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Story Embers Podcast

Author: Story Embers

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A podcast dedicated to guiding and inspiring Christian storytellers to glorify God with excellent craftsmanship. Tune in every third Monday of the month as podcast host Grace Livingston and various members of the Story Embers staff discuss topics from all areas of storycraft. Whether it’s writing habits, character development, complex themes, or plot gimmicks, we’ll be tackling all that and more from a Christian perspective on the Story Embers podcast!
33 Episodes
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Almost every piece of writing advice is served with a side of “keep your readers in mind,” but what exactly does that phrase mean? And how can writers practice it effectively? In today’s episode, Josiah, Brianna, and Gabrielle share tips for how to focus on your readers during the writing and editing process.What topics would you like to hear discussed on the podcast? Let us know at info@storyembers.org!Show notes: - Download our FREE Ask the Reader e-book: (https://storyembers.org/resource-library/)- Comment on this episode on our blog: (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-33-how-to-keep-your-readers-in-mind/)- Become a supporter and get access to exclusive Story Embers updates, swag, and more! (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)Music credits:Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
The eighth resolution of our Christian Storytellers Manifesto describes our commitment to “paint traces of hope in even the darkest situations.” However, this raises several questions. Why do Christian writers need to shine light into pitch-black moments? How do we achieve a balance between the two? And does this mean we shouldn’t write sad endings? Josiah, Daeus, Rolena, and Hope weigh in on today’s episode.What topics would you like to hear discussed on the podcast? Let us know at info@storyembers.org! Show notes:- Read the Christian Storytellers Manifesto: (https://storyembers.org/manifesto/) - Download our FREE Tricky Subjects for Christian Storytellers article series: (https://storyembers.org/resource-library/)- Comment on this episode on our blog: (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-32-should-christians-write-stories-with-dismal-endings/)- Become a supporter and get access to exclusive Story Embers updates, swag, and more! (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers) Music credits:Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Producing a novel isn’t a one-man show. Today Josiah DeGraaf, Brianna Storm Hilvety, and Gabrielle Pollack discuss the hidden heroes who help an author give readers a fully fleshed-out and polished story. How do each of these team members contribute to the writing process? How can writers fail to effectively collaborate with them? Listen to the panelists tackle these questions on today's episode!What topics would you like to hear discussed on the podcast? Let us know at info@storyembers.org!Show notes:- Have your work sharpened by Story Embers' recommended editor: (https://www.theliterarycrusader.com/welcome.html)- Access our FREE Cultivating a Mindset for Success e-course: (https://storyembers.org/mindset/)- Comment on this episode on our blog: (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-31-unsung-heroes-of-the-writing-process/)- Become a supporter and get access to exclusive Story Embers updates, swag, and more! (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)Music credits:Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
At the end of last year, Story Embers sent out a survey to the Christian writing community. Nearly half of the respondents reported that their biggest challenge wasn’t plot, characters, theme, or style but finding time to write! Josiah, Hope, and Rolena have tackled writing habits on the podcast before, but today Josiah, Hope, and Brandon discuss how to incorporate writing into a busy schedule. They also talk about how to recognize when lack of time is a true problem or just an excuse. What topics would you like to hear discussed on the podcast? Let us know at info@storyembers.org!Show notes:- Our episode on other writing habits and disciplines: (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-4-writing-habits-and-disciplines/)- Download our FREE Words for the Weary Writer e-book: (https://storyembers.org/resource-library/)- Comment on this episode on our blog: (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-30-finding-time-to-write-when-you-have-no-time/) - Become a supporter and get access to exclusive Story Embers updates, swag, and more! (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)Music credits:Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
In our Tricky Subjects for Christian Storytellers series, we briefly mentioned the challenge writers face when writing corrupt characters. Can writers ever safely immerse themselves in the mind of an evil character? How many of his thoughts should you reveal to your audience? And what advice does Scripture give about this topic? Josiah, Rolena, and Daeus tackle these questions and more on today’s podcast.What topics would you like to hear discussed on the podcast? Let us know at info@storyembers.org!Show notes:- Tricky Subjects for Christian Storytellers Series (https://storyembers.org/dear-christian-novelists-cleanness-is-not-next-to-godliness/)- Fireside Reading & Interview with the Author of "A Heretic's Sacrifice" (https://storyembers.org/fireside-reading-interview-with-the-author-of-a-heretics-sacrifice/)- Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-29-portraying-sinful-thoughts-without-stumbling-readers/)Music credits:Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
