God doesn’t create flat stereotypes.

Neither should you.


Dates: April 23 – 25 

Registration Open Now!



Tosca Lee

Multi award-winning NYT  best-selling author of eleven novels, including The Progeny,  Firstborn, Iscariot, and The Line Between.




Allen Arnold

Founding publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction, author of The Story of With, and winner of the 2012 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award.

Characters Aren’t Meant to Be Caricatures

God created human beings who are radically complex.

But writers often apply bland stereotypes to their characters without realizing it!

We all know how unrealistic characters can make us want to stop reading a book.

This summit will teach you to craft characters at a level of depth that will surprise and enthrall readers.


Day One: How to Develop Realistic Characters on a Personal Level

Opening Keynote: Portraying the Full Human Experience with Tosca Lee @ 3 PM EDT

Stories ring with truth when the characters are as multi-dimensional, complex, and sympathetic as we are (all of us are the main characters in our own stories, after all). New York Times best-selling author Tosca Lee is known for bringing even maligned characters to vivid life (most notably Christ’s betrayer in her 2014 novel, Iscariot). Join her for a thoughtful keynote on creating characters of such depth and relevance that they’ll remain with readers long after the last page.

How to Create Distinct, Immersive Character Voices with Janeen Ippolito @ 4 PM EDT

For agents and readers alike, voice is everything. But how can you make sure your characters sound unique and genuine? In this session, Janeen Ippolito, the president of Uncommon Universes Press, draws from her experience with coaching, writing, and even acting to teach you how to craft memorable narration and dialogue.

Character Development Isn’t Just for Plotters with Rolena Hatfield @ 7 PM EDT

Most writing advice is geared toward plotters. But do pantsers have to change who they are to write a cohesive story? Listen as Rolena Hatfield, the outreach manager at Story Embers, encourages you to explore and embrace your strengths as a pantser to create extraordinary characters—without limiting your imagination.

How to Honestly Depict People of Other Times & Cultures with Sarah Sundin @ 8 PM EDT

Homogeneous characters aren’t an accurate representation of reality. The setting and era a person lives in influences how he talks, thinks, and acts—and writers need to be familiar with these differences. Learn how to thoroughly research and artfully convey human diversity from award-winning, best-selling historical fiction author Sarah Sundin.

Day Two: How to Develop Realistic Characters on a Relational Level

Pull Off a Romance without Making Readers Roll Their Eyes with Kara Swanson @ 3 PM EDT

Some romances are so idealistic that they’re annoying instead of enjoyable. How can you get readers emotionally invested in the relationship between the guy and the girl? Kara Swanson, the marketing strategist at Story Embers and author of the soon-to-be-released Dust, gives tips on writing romance that’s compelling and believable.

Keep Readers Turning Pages with Riveting Relationships with Daeus Lamb @ 4 PM EDT

Relationships define our lives. And the dynamics between characters strengthen a story’s plot and themes. Tune in as Daeus Lamb, the community manager at Story Embers and author of God of Manna, describes how to captivate readers with relationships that are messy and endearing.

Characters Need Relationships with Readers Too with Josiah DeGraaf @ 7 PM EDT

Exceptional stories—whether written in a book or shared during a conversation—engage and influence the audience’s emotions. But how do you help readers form a bond with your characters? Josiah DeGraaf, the editor-in-chief of Story Embers, will spend this session explaining various methods for achieving maximum emotional impact.

Panel Discussion on Characters @ 8 PM EDT

A good conference isn’t complete without the opportunity to ask experienced writers for their thoughts on a particular subject. Day Two will conclude with Story Embers staff members Daeus Lamb, Rolena Hatfield, Gabrielle Pollack, and Brandon Miller getting together to respond to your questions about crafting authentic characters.

