Date & Time: Saturday, October 29, 2022 | 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM EDT
Location: Pat Conroy Literary Center | 601 Bladen St Beaufort, SC 29902 (limited to 20 attendees)
A wise writer once said, “When you write fiction, you have to get the journalism out of the way.” Yet, many of us, when we write a story based on something that really happened, choose to stay tied to the verbatim truth. Why? We might want to feel sad or betrayed or angry, even get revenge. This speaks of powerlessness, of passivity.
But there’s another choice, and that’s what this workshop is about — giving you/your character agency, having them go after something with all their might. What sets fiction apart is our imagination, transforming “what really happened” into something more powerful. For example, giving you/your character a loved version or a just version. They’ll never know this glory, unless you have the guts to reimagine them, to push them to see what they’re capable of. Staying tethered to “what really happened” robs both the writer and the reader for the glory of what could be. I wrote my novel, One Good Mama Bone, this way, and I’m doing the same with the one I’m writing now. I swear by it. Why? Because FICTION CAN FIX THINGS.
This is a generative workshop, so bring your “what really happened” and let’s apply some real pressure. Let’s put your characters in the driver’s seat and see what they’re capable of. I’m telling you — that’s the sweet, sweet glory.
About our instructor:
Bren McClain’s critically acclaimed debut novel, One Good Mama Bone, published by Pat Conroy’s Story River Press, won the 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction and the 2018 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature. It was also named Pulpwood Queen 2017 Book of the Year, a 2017 Great Group Reads by the Women’s National Book Association, a Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) Okra pick, longlisted for SIBA’s Southern Book Prize and a finalist for the 2018 Crook’s Corner Prize.
Most recently, the French translation (retitled Mama Red) was selected for the 2021 Prix Maya, an award given for the novel that best honors animals. Bren also is a contributing essayist in Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. You can find Bren now with butt in chair, working on her next novel, which has already received acclaim, the gold medal for the William Faulkner Novel-in-Progress. Bren hails from upstate South Carolina, Anderson, where her novel is set. She now lives in the state’s Lowcountry.
Photos as well as short bios of all festival presenters are on the Presenter Page.