Workshop Episode 54 (Guest Host: Leanna Renee Hieber)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 54, with Leanna Renee Hieber and Mac McEntire Leanna Renee Hieber – performer, playwright, and author of lush and luxurious tales of dark Victorian and Gothic splendor – returns to the Big Chair to help Brion and I workshop a marvelous magical spin on a venerable theater superstition offered up by Guest Writer Mac McEntire.  Mac’s tale may be YA or midgrade, but it’s filled with many levels of genuine drama, humor, and character nuance. With all our theatrical enthusiasm escalating our natural delight in seeking out the awesomeness of a story, we all find many paths to explore on our way to a mountain of Literary Gold! (and if you are somehow able to hold more writerly goodness in your head, check out Leanna’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: “A Minor Magic by Justin R. Macumber

Workshop Episode 54 (Guest Host: Leanna Renee Hieber)

[caution: mature language and themes – listener discretion is advised]

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Leanna is doing some amazing things…

So MANY appearances, including…


And from the remarkable Mac McEntire…

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Comments (6)

Mac here. I’d just like to say another HUGE thanks to Dave, Brion and Leanna for their great advice.

This was the second of three times the book was workshopped this month (the other two were at Grub Street in Boston). The ongoing theme I took away from all three workshops is “go deeper.” Deeper into the characters’ heads, deeper in the play, and deeper into the scary/suspense stuff. I’ve since gone research crazy, and have uncovered a lot of juicy tidbits about the Scottish Play that I can use. I especially like the idea of Pickle being the Porter, as I’ve gone back to the Porter’s big speech, and found it a revelation. There’s a lot in what the Porter says that ties into what I’ve been writing, without me even realizing it.

The middle grade/YA confusion continues on. But just as workshops have suggested that I not be afraid to go darker as well as deeper, and as the word count is currently increasing (I’ve found that, for me at least, revision is about adding material as much as it is cutting it), so darker subject matter and a longer word count might push it farther on the YA half of the scale.

And I said “THE Netflix” instead of just “Netflix.” I hate when I do that.

This story has a fantastic concept. Metafiction like this is difficult enough to talk about when you CAN say the name of the source work all the time.

I definitely think it sounds shortish from pitch, and Mac I think you’re probably on the right track going deeper into the story and characters. Part of me wonders if the timeframe of the story needs to be this short. I could see it taking longer in-world just because that could help raise the stakes naturally–How long can you afford to be stuck in this craziness?

You also have PLENTY of characters to make a longer story, at least in my experience with my own writing.

I love this idea. The only thing I have to add is regarding Rebecca’s character arc. Instead of having a fear of connection, what if she has a fear or aversion to responsibility? Maybe she’s a loner and she just looks out for herself, or maybe she just doesn’t like the idea of being responsible for other people. But that would jive perfectly with her being the assistant director, and then being thrust into the limelight, haha. Especially if she had (and takes) the opportunity to let Stratford be the responsible person, but then when he’s taken out of the picture it’s all up to her. So her arc would be going from a history of avoiding responsibility to taking responsibility for fixing this whole mess.

Also, as the assistant director you could have her be the line girl, so whenever someone forgets their line in practice she’s the one that prompts them. This would give her a (possibly unwanted) familiarity with the text.

My two cents, I like it being a short timeline. Extend it too much and you would have a hard time avoiding the interferance of other adults.

I really liked this idea, more then I thought I would actually and as was suggested, if it’s possible to thread in some of the actual plot-lines from the Scottish Play ::Grin:: or draw a dew parallels between the events of the story and the play, it would just be so cool.

I will totally grab a copy when this is published.

Thanks greatly for the feedback, Tim, Mercy, and Sandy! I’ve gathered all kinds of new ideas and suggestions this week, which is really exciting, but it also puts me back where I began, with a lot of ideas, but no way to tie them together into a makes-sense plot. I believe my next step is to dive into the “classic hero’s journey structure” and see where that research avenue takes me.

Again, gratitude!

Or just start writing and see what happens. 🙂

I also really like this book, and right now it’s a great price on kindle. It might help you with outlining.

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