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THE RESONANT THEMES SUMMIT

Registration Closed

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.

Join us in April for a three-day event with some of today’s leading Christian authors, speakers, and writing coaches who will teach you how to craft themes that resonate.

Whether taught by well-known professionals in the CBA or Story Embers’ young, enthusiastic, and talented staff, each session presented invaluable information that all writers can benefit from. Highly recommend!

Dawn Shipman

Authentic Characters Summit Attendee

I’ll never look at story structure and scenes the same way again.

Nicole Gusto

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

 

Mary Weber

Best-selling & award-winning author of six novels, including the Storm Siren trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, and To Best the Boys.

 

Paul McCusker

Writer & dramatist best known for his work on the Adventures in Odyssey radio drama, along with many other award-winning audio productions and novels.

There wasn’t just one or two practical ideas in each session. The sessions were LOADED with applicable tips.

Tabitha Driver

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

The Authentic Characters Summit was one of the best writing experiences of my life. Not only was the advice super helpful, it made me feel more motivated and equipped to write well.

Jess Dinning

Authentic Characters Summit Attendee

We’ll Teach You How to Craft Christian Stories without…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Registration Closes in:

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Day One: Choosing Themes That Move Readers

Opening Keynote: Your Story's Theme

Opening Keynote: Your Story's Theme

Mary Weber

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

The 4 Steps to Crafting a Deeply Moving Theme

Josiah DeGraaf

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

How to Honestly Depict the Brokenness of a Fallen World

Melanie Dobson

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

How Themes (Not Just Characters) Can Capture Readers' Hearts

Daeus Lamb

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.

The Authentic Characters Summit was the best online conference I’ve ever attended. The intense focus on character development has forever impacted the way I craft my stories.

Crystal Caudill

Authentic Characters Summit Attendee

Day Two: Showing (Not Telling) Your Theme

The Essential Components of a Protagonist's Character Arc

The Essential Components of a Protagonist's Character Arc

Connilyn Cossette

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.

Memorial Session: Side Characters & Theme

Memorial Session: Side Characters & Theme

Lani Forbes

Award-winning author Lani Forbes tragically passed away from cancer earlier this year. Before her passing, however, she recorded an interview with us on how to weave side characters into your story’s theme. With her family’s blessing, this memorial session will be made available for free to all attendees and non-attendees as an opportunity to hear some final writing advice from the late Lani Forbes. You can click here to register as a non-attendee for this session.

Crafting Villains Who Exploit Your Protagonist's Flaws

Crafting Villains Who Exploit Your Protagonist's Flaws

Kara Swanson

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

How to Build a World That Artfully Highlights Your Theme

Kerry Nietz

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.

After spending years struggling to write with only a vague sense of direction, I now feel equipped to create a clear, impactful structure for my novel.

Elisha G.

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

Day Three: Crafting Faith-Filled Themes

5 Essential Habits for Becoming a Thoughtful Storyteller

5 Essential Habits for Becoming a Thoughtful Storyteller

Brian Kohl

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

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 will answer your questions about addressing sensitive topics with honesty and tact.

Writing Stories with Explicitly Christian Themes

Writing Stories with Explicitly Christian Themes

L.G. McCary

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

The Advantage That Christian Storytellers Have

Paul McCusker

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.

What sets the Story Embers team apart from other groups is their steadfast belief that good storytelling is not at odds with the Christian life but central to it–and worth fighting to redeem. The quality of teaching that they offer is phenomenal.

Christopher Babcock

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

The Story Embers Summit Difference

You’ve sat through too many virtual presentations over the past two years.

That’s why we’re giving you a fresh, interactive approach that focuses on community.

New for 2022

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Daily Discussion Calls

Virtual chat or Facebook discussions aren’t the same as face-to-face conversations. Share the excitement of your learning journey through daily small group Zoom calls.

Focused Topic

Every session aims at one goal: equipping you to write resonant themes. We’ll be asking each presenter the right questions so you get exactly what you need to do that.

 

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Peer Critique Opportunity

Team up with other attendees and apply the lessons from the summit together to help each other craft stronger themes. You’ll see instant results in your current manuscript!

Meaningful Faith Connections

The Bible can teach you about developing and delivering meaningful themes. We’ll encourage you to study Scripture and show you the insights you can glean.

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 live up to that?

Do you understand how to challenge and encourage them? 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.

Standard Attendance

$97

  • Access to all twelve sessions during the summit from April 2123
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group where we discuss and unpack the sessions
  • Access to live discussion and critique calls
  • Participation in writing sprints and theme challenges we run during the summit

Premium Attendance

$147

  • Permanent access to all sessions during and after the summit
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group where we discuss and unpack the sessions
  • Access to live discussion & critique calls
  • Participation in writing sprints and theme challenges we run during the summit

Registration CLOSED.

Questions? Email josiah@storyembers.org!

Brought to You with the Help of Our Sponsor:

Attendees’ Thoughts on Previous Summits

The speakers were impressive and thought-provoking.”

Brian Stansell

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

“I’ve never attended a writing event that had such a strong Christian focus like this, and that was so refreshing and inspiring. All the sessions I attended gave me actionable steps to create deeper, more authentic characters to connect with readers.”

Jenna Terese

Authentic Characters Summit Attendee

I gained so much practical knowledge and already have ideas for how I can apply it to my current writing project.”

Lydia Williams

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

The summit was professional yet fun. I learned so much from all the different presenters and have a full notepad of notes to prove it!”

Gina Holder

Authentic Characters Summit Attendee

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.

 I’ve never before gained such an in-depth understanding of the different facets of creating an authentic character.

K.M. Small

Authentic Characters Summit Attendee

This summit was everything I needed as an aspiring author. I learned so much and feel equipped and empowered to write an engaging story.

Katy Siedentopp

Engaging Plots Summit Attendee

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the summit schedule look like?

We’ll have writing activities in the morning. Sessions will run at 3:00, 4:00, 7:00, and 8:00 PM EDT each day with daily discussion calls starting at 9:00 PM EDT.

What if I can’t attend all the sessions live?

All sessions are recorded. If you enroll with the standard option, you’ll have access to the videos until midnight on April 25th. If you enroll with the premium option, you’ll have lifetime access.

How are the daily discussion calls hosted?

All live calls will be hosted in Zoom breakout groups, with no more than eight people in a single group.

Do I have to attend the daily discussion calls?

No. While we encourage all attendees to do so to get the most out of the summit, writers can pick and choose what events/activities they attend!

What if I don’t have a Facebook account?

We only use Facebook to lead the community discussions that are part of the summit. The sessions are hosted on our website, so you won’t need a Facebook account to watch them.

Do you offer scholarships to writers with financial needs?

A limited number of summit scholarships are available. Please email brianna@storyembers.org if you’d like to fill out an application.

Can family members attend with me?

If you have the privilege of living in the same household as other writers, you just need to register once to be able to watch the sessions together.

What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

Email josiah@storyembers.org to get a response!

What would you miss if you skip the Resonant Themes Summit?

Advanced Learning

Designed as the ultimate resource for crafting moving themes, our sessions from award-winning writers and speakers explore in-depth, challenging topics that you won’t easily find elsewhere.

Interactive Community

Our summit combines the interactive atmosphere of a physical conference with the convenience of the internet to help you network and connect with fellow writers in meaningful ways.

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

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Learn What the Bible Says about Engaging Plots

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