Monday, 29 May 2017

Theme Mastery // Kingdom Pen writing course

Theme has always been a struggle for me. It's such a tricky part of writing, and I've never been able to work out what in the world I was meant to do with it.

How can I not be preachy, but still be Christian in my writing? Can I write a 'Christian' novel but not specifically mention God in it? Or am I just wasting my time? Would it be more profitable to go to town and bash people in the face with a bible? (I promise I've never actually thought this one until just now. XD)

And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this battle of doubt and confusion.

But over the last few months, I've been learning. I've been killing my brain over theme and character arcs and experiments in living. (And enjoying it, don't get me wrong)

And I've been doing that by taking the course Theme Mastery: How to Write Christian Literature that Captivates

You might have heard the name Josiah DeGraaf, or maybe the site/community of Kingdom Pen. (If not GO DISCOVER THEM RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I PROMISE THAT YOU WON'T REGRET IT) *ahem* Anyways, Josiah is the amazingly talented writer who made this course, and it was through Kingdom Pen that I found out about it.
Or rather, I found out that it was a) theme and b) severely discounted for a limited amount of time for beta testers to sign up. So of course I jumped right in. (I know, I'm just such a ooh-look-it's-free person. Although technically it wasn't completely free this time.)

And it was SO AMAZING.

Every single lesson: I learnt a heap of things. Every single bit of homework and reading work and discussion. It all made me think and learn so. much. stuff.

I used to have a vague idea of theme and that it was nice thing to have and that it needed to be good and done well and not preachy and blah blah blah. But I didn't really grasp the full importance of it, and nor did I fully realise what exactly it even was.

But then all that changed and now I know how to plot out a novel's theme and do venn diagram mashes of Experiments in Living and tie in the theme with the plot and characters. 
(Note: in theory I know how to do this. I have the information in my brain, it's just a matter of practice as I work things out more and more and I'm never ever going to stop learning in this area, I know that for sure.)

And what's more, I didn't learn just about theme. I learnt about humans and personalities and it made me think more about why people do the things they do.

And trust me, that can be really interesting. Let me show you an example:

Me: Why is that dude eating a doughnut?
Sister: Um...because he likes doughnuts, I guess.
Me: But...but why?

It makes you question everyone's motives, and therefore makes you better prepared for all circumstances. Why is that lady fiddling with the brim of her hat? Maybe she has a secret weapon hidden beneath it that shoots poison darts at unsuspecting- *slumps unconscious* Because you never know when that might be important. *sage nod*

And noooo I'm totally not getting distracted now. Totally. Not.

Basically, this course legit and honestly actually changed my life. And guys, I'm telling you right now, it was a change for the better. Some of the homework got me to delve into my own faith and study the bible and the whole course is pointing to Jesus over and over.

It was such a good reminder that I'm writing for God, not for anyone else in this world.

AND GUYSSS. CHARACTER ARCS ARE SO COOL. I love them. So much fun to work with and plan out and agh. It was amazing. HAVE I SAID THAT YET? (Shhh, yes Jane, you've screamed that about twenty times in the last five minutes) And foil characters and Experiments in Living and Poetic Justice and Mimesis. And you allll need to buy the course and learn about these epic things because honestly it's so much fun.

I feel like I'm just gushing and flailing about this now. *ahem* But it's all true. 
Spoiler: my original plan for this post was for it to be a book review style, only a course review. But then I forgot about the post until late at night, so the content slipped into flailing and shrieking and everything that my blog normally is, I just try to live in the delusion that I'm actually intelligible sometimes. XD

Back to it.
Theme Mastery has a super good resources list and reading and homework assignments. And eeep so many things that are just so good, and it's all designed to teach and develop skills. It takes work, yep. Sometimes it took me over an hour to do the homework assignments (*cough* totally wasn't procrastinating there) but they helped so much. And the hands-on examples of how everything really does work were great to see.

Also - Josiah quotes Aristotle and Plato and a bunch of old, dead, wise philosophers (along with several not-so-old and several not-so-dead wise peoples) and how cool is that? It applies. What they said then, is true just as much today as for the writers in their time.

And the great thing is that the course is self-paced and once you buy it you have it foreverrrr. And it's a full family license and everything so siblings are no problem and they can just borrow accounts and all that fun stuff.

But the best news of all...

*drum roll please*

The course got released to the public on the 22nd of May.
AND Theme Mastery is currently ON SALE for heaps less than it normally would be. SO GO CHECK IT OUT NOW BECAUSE I ASSURE YOU IT'LL BE AMAZING AND LIFE CHANGING AND EEP JUST DO IT.

And just in case you haven't noticed all the handy links, click HERE to go to the Theme Mastery page thingamy. (Also, if you scroll down far enough you can see that they put my testimony on their page. I am so honoured.)

