The Professional LDS Storytellers Workshop
Conquering the World--One Story at a Time
Welcome to the Professional Workshop for LDS Storytellers!
Those who listen to this workshop in writing novels, screenplays, and other kinds of stories will find that this approach is very different from other online courses. I've personally written more than 20 successful novels, selling nearly 2 million copies, both in the general marketplace and in the small, niche market of LDS fiction. This workshop does not proclaim the virtues of either marketplace over the other. In fact, it's important for Latter-day Saints to make valuable contributions in EVERY genre. Here we strive to teach the most fundamental techniques of great storytelling--in an atmosphere of faith. That's what makes the Professional LDS Storyteller's Workshop unique.
Workshop Price: $39.95
Your first task, if you haven't already done so, is to sign up on foreverLDS.com as a regular member. Click on the "Donate" link from the main page to pay for a 2-year membership. (Soon this will be done using the "Classes" link.) After payment is received, an access code for all sessions will be sent to your email. Our objectives:
Prepare the next generation of LDS/Christian storytellers to compete with the best storytellers in history--without compromising any of our religious values.
Teach the most effective tools of powerful storytelling, including plot, charactrization, dialogue, marketing, etc. You, especially, should feel the importance of mastering these tools if you are determined to maintain your values.
Reinforce that to write the best stories in any genre a storyteller need not resort to overt sexuality, profanity, or gratuitous violence.
Remind LDS storytellers that maintaining our values does not limit our opportunities to approach almost any subject matter. Sometimes the darkest themes of the human condition should be explored by storytellers of faith.
Finally, WRITE YOUR STORIES!!
Pay close attention. Take notes if necessary. Listen to episodes more than once. New episodes or "sessions" will appear periodically, some record in a controlled setting and others live in a classroom. Interviews with other professional storytellers may only be accessible through this workshop, especially if the interview focuses upon essential skills and techniques of the trade. Generally when new sessions are posted, they will be announced to workshop members.
The pen (or word processor) is truly mighier than the sword, but never more powerul than when we allow ourselves to be instruments in the Lord's hands. Those who rely upon Him as their Partner or Co-creator, can achieve greatness beyond their wildest imaginings. Because God is the source of all our talents and ideas, always give credit where it's due--and remember that as easily as greatness can be bestowed, it can also be revoked.
Session 1: First Things First--The Power of a Faith-Centered Storyteller43 minutes of instruction
This first Workship focuses upon the BIG PICTURE for a person of LDS/Christian convictions who seeks to uphold their religious values while competing with the greatest generation of storytellers the world has ever known. Many of these "worldly" storytellers--and those who educate them--would roll their eyes and shake their heads at the very notion of practicing definable restraint in this artform. First Things First covers a wide range of topics that set the tone of this entire Workshop, making sure right from the outset that a storyteller's heart and mind are in the right place before undertaking the formidable task of telling stories that can influence vast numbers of people. This Workshop will discuss the following:
- The frank realities of writing stories for a living
- Why an effective LDS Storyteller should take responsibility for God's gifts and talents
- A Definition of Devices: Techniques for promoting good or evil while still telling gripping, authentic, mind-altering stories
- The 3 basic elements of storytelling. You might Be surprised!
- An appropriate attitude: A storyteller as a servant rather than a dictator
- Abandoning the illusion of capturing "truth"--Just tell a great story!
Session 2: Stirring up the Bees-Nest of Your Imagination27 minutes of instruction
Session 2 focuses upon the commonly-asked question: "Where do great story 'ideas' come from?" The over-riding answer is that they come from experiencing life!--not from reading books or seeing movies or even from taking creative-writing courses.
I also focus upon pinpointing those individuals who will become your most valuable critics, and how to judge whose advice is worth hearing and whose advice should be deeply suspect or mostly rejected.
- "Agenda-driven storytelling": Unavoidable, so why try?
- Where great story ideas are discovered: Life!
- How to nurture a genuine love for knowledge
- Overcoming the terror: Letting others read your stuff!
- Enduring the crucible of criticism
- Avoiding "sabateurs" with tainted advice
- Fair and insightful critics are not as common as you think. When you find one--NEVER LET 'EM GO!
- Seeking guidance from Above: How much do you really want to succeed?
Session 3: LIVE Professional LDS Storytellers Workshop50 minutes of instruction
This is our first LIVE Session of the Professional LDS Storytellers Workshop, originally offered to a class of young students and adults in Logan, Utah.
