Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

A Time to Die Blog Hop

By Brent King On October 27, 2014 No Comments

“Teach us, O Lord, to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom…”

If I had one year left to live, what would I do?

A Time to DieThe premise of Nadine Brandes’ new book is a real thought provoker. Throughout the last decade I have thought about it a lot. What does death mean to me? How does it affect my life? I have come to realize that life can’t mean anything unless death does. Peter Kreeft expands this:

“…if death is not meaningful, then life, in the final analysis, is not meaning-full. For death is the final analysis. If there is nothing at the end of the road, then the road leads nowhere, points to nothing, means nothing” (Love is Stronger Than Death).

Every hour is

My Review of Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics by K.M. Weiland

By Brent King On October 22, 2014 2 Comments

Jane Eyre by KM WeilandWhen K.M. Weiland sent me an advanced copy of Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics, she mentioned that she learned a lot writing this book. So did I! I’m sure I learned a lot more than she did.

The way it is structured makes for ease of understanding and retention. I believe it’s the best way to learn the critical building blocks of story building. Weiland teaches many of these same principles on her website, but to see them close to the context of one story (and such a great story as Jane Eyre)—side by side with the action—drives them home efficiently and effectively.

Many writing books attempt to do this with snippets from many books, and they are effective. Yet it is much more effective when an author sticks to

How To Write Books That Are Pleasing to God

By Brent King On October 14, 2014 1 Comment

“By beholding we become changed into the same image” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Christ-mirror-for-self-image_opt_optOver the last few years, I have rubbed shoulders with many authors. I have listened to their ideas—from puritan to edgy—on how to glorify God in their writing. I have often wondered how I can make sure that what I write ultimately pleases and glorifies God.

Guard Your Heart

The words of Solomon inevitably haunt me when I think along these lines. “Watch over your heart with all diligence 
for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). If then, I want what flows out of my heart to be pleasing to God, I must watch over it carefully. How do I do that?

The Mind of Christ

Saint Paul gives me very practical advise on how to do this in Philippians 2:5.

Why I Write Stories That Go Bump in the Night

By Brent King On July 26, 2014 No Comments

Monsters_UniversityFrom my youngest years, things that go bump in the night have impacted me. My first response to the scariest things of this world was fear—the fear driven by self-preservation, the fear prompted by the unknown.

I Wanted To Know Why

Gradually, this fear gave way to curiosity. What were these threats in the dark? Why did vampires suck blood and zombies eat flesh? Was there a reason why they haunted our tales?

There Is a Reason

At last I discovered that there is reason why the boogieman lurks in our bedrooms and cemeteries. It is because death reigns in this world. In death the spirit is torn from the body, creating two halves: the ghost and the zombie. These are staples of horror.

A Reunion of Ghosts and Zombies

Yet there is another story that is told in our world,

Animals All in a Row

By Brent King On June 14, 2014 2 Comments

animals all in a row 1

On the way to work this morning,
I guess I wasn’t looking ’cause
I tripped on a giraffe
Near a chubby hand and

Animals all in a row
On the kitchen floor.

“Come on Dad! The hippopotamus needs a
It would only take a minute.
“We have to eat.” I kiss him and set up the
Fallen giraffe.
“But dad…”
I comb his hair.
“We have to hurry or we’ll be late for church.”

Somewhere between the elephant
And the panda, the boy’s arm goes into his Good shirt
And his foot into a shoe with

Animals all in a row
On the kitchen floor.

On a sleepy journey to the bathroom,
I see them in the night light the

Animals all in a row

The Good Side of a Villain

By Brent King On June 9, 2014 1 Comment

“Man is not truly one, but two.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

alteregocoverSince I was a kid, villains have frightened me, from Queen Jezebel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In my youth, I didn’t understand why the bad guys scared me so much, but as I grew, I came to realize that it was because they reminded me of myself. I was the villain.

We Explore Ourselves in the Villain

This is why our stories need clearly defined villains. The heroes in our stories may hypnotize us with images of bravery and valor, but in seeking to be the hero, we too often become the villain. This is why we not only need to admire the hero, but also to examine the villain. Villains can teach us a lot.

Villains Are Not as Easily Defined as We Think

The only thing

Has Writing Lost Its Fun Factor?

By Brent King On May 26, 2014 No Comments

SC_sails1Have you ever sat in front of your story-in-progress and realized that you weren’t having any fun?

I have. You think it’s just a passing phase, but days later you’re still in the same place. That’s when you start to wonder, “Have I lost it? Will writing ever be fun again? Where is the excitement I had when I first started writing?” To be honest, I’ve had this experience many times in my life.

When I first started writing poems and letters as a kid, I had all kinds of fun. Creating the perfect feeling—the perfect effect—was always an adventure. Then I got to high school and college and writing turned into assignments and pressure. It felt more like work.

Since then, it got fun again, but there are still those times in the middle of

The Anatomy of a Christian Novel

By Brent King On May 19, 2014 2 Comments

zombiesAn article over at Speculative Faith on how changes in entertainment have changed our tastes in books (possibly for the worse) brought my mind back to an old question: What kind of books should Christians read?

This is not an easy question to answer since it depends on the readers personality and situation. Yet there are guidelines, even though they are subjective. Here is a great list of book qualities that should raise red flags for the Christian reader.

Books Should Not Be:

  • Addictive
  • Sentimental, or sensational, erotic, profane, or trashy.
  • Escapist, causing the reader to revert to a dream world and to be less able to cope with the problems of everyday life. Like Tolkien said, they should allow the reader to escape to reality.
  • A distraction to serious study, and devotional life.
  • Time consuming and worthless.


The Power of One

By Brent King On May 12, 2014 2 Comments


Have you ever walked into a bookstore and been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books? Have you ever heard the voice that sometimes accompanies that experience? “Why write? Your voice will never be heard. It’ll be lost in the cacophony of this host of voices.” Indeed, your book is a grain in an oceanfront of sand. Can it ever hope to make a difference?

Amazing Power

The answer to this question is counterintuitive and incredibly encouraging. Though you are just one person in a world of billions, numbers can be misleading. There is amazing power in the hands of one man or woman.

One Woman

Irena Sendler died in May of 2008 at the age of nearly 100, though she was nearly beaten to death as a young woman by Hitler’s Gestapo. She was only one

Stupid Like A Fox

By Brent King On May 5, 2014 No Comments

Fierce-FoxRecently Jonathan Gunson posted a brilliantly crafted article on authors being true to themselves, true to their voice. The video he highlighted (Human by The Killers) captivated me. I have listened to it countless times since, contemplating its meaning. The thing that strikes me most is that its meaning depends on the listener’s understanding. In other words, listeners interpret the song’s metaphors differently, depending on their worldview, environment, and experience. Let me use the song to illustrate.

Three Interpretations

  1. Dancer is defined as a lifeless puppet on a string, in contrast to being human and embracing emotion, autonomy, and individuality. Puppets are slaves and don’t feel or think for themselves. They just go through the motions; acting like robots; mimicking others. Humans should have a life of their own, a choice,