Day Three: How to Develop Realistic Characters on a Moral Level

How to Tie Authentic Characters into Your Story’s Theme with Josiah DeGraaf @ 3 PM EDT

Powerful themes and messages are important—but not if they come at the expense of characters. Thankfully, they don’t have to. Josiah DeGraaf, the editor-in-chief of Story Embers, demonstrates how to use the concept of foils to make your characters realistic and thematically relevant.

How to Write Highly Immoral Characters without Repulsing Readers with Brandilyn Collins @ 4 PM EDT

When you decide to write about a corrupt POV character, are you risking losing all your readers? How can you realistically yet tastefully describe his thoughts and actions? Brandilyn Collins, author of 30+ books in the Christian market, shows you how to write sinful characters wisely and engagingly.


How to Depict a Character’s Decision-Making Process with Paul Regnier @ 7 PM EDT

To portray the moral side of characters, you need to reveal the rationale behind their choices. How do you realistically write scenes where a character wrestles over a course of action or problem? Paul Regnier uses his experience from writing conflicted characters in his sci-fi novels to teach you how to rawly depict inward struggles.

Closing Keynote: The Wildness of Creating with God with Allen Arnold @ 8 PM EDT

What does it look like to pursue story actively and intimately with God rather than just writing for God? In this fast-paced finale from Allen Arnold, author of The Story of With, discover why God infused you with a love of story, how to write fiction that’s true, ways to thrive in today’s chaotic publishing world, and the freedom of creating from a place of success rather than chasing after it. 

What’s Unique about the Authentic Characters Summit?


Focused Topic

Every session aims at one goal: equipping you to write realistic characters. Together, the sessions build a comprehensive course on the subject.

Ease of Access

No travel necessary! All sessions will be online so you can stream them from the comfort of your living room.


Interactive Discussions

One of the best parts of physical conferences is meeting other writers. We’ll connect you with fellow attendees virtually for a similar experience.

Flexible Times

Attend sessions live for an optimal experience, but you can also watch any session later during the conference period.

God Didn’t Create Flat Stereotypes

When God made humans in His image, He formed sagas that could walk and talk with Him.

Nothing in creation beats human complexity.

But we hardly even understand our own hearts, let alone those of our uncooperative characters!

At this summit, award-winning authors, speakers, and writing teachers are coming together to tackle this challenge.

With approximately 10 hours of video training, the Authentic Characters Summit will teach you the greatest art in all of writing: depicting the human soul.

You can write characters so real they leap off the page.

You can present characters in all their beauty and depravity so that readers leave with a clearer sense of what it means to be human.

You just need to learn the right skills to accomplish the task.

So… What’s the Cost?

Most writing conferences require you to pay over $500 (if not much more!) for registration, hotel costs, and travel expenses.

At the Authentic Characters Summit, we’re using the power of the internet to offer you incredible speakers and informative sessions for $75–and only $25 more for unlimited access!

Standard Attendance


  • Access to all twelve sessions during the summit from April 2325
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group where we discuss and unpack the sessions
  • Participation in writing sprints and character challenges we run during the summit

Premium Attendance


  • Permanent access to all sessions during and after the summit
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group where we discuss and unpack the sessions
  • Participation in writing sprints and character challenges we run during the summit

Registration is open until April 18th.

Questions? Email!

What would you miss if you skip the Authentic Characters Summit?

Connections with Fellow Writers

Our summit will be attracting committed, hard-working writers. This is your chance to meet them and forge friendships.

Advanced Learning

We’ve designed this summit as the ultimate resource for learning to craft gripping, authentic characters. The sessions explore advanced topics at a depth you won’t easily find elsewhere.

Top Writers and Speakers

Our summit features several award-winning writers and speakers coming to your living room at an affordable price.

“We resolve to craft characters who remain true to how flawed human beings live and act, affirming that Christian storytellers have the freedom to portray the full human experience in all its beauty and depravity, not to glorify or endorse sin but to accurately reveal the brokenness of the world.”

– Christian Storytellers Manifesto

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