THE RESONANT THEMES SUMMIT
Stories have shaped who you are. Can your novel do the same for readers?
Remember the last book that changed the way you view the world?
You want the story you’re writing to impact readers just as much. But maybe you’re struggling with doubts about whether you can do that.
Are you worried that you don’t know how to cut through the dross to unleash the heart of your story?
Do you feel overwhelmed about weaving Christian themes into your story without being preachy?
Are you nervous that readers won’t remember your story’s message like so many novels you’ve read and forgotten after you finished the last chapter?
The Resonant Themes Summit will show you how to imitate Christ, the great teller of parables, and impact readers.
“I came into the summit with a very hazy idea of what ‘theme’ really even is and left feeling equipped.”
“For anyone who wants expertly practical ways to improve their writing, Story Embers is always my first and foremost recommendation!”
Best-selling & award-winning author of six novels, including the Storm Siren trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, and To Best the Boys.
Writer & dramatist best known for his work on the Adventures in Odyssey radio drama, along with many other award-winning audio productions and novels.
We’ll Teach You How to Craft Christian Stories without…
Watering Down the Message
You don’t need to hide your Christian beliefs to tell compelling stories. Studies have shown that readers actually crave stories packed with meaning. We’ll teach you how to artistically communicate truth without compromise.
Portraying the World Simplistically
Real life is complicated, and you need to make sure you’re painting it honestly–the beauty along with the brokenness. We’ll teach you how to craft themes that resonate because of how raw and authentic they are.
Hitting Readers Over the Head
Some writers worry that if they try to convey messages in their stories, they’ll just end up being preachy. But that doesn’t have to be the case. We’ll teach you how to weave in truths that move readers without annoying them.
Turning Off Secular Readers
Sometimes Christians think that they won’t be able to include truths in their stories without making secular readers raise their pitchforks. We’ll teach you how to be subversive and effective at reaching secular readers with your themes.
Telling a Forgettable Story
One of the worst mistakes you can make as a storyteller is writing a theme that readers forget as soon as they put down the book. We’ll teach you the techniques that skilled writers use to craft memorable stories.
Unit One: Choosing Themes That Move Readers
Opening Keynote: Your Story's Theme
What’s your story’s theme? And why does it matter? Those two questions shape your writing and books far beyond craft, publishing, or marketing. They take your frail offerings and turn them into creative art that changes lives. But a deeper question underpins them. “A deeper magic,” as C.S. Lewis would say. And within the answer lies the true power of your story. Are you ready? This is your invitation to journey farther up and farther in to discover your story’s real theme.
The 4 Steps to Crafting a Deeply Moving Theme
Crafting a deep theme may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In this session, Josiah DeGraaf, the summit & marketing director at Story Embers, gives you a roadmap you can use to write a story that moves readers because of how authentically and honestly it portrays reality.
How to Honestly Depict the Brokenness of a Fallen World
All of us live in a fallen world. But if you want to provide answers to the world’s brokenness, you can’t do so effectively in storytelling until you depict the sin and suffering accurately. In this session, best-selling author Melanie Dobson talks about how to focus your story on real problems that people face and discover thought-provoking answers to those questions.
How Themes (Not Just Characters) Can Capture Readers' Hearts
Every writer wants to move readers. But how do you actually achieve that with your story’s themes? In this session, Daeus Lamb, the outreach & community director at Story Embers and author of Songkiller’s Symphony, explains how to craft themes that hit home with readers.
“I don’t know what I was expecting, but from the first keynote talk my expectations were already exceeded!”
Unit Two: Showing (Not Telling) Your Theme
The Essential Components of a Protagonist's Character Arc
Showing your story’s theme begins with your protagonist. But how can you make sure your protagonist’s journey to growth feels authentic and not like a clumsy morality tale? In this session, best-selling biblical fiction author Connilyn Cossette explains how to ground your protagonist’s character arc in her personality and backstory.
Weaving Side Characters into Your Story’s Theme
Crafting a great theme doesn’t end with your protagonist. But how can you weave other side characters into your story’s theme in powerful ways. In this session, award-winning author Lani Forbes explains how to craft rich side characters that contrast with your protagonist in intriguing ways.
Crafting Villains Who Exploit Your Protagonist's Flaws
Everyone loves a memorable villain. But epic villains don’t just intimidate the protagonist–they also are uniquely suited to exploit his weaknesses and force him to change. In this session, Kara Swanson, an award-winning author and co-founder of the Author Conservatory, explains how to craft a villain who presents a potent challenge to the protagonist’s beliefs.
