A NYT-bestselling author I heard once argued that readers tend to “read fiction to escape. Authors are entertainers,” and whether we like it or not, we need to give people what they want. But is this really accurate? Or is there a deeper reason for why people read fiction and what we need to thus provide them as storytellers?
Story Embers Editor-in-Chief
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He co-founded Story Embers in April 2018 and leads the site as editor-in-chief, where he sets visions and goals, reviews submissions, handles web design & marketing, and oversees site initiatives.
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, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him teaching writers at Ink Slinger Academy or writing short stories on his website as he works toward achieving these goals.
Writers tend to view symbols as literary tropes to develop a story’s theme. However, well-executed symbols not only deepen theme: they enhance the audience’s enjoyment of a story. Here’s a few lessons we can learn from the new Star Wars trilogy about how to craft symbols that emotionally impact readers.
Fawkes is one of those novels that breaks the “rules” for how to deliver a Christian message without sounding preachy. Many of the tropes used in this novel would be cliched or annoying in other stories. But Brandes makes them work without any of those downsides. Here’s how she did it.
One year ago, we founded Story Embers. Over the past year, we’ve reached 20,000+ visitors, got a listing in the Christian Writers Market Guide, crafted our manifesto of excellent Christian storytelling, and published 70+ articles on the writing craft. Now it’s time for us to take our next steps. And we want you to be a part of it.
In a world where the gods of sexual pleasure pose strong opposition to Christianity, we need Christian storytellers who are ready to write about sexuality appropriately and biblically. In this article, I outline seven principles to consider when incorporating sex into our stories.
Many Christian storytellers desire to set themselves apart from the secular world by writing clean stories. Clean fiction can have a purpose, especially if the target audience expects it. But if all Christian fiction is clean, I’d contend that we’ve lost something. Here’s why.
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. That’s why we wrote a Manifesto to explain what Christian storytelling needs to look like.
What are our goals here at Story Embers? I was at a writing conference a couple weeks ago and people asked me this question a lot. That’s why at our first annual staff retreat this summer, we created a video explaining what Story Embers is and how we want to help Christian writers grow.
“Do I need an editor?” I’ve seen this question countless times on blogs, forums, and Facebook posts. I understand why authors feel doubtful. The price tag can be steep, and you may be unsure whether the results are worth the cost. Many writers have misconceptions, though, about what professional editing actually is. Here
are three truths you may not realize about the practice.