The intent was to discuss "Developing Story Ideas," but our class ended up covering a wide variety of topics not covered in any other Workshop recording, including items that I may NEVER cover again, at least not in the same manner. So while some ideas may sound familar, there's no harm in hearing them again. I often find that I will approach a familar topic from an entirely different angle, sometimes with information dramatically enhanced and broadened and unique details prompted by the students themselves. Take notes. The information comes fast and furious. Participation from a live audience adds undeniable energy and enthusiam.
I attempted to outline the various topics, but found this impossible. My advice? Simply listen, enjoy, and absorb.
Session 4: LIVE Professional Storytelling Workshop: Character Development48 minutes of instruction
This is a live session with students asking questions and Chris providing answers related primarily to character development and design in novels and stories. As expected, Chris takes the listener in unexpected directions and provides insights for would be authors and storytellers that they might not have expected, and often that they might not received from any other professional on this topic. Listen and learn!
Session 5: LIVE FIRESIDE SPEECH--The Name That Matters Most49 minutes of instruction
Session 5: The Name That Matters Most
The following session for the Professional LDS Storytellers Workship was originally a fireside talk I presented that addresses a variety of topics that may seem, at first, unrelated to writing or storytelling. I begin by giving details of my conversion and discuss how my ambitions to become a filmmaker and storyteller became integrally related to my conversion as a Latter-day Saint, and how I had ever be mindful of which "label" was more important in my life--being an artist or being a Latter-day Saint.
This is a struggle no less critical for LDS artists today than it was when I originally conceived the talk. I believe the listener will quickly discover that the principles outlined herein are essential for all LDS artists who strive to celebrate their artistic talents and simultaneously uphold their religious values. This talk was the regular fireside I gave to family gatherings until the mid-2000s. So while a few things may seem "out-of-date," such as not really addressing the soon-to-be pervasive habits of texting and smart phones and our addiction to a myriad of other devices--this reality has only further emphasized my message about how the media dominates the greatest block of time in our mortal lives, and therefore all of us should take much greater responsibility for the kinds of media entertainment we consume.
I believe this talk is relevant for all LDS artists who strive to create great works of art to be read, viewed, and enjoyed by the world. If Latter-day Saints refuse to adopt powerful standards at the beginning of their artistic careers, and then firmly adhere to those standards throughout their creative lives, the risk is too great that they will unwittingly become a tool in the adversary's hands, perhaps before they fully realize it. Our committment to adhere to strict gospel standards must be deliberate and profound. In my opinion, there is no room for compromise, and this talk strives to show why that this true.
I hope this talk, more than any other talk I have given, will help an LDS artist in any medium or genre formulate a compass by which guide their lives and all of their creative works.
As a sidenote, I've never liked the design used for the cover of this talk. I've heard from more than one person that their eyes naturally link the title with MY name! No, my name doesn't matter at all. It's the Person represented by the picture. Maybe instead of just my name, it should say, "A Talk by Chris Heimerdinger." Oh well. Water under the bridge.
Session 6: The Business of Storytelling: Lecture 146 minutes of instruction
Welcome to our 6th Workshop Session!
For those with professional aspirations, either in the LDS or general marketplace, this may be the most valuable session yet posted on ForeverLDS. The business of storytelling is a vast and forever changing morass. Additional sessions on this topic are inevitable (2 are already recorded!). No single lecture could ever cover everything authors should know about earning a living writing books--full-time or part-time. Session 6 hits the ground running with the most essential information, as well as rarely-discussed gems pertaining to the following topics:
*To Publish or NOT to Self-Publish
*Soliciting Professional Feedback
*Details of Chris's Career and His First Published Novels
*Protecting Yourself From Pirating
*Priestcraft Vs. Profit
*eBook Vs. Print Copies
*Finding a Distributor for Self-Published Books
*Challenges in Today's LDS Publishing Market
*Maintaining Your eBook Rights
*Selling Your eBook on Amazon
*Why Use Standard Manuscript Formatting?
*To Copyright or NOT to Copyright?
*Formal Guidelines of Style
*First Priority: Move Your Audience!
*Realities of Self-Publishing
--WalMart and Costco
--Backliners and Endorsements
--Hiring Freelancers: A Few Guidelines
--Printing Your Book
*The Evolving Environment of the Writing Profession
--Social Media Marketing/ Establishing a Book-Selling Platform
*Avoid Being a Flash-in-the-Pan Author
*Crossing Book Genres