How to Build a World That Artfully Highlights Your Theme
Theme can be developed in more areas than just characters. Setting also plays a role–especially in the unique worldbuilding of a fantasy or sci-fi novel. In this session, award-winning sci-fi author Kerry Nietz explains how to use worldbuilding to explore big ideas in ways you can’t easily do in other genres.
“This summit changed the way I write.”
Unit Three: Crafting Faith-Filled Themes
5 Essential Habits for Becoming a Thoughtful Storyteller
At Story Embers, we often discuss the foundational techniques for crafting themes that resonate. But you can’t craft thoughtful themes unless you’re a thoughtful person yourself. How do you live a life that will fuel meaningful storytelling? In this session, Brian Kohl, the editorial director of Canon Press, explains how to live a life that’s sustenance for thoughtful themes.
Panel Discussion on Tricky and Sensitive Topics
Parker Cole, Brad Pauquette, and Sarah Sundin
Sometimes telling stories honestly means wading into difficult topics that require wisdom to tackle as a Christian storyteller. In this panel discussion, author and podcast host Parker Cole, writing school director Brad Pauquette, and award-winning author Sarah Sundin answer audience questions about addressing sensitive topics with honesty and tact.
Writing Stories with Explicitly Christian Themes
Not every writer will cover explicitly Christian themes in their stories. But those who do won’t want to miss this session. Supernatural thriller author L.G. McCary talks about how to depict Christians who are “saints, not angels; sinners, not demons” and explains that embracing the unusual sides of Christianity may be the secret to depicting your faith authentically.
The Advantage That Christian Storytellers Have
As a Christian, you have a powerful advantage when it comes to crafting themes that resonate. But do you realize the full extent of the opportunities you have? This closing keynote will remind you of the tremendous gift you’ve been given and how you truly can change readers’ lives when you write with faith and confidence.
Bonus: Our Session Notes on How to Craft Resonant Themes
We’ve condensed our notes from each session to provide you with a roadmap to crafting powerful themes that impact readers.
The full meat of the talks is, of course, contained in the recordings. But our playbook will guide you in exploring rich truths that honor God.
All writers who purchase the recordings will receive a complimentary copy of our Resonant Themes Summit playbook to help them apply what they’ve learned to their current works-in-progress.
Tell Stories Readers Can’t Forget
All of us live in a broken world that’s desperate for hope.
Every day, you see the effects of sin and suffering in your personal life. And you know how much stories have helped you overcome those struggles.
You have the opportunity to make a similar difference in the lives of your readers.
But will you be able to achieve that goal?
Do you understand how to challenge and encourage readers? Are you taking risks with raw honesty? Can you give readers a fresh perspective on ancient truths?
Or will your story be another one that readers forget?
If you’re a serious writer, we want to teach you how to tell stories readers will always remember.
The Resonant Themes Summit Recordings
10+ Hours of Teaching Content
Playbook to Help You Apply the Lessons
Lifetime Access to the Recordings
Questions? Email email@example.com!
What Attendees Said About the Summit
“The amount of information taken away was worth every penny and minute spent.”
“I adored every moment of the Resonant Themes Summit! I’ve never heard anyone talk about writing, especially writing for the kingdom, like the beautiful people at Story Embers did.”
“The sessions challenged me to aim for profundity in my words and encouraged me to be courageous in my approach.”
“The great team at Story Embers has done it again! Thoughtful and provocative speakers, and a great deal of wisdom and insight!”
About Your Hosts
We’re a tight-knit group that loves to empower our audience of more than 6,000 Christian writers to craft stories that are raw, real, and resonant.
In a market that’s glutted with wish fulfillment, nihilism, and immorality, readers need novels written from a Christian perspective. Not ones that collect dust because the pages are saturated with blunt piety, but stories that honestly depict all facets of reality—the beauty as well as the brokenness—and endure.
You are a child of the Greatest Storyteller to ever live, so you have a high calling to write excellently and faithfully. We combine lessons in craft with explorations of theology and personal integrity so you can bravely and innovatively infuse truth into your storytelling.
What would you miss if you skip the Resonant Themes Summit?
We’ve designed our summit as the ultimate resource for learning to craft moving themes. The sessions explore advanced topics at a depth you won’t easily find elsewhere.
Top Writers & Speakers
Our summit features several award-winning writers, editors, and coaches coming to your living room at an affordable price
A Roadmap for Application
At some summits, you watch several great talks but finish the event unsure about what to work on. We’ll provide you with a step-by-step manual for how to apply everything you learn to your current story.
“We resolve to look for ways to explore meaningful themes while delighting our readers, avoiding futile attempts to depict truth devoid of beauty.”
– Christian Storytellers Manifesto