In February, Josiah, Rolena, and Daeus discussed the elements of a satisfying climax, but what happens once the protagonist has survived the final conflict? Today Josiah, Hope, and Brandon explore what makes a story’s resolution effective and meaningful. They share their favorite examples of memorable endings and give tips on how to avoid common mistakes when tying off a story.What topics would you like to hear discussed on the Story Embers Podcast? Email info@storyembers.org to let us know!Show notes:- February's episode, "The Elements of a Satisfying Climax" (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-23-the-elements-of-a-satisfying-climax/) - Fireside Reading & Interview with the Author of "A Heretic's Sacrifice" (https://storyembers.org/fireside-reading-interview-with-the-author-of-a-heretics-sacrifice/) - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-28-what-happens-after-the-climax/) Music credits:Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
On our podcast, we talk a lot about writing quality stories. But what does that look like in practice? How do authors use the techniques we discuss to craft compelling themes, characters, and plots?Today we’re thrilled to introduce Michael Stanton as the guest host for a new experimental series of podcast episodes. In each one, Michael will give a professional, dramatic reading of a short story we’ve published and interview the author about the process of writing it. We hope that seeing an example of a well-constructed story and hearing how the author created it will help you learn to do the same. Without further ado, welcome to the first installment of Stories by the Embers! Today's featured piece is by Story Embers Editor-in-Chief, Josiah DeGraaf. It’s a thrilling escapade of a cunning heretic and shapeshifter who tries to act honorably but instead lands himself in more and more trouble.  Did you enjoy this special episode? Email us at info@storyembers.org to share your thoughts. We’re only producing a couple fireside readings and interviews, so if you want this bonus series to become a permanent addition to our podcast, let us know!Show notes:- Transcript of "A Heretic's Sacrifice" by Josiah DeGraaf (https://storyembers.org/a-heretics-sacrifice/)Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music Umbrella Pants by Kevin MacLeod - License Sneaky Adventure by Kevin MacLeod - License Achaidh Cheide by Kevin MacLeod - License Stay The Course by Kevin MacLeod - License Virtutes Instrumenti by Kevin MacLeod - License Other Ambiance Soundscapes by TableTop Audio - License  Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Welcome to the finale of our book study and article series on The Promise of Jesse Woods! In today’s episode, Josiah DeGraaf, Brianna Storm Hilvety, and Grace Livingston sit down with author Chris Fabry to discuss his experience while writing the novel. Fabry gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what inspired his ideas and how he developed his characters, plot, and theme. Show notes: - Our article series on what writers can learn from The Promise of Jesse Woods (https://storyembers.org/how-to-write-stories-that-christian-readers-actually-need/) - Chris Fabry's website (https://chrisfabry.com/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Last month Josiah, Hope, and Brandon tackled parents in fiction—this month, Josiah, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb are taking a look at the other end of the spectrum with child characters. They discuss how children are typically portrayed in fiction and give tips for writing children realistically. What helps you get into the mind of a child when writing child characters? Let us know in the comments! Show notes: - Last month's episode covering parents in fiction (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-24-how-to-write-realistic-parents/) - Rose Sheffler's article "Stop Pretending Children Don't Exist in Your Story World" (https://storyembers.org/stop-pretending-children-dont-exist-in-your-story-world/) - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-25-writing-realistic-children/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Today Josiah DeGraaf, Hope Ann, and Brandon Miller break down the depiction of parents in fiction. They discuss problems with how parents are often portrayed in stories and give tips on how to avoid these. What’s your favorite example of well-written parents in fiction? Let us know in the comments! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-24-how-to-write-realistic-parents/) Music credits: Legendary by Purple Planet Music: (https://www.purple-planet.com)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Many writers struggle to craft a climax that wraps the whole story together. What are the necessary elements of a compelling climax? In today’s episode, Josiah DeGraaf, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb tackle this question, discuss their favorite examples of moving endings, and give tips on how to avoid weak climaxes. What makes a climax memorable for you? And what mistakes have you noticed in climaxes you’ve read? Let us know in the comments! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-23-the-elements-of-a-satisfying-climax/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
