about dozens of hours, here. Probably hundreds. My brothers would beg me to come to bed and tell them stories, and then keep me up late into the night, still telling while they begged for more when I got sleepy.
My point in relating all of this is not to brag. To be blunt, the stories were horrid. Embarrassingly clichéd, borrowed, ill-plotted and themeless. The point is not what they weren’t, however, but what they were.
by: Eli King
I love power. Who doesn’t? America, my country, is a nation obsessed with power. We adore it. We yearn for it. We serve it.
I’m not just talking about political power. Or military power. I’m talking about personal power. Just look at our entertainment. One of the most popular genres on the market are superhero movies, with two very recent (and highly successful) titles being The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Both movies are centered around characters with unusual, even supernatural power. Extreme power.
But it’s not just in the superhero genera that we see this reflected. Every adventure story on the market is based around an individual with some kind of special power, whether it’s skill with a sword or rifle, the ability to speak several languages, beat people to a pulp or something as simple as being a great race car driver. All of these are powers that we admire. Powers we love to watch.
It doesn’t stop here, though. More than in our movies, what about the Summer Olympics in London this year? What are they besides incredible displays of unusual power? We eat that up. The whole world eats it up. We can’t get enough of it. Because we love power, and we love to see displays of it in other people. We envy that. We want it ourselves.
Because everyone wants to be powerful. Everyone wants to be strong. A force to be reckoned with.
by: Eli King
A couple months ago I attended the 2012 Student Workshop hosted by the One Year Adventure Novel program in Olathe, Kansas. There were over 170 students ranging in age from about 14 to 20 or older, many of whom had completed at least one novel. Many more had completed several, and many more still had completed, I expect, very little.
Last week I was discussing the workshops with a friend and fellow student who was also there and she made the comparison between the group of students and the Hunger Games book. Although the leaders of the conference tried deliberately to avoid this, there were inevitable cliques inside the student body, one of which my friend referred to as “the careers”.
My friend meant absolutely nothing bad, derogatory or insulting by this in the least. The point she was making, though, is a very solid one. This specific group of people felt like the career fighters in The Hunger Games in the respect that they were serious about what they did. They had trained and were training seriously for it. They were the natural leaders of the pack, if you will, and it was because they were good at what they do. Not necessarily the best, but they were certainly toward the top of the list.
These people stuck out. There were other students there who seemed to enjoy writing as a pastime on occasion, who were there because their Mom wanted them to write a novel for a high school credit, because they enjoyed hanging out with the other students or for any number of reasons. But then there were those who were there because they are serious about what they do. Those who are content for hours behind a keyboard. Who write thousands of words on a normal day and over ten on a good day. Those who stay up late at night with these imaginary people stuck in their heads, begging them to return to the computer to put their lives on paper. Those who mean to get published, who don’t write just for fun but intend to take it to a serious level.
In short, the artists. And the artists stuck out. Why? Because the artists are weird.
Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Nothing is more comforting than God’s love for us.
By Olivia Smit
That night I cried
And you were there.
You stilled my storms
You touched my hair.
My heart cries out
I mean no harm.
Please come and fill
My empty arms.
My thoughts are tangled
You took my hand
You said a word.
And like a bell
Rings through the night.
Your words of love
Have made me right.
Here at Kingdom Pen, we’re always talking about writing for Christ. Attacking lies, changing the world with fiction and being deliberate with our words. Hopefully, you don’t feel beat over the head with this. That was never our intent.
But perhaps you are getting the idea that we’re a lot of studious, boring people with an ax to grind that we never stop grinding. That’s not true of us, we hope. We like to have fun, and we thought we’d do just that with our first time ever short story contest.
That’s right. Kingdom Pen is going to host a short story contest, with first, second and third place prizes. No fee for entry. All you have to be is a Kingdom Pen subscriber (and that’s free too, by the way).
What are the guidelines? Where can you find details about this event? And what about those prizes we mentioned? Keep reading.
Kingdom Pen will be hosting its first ever short story contest in an upcoming issue.
We are looking for submissions for cover images to use in