Christian storytelling is facing a crisis.
Though good intentions abound, many Christian stories in the 21st century are cheesy, unrealistic, and artistically bland. Publishers struggle to find a market for Christian stories. And readers are leaving the genre.
This wasn’t always the case. Some of the greatest classics were written by Christians, and a resurgence of exceptional Christian storytelling may be just around the corner. We believe that modern Christian storytellers are able to pursue this noble calling.
Four months ago, at our summer 2018 staff retreat, the Story Embers staff sat down to compose a comprehensive definition of masterful Christian storytelling. Originally this was meant to be just a staff exercise. But as we were drafting the series of resolutions, we realized that publishing it could help our subscribers at Story Embers. We continued to refine the statement after the retreat. And we even reached out to various Christian authors to get their input. Their responses were overwhelmingly positive, and they offered suggestions that helped us solidify the document.
This manifesto urges Christian storytellers to embrace the key philosophies, principles, and practices seen in the best Christian stories. It declares our resolve to aim for excellence instead of being content with subpar literature. It sounds an alarm in the writing community that we need a higher standard by which to discuss and judge our proficiency as storytellers. Finally, it unites like-minded storytellers who will support each other and seek to raise Christian storytelling to new levels.
Here’s how you can join the movement:
1. Read the Christian Storytellers Manifesto.
2. Add your signature.
3. Share the Manifesto with your writing friends.
Our goal is to make the Manifesto central to our work at Story Embers so we can regularly help you achieve the resolutions it sets forth.
Josiah DeGraaf is the editor-in-chief of Story Embers and the fiction content manager of The Young Writer. He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations and loves to take normal people, put them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then force them to make difficult choices. Someday Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, and themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s. In the meantime, you can find him teaching writers at Ink Slinger Academy or writing short stories at his website as he works toward achieving these goals.