In today’s episode Josiah DeGraaf, Hope Ann, and Brandon Miller tackle suspense, cliffhangers, emotional tension, and all of those amazing story elements that keep readers up until 2 AM. They share their favorite examples of stories that kept them turning the page and discuss why some techniques for suspense are more effective than others. What’s one story that kept you up until 2 AM? What techniques did the author use to keep you hooked? Let us know in the comments! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-22-how-to-keep-readers-up-until-2-am/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Over the past week, we’ve run a series on Uncovering the Reasons Why Books Fail, where Josiah DeGraaf explored how to assess a novel’s quality through three scales. Today he asks Hope Ann and Brandon Miller for their perspectives on how objective a book’s artistic value truly is. They also discuss how to apply these concepts. What aspect of crafting artistic stories do you want to grow in? Let us know! Show notes: - Our article series on Uncovering the Reasons Why Books Fail (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-21-can-we-craft-stories-that-are-objectively-artistic/)- Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-21-can-we-craft-stories-that-are-objectively-artistic/)Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Today Josiah DeGraaf, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb discuss the importance of embracing the impact our stories can have on readers and maintaining the delicate balance between writing for ourselves and others. What’s one way you prioritize writing for others versus writing for yourself? Let us know! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-20-writing-for-others-vs-writing-for-yourself/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Today Josiah DeGraaf, Hope Ann, and Brandon Miller discuss what it means to depict characters with souls. How do we show readers the inherent worth of a person’s soul without being explicitly Christian? How do you think souls should be treated in fiction? What’s your favorite example of a book that effectively portrayed a soul as valuable? Let us know! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-19-depicting-souls-in-literature/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Today Josiah DeGraaf, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb discuss a writer’s worst enemy: discouragement. They share their own experiences with battling it and offer advice to anyone who is wondering if it’s time to quit writing.When was the last time you felt discouraged about your writing? What helped you overcome it? Please share in the comments! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-18-how-to-battle-discouragement/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
 As humans we’re prone to a multitude of sins, and as writers there are a few sins we tend to struggle with by virtue of our craft. Today Josiah DeGraaf, Hope Ann, and Brandon Miller discuss two specific sins they and others have struggled with: envy and pride. They share their own experiences with envy and pride and give practical tips on how to work through these issues. What’s one thing you would say to your beginning-writer self if you had the chance? Let us know in the comments! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/common-sins-writers-struggle-with/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Today Josiah DeGraaf, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb tackle a famous piece of writing advice: show, don’t tell. What exactly is the difference between showing and telling? Why is showing important? Should writers ever tell instead? Listen to them answer these questions and more! What common “telling” errors have you seen in other works? Do you think telling instead of showing is ever appropriate? Let us know in the comments! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/the-many-applications-of-show-dont-tell/)Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
Earlier this month, Josiah DeGraaf, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb shared their perspectives on crafting creative stories while remaining grounded in Christian theology. Today Josiah continues the discussion with Hope Ann and Brandon Miller. They reflect on how they’ve wrestled with this question in their own journeys and offer advice for storytellers who are struggling to find a balance between creativity and Christian orthodoxy.Have you ever wrestled with how to adhere to Christian orthodoxy within the perimeters of fiction? What are your thoughts on how to do this? Let us know here! Show notes: - Listen to part one of this discussion (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-14-balancing-creativity-and-orthodoxy-as-a-christian-storyteller-part-1/)- Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-15-balancing-creativity-and-orthodoxy-as-a-christian-storyteller-part-2/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
As storytellers, we thrive on finding new story ideas. However, as Christians, we’re called to uphold certain unchanging truths. What are the limits of orthodoxy when crafting a distinct fantasy world or exploring a unique theme? How can we seek to portray truth creatively yet remain grounded in Christian theology? In today’s episode, Josiah DeGraaf, Rolena Hatfield, and Daeus Lamb answer these questions and share how they’ve navigated this issue in their own writing.Have you ever wrestled with how to adhere to Christian orthodoxy within the perimeters of fiction? What are your thoughts on how to do this? Let us know! Show notes: - Comment on this episode on our blog (https://storyembers.org/se-podcast-14-balancing-creativity-and-orthodoxy-as-a-christian-storyteller-part-1/) Music credits: Legendary - Purple Planet Music (https://www.purple-planet.com/) Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/storyembers)
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