Are you going to check this course out more?
(*cough cough* AND PROMPTLY SELL YOUR SOUL TO BUY IT. But actually no, don't sell your soul because that wouldn't be good and you wouldn't be able to appreciate it as much without a soul.)
Have you got any good tips on writing theme?
(Because I'm not styling myself as any sort of expert or anything and I want to know what your thoughts are)


  1. Wow, girl- wow. You totally sold it here. I'm soooo gonna check that course out and I definitely already want to buy it and just just just wow, I'm very very excited. (I do the shrieking and flailing thing too)

    Yayyyy I'm thrilled at the prospect of learning more about this sort of thing! Thank you for sharing, Jane! You've got me hyped about it.

    Off I go. I've got a course to look over.

    -T. x

    1. *cracks up* I published this and thought "Hmm I wonder if it just sounds like I'm trying to advertise this or something...OH WELL. I SORT OF AM." XD Yess you need to check it out because it's SO GOOD. AND THEN YOU CAN FLAIL WITH MEEEE. *bounces excitedly*

      Yayy, I really hope you can get it! :D

  2. UGG I really want to get it. But money. And conferences. *cries*

    I got to go to it's launch webinar, mainly about Experiments in Living, and YOUR REVIEW IS NOT HELPING MY SELF CONTROL

    1. You can always try what Jane did and look at your parents until they buy it for you. Well of course don't nag them but you can always ask.

      And Jane very cool review thingy, Jane style.

    2. BUT THEME, BRIANNA. THINK OF THEME. Although conferences are definitely cool too.

      Ooh eep yess. I didn't get to go to it because I think I was asleep at the time? I don't remember though. XD Oh but yes yes yes Experiments in Living are amazing and YOU'VE JUST GOT TO KEEP GOING. *shameless advertising* XP

    3. And thanks, Clare. :D *bows*


      Yeah that'd make sense. It was mid afternoon over here.

    5. BUT...BUT...*fails to think of a good counter for that because SW sounds amazing*

      I think it was about 4 am for me or something ridiculous like that. XD

  3. I LOVE THEME ALSO. :D And this course looks super cool, I might have to stalk it. *insert ninja emoticon*

    1. IT'S DEFINITELY WORTHY OF LOVING. Eek yes, do it. You know you want to. *shoves you toward all the Theme-y-ness*

    I'll have to check it out. :-)
    I haven't written a whole lot of long stories (even though I want to REALLY bad), so I haven't had too much trouble with themes...yet. :-Z
    But I totally feel the same way about being Christian without being preachy. :-)
    No, it wouldn't be appreciated as much without a soul. ;-D
    Um, I think he was eating a doughnut because he was trying to fit in and act normal so no one would suspect he was SPYING for the secret organization that wants to take over the world OR maybe he has super powers and he had to replenish his strength so his all-comprehensive scanners would work OR... yeah, I should probably stop now. Maybe the poor guy just wanted a doughnut. XD

      *flails* Tell me if you get it!!
      Oh yes cool. 'Yet' XD It'll come. Just you wait. XP
      OH MY WORD YES. THAT'S BRILLIANT. O-O Excuuuse me but I now desperately want to write a superhero story where the superhero character has to eat doughnuts regularly to keep up his superpower's strength.

    2. Maybe I should write a short story and post it on my blog just for fun... *starts getting ideas*

  5. Wow, that sounds like an awesome course! So relevant and informative.. I wish it had been around a couple of years ago when I had more time to write and was looking for courses like this. :(

    Anyway, you did a good job with the review - it's a pity you don't get points or something for everyone who signs up because of it!

    1. It is definitely. Yes! There is a really big lack of /good/ courses that are actually worth the money, so I'm very very happy about this one.

      Thank you! I totally should've suggested that..."so if I get five people to buy it, do I get fifty points and you could buy me a free book or something" XP

    2. YES! EVERYONE MUST GET THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU MUST ALL GET THIS! Good job with the review! And it is cool. So cool. I love it.

    3. *flails* YES YES YES. Thank youuu. :D
      Saaaame. (Because you totally couldn't tell that from the post XD)

  6. You could become a saleswoman Jane Maree.

  7. *flails with you* The course was literally a turning point in my writing journey asdfjkl;. I was going to write a review (and still might) and I'm sure mine would have as much screaming as yours. xD

    FOIL CHARACTERS. I think we all surprised Josiah when we started flailing constantly over them xD Now when I'm writing or reading I'll randomly shriek "that's a foil character!" and be highly excited for a good minute.

    Aaaanyway I'm rambling on and on about it too, but GOOD REVIEW. I loved it.

    audrey caylin

    1. Yes eeek same for me. *excited keyboard slams* Alll the screaming. XD It deserves it though. XP

      YASSS FOILS ARE THE BEST. I know right. XD SAME THOUGH. It's so cool.

      Thank you. XD Let's all ramble on and on together because theeeeeme. *flails*


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