I knew when I invited author Bren McClain to join us on The Mastermind Path to discuss her rewriting process that students were in for a treat. What I didn't know was how much I would be laughing during the discussion. It was with particular pleasure that I had the opportunity to visit with Ms. McClain because I KNEW the path she had walked to achieve publication of her first novel.
She tossed five years of work, kept one line and started over. Ok, that may be a deep simplification of the process and just as soon as I edit down our visit so that I can post it here I will. But that is the core point. To honor the story, to tell the story asking to be told she didn't give up on her character - or herself.
This woman happens to write in a chapel. One she built in a bit of walk/crawl space beneath her stairs. To enter as she puts it she has to bow a little and that puts her heart and mind in the right place. Bowing to the Divine muse and the power of story before she begins. With due reverence and respect for this thing we do.
On all that writing advice? This is when you simply hear me laughing and laughing as well as some of the evil laughs of the students. Bren shared when she first wrote her novel she kept showing it to people and taking whatever advice they gave her. Put more purple in the story? Sure. We need stripes. Okay. No, make that Polka dots! Got it! Until it went all the way around to - we need more purple in the story. The analogy is one of the funniest I've ever heard and of course hearing her tell it. Those in The Mastermind Path have already procured a loooong unedited and fun listening copy but I promise, sneak back here later and I'll try to pop up some audio outtakes.
We didn't stop at rewriting because Bren's story about her road to publishing is so inspiring in that it's no moonbeam fa-la-la publishing accident. It took years of working the ropes, honing her abilities, attending writing conferences, taking classes and working with writing critique groups. Which led eventually to being the last book that Pat Conroy published with his imprint (the imprint continues) prior to his passing away. A whirlwind and storybook finish to a long, arduous journey.
Ms. McClain deserves every ounce of success that finds its way to her, One Good Mama Bone, and her forthcoming novels. From one storyteller to another - my hats off to her.
You can find more about Mama Red, Bren McClain, her writing journey, awards, and advice - here.
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