It is a fair question to ask if creative writers' conferences are an investment or a waste of money. Some aspiring writers consider going to a writers' conference as an investment in their careers. But no one wants to waste money attending a conference that isn't likely to deliver what they're looking for. Creative writing conferences are thriving from coast to coast, from the Yale Writers’ Conference in New Haven to the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. There are conferences for every genre from science fiction to romances. They have become a growth industry. Some writers attend conferences because they are looking for more than creative writing workshops and advice on marketing. Thousands of aspiring writers are attending writers’ conferences in the desperate hope they will [...]
About mariandschwartzI was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Reading was my escape from the legendary Buffalo winters and probably contributed to my becoming a writer.While I was in graduate school at the University of Buffalo I began writing poetry, some of which was published in small literary magazines. The first sentence in Realities – My children are gambling – was the first line of a poem that grew into a novel. It was gratifying to see Realities published, not only in the United States but in England and Sweden, where it was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. The idea for a novel can come from anywhere. The Last Season, The Story of a Marriage, started with an image of three middle-aged adults sitting at a dinner table, a married couple and an unmarried man. When the husband asked the man what his intentions were, the fellow replied, “I intend to marry your wife.” The image was a gift, and I had to run with it. When I start a novel I know the beginning, but I have only a vague idea of what might happen between the start and the finish. For me it is an adventure, as I hope it is for the reader.
The path to healing after suicide loss is different for every survivor, yet all paths have the same elements in common. Survivors cope with shock, guilt, and anger. They also experience feelings of rejection, stigma, and shame. A Harvard study states that “…a loss through suicide is like no other, and grieving can be especially complex and traumatic.” It has been over forty years since I wrote a novel in which the widow of a man who took his life writes to him every night. She waits until their two young children are in bed. Then she writes. Her name is Jenny Weaver. She is so lonely it hurts. She impulsively moves from the Northeast to California a year after his death, and she [...]
To get the most out of a writing conference depends on the reason you are considering attending one. Choosing a conference that meets your needs and interests is essential. Before you commit your time and money, there are questions you should ask: • Do you need and/or want help with a manuscript? • How much one-to-one help do you expect? • Do you hope to learn from writers whose work you respect? • Are you self-published and seeking marketing advice? • Are you looking for a literary agent to represent you? A writers’ conference might have a lofty reputation, but if it doesn’t offer what you are looking for, it is likely that it won’t be worth the cost. If [...]
To the people who have read SARA BAREFIELD, her situation is so real to them that I have been asked questions that I hope to answer here. I wasn't a social worker; nor did I know a single mother like Sara. And I have been blessed in that I have never been on welfare or have had the need to apply for food stamps. I got the idea for SARA BAREFIELD while working as a volunteer in a women's center in the town where I live. A single woman in her mid-thirties came in for a counseling session; she wanted to go to college to study art history. When I told her that I didn't know of any aid she could receive other than a [...]
Pitching to agents at writing conferences is a big draw. Thousands of authors will be pitching their unpublished manuscripts to agents and editors in 2020. They will pay an extra premium above the conference cost for the privilege, and because the slots are limited, they are sold out fast. What happens during these sessions? Are they effective? Pitching sessions are like speed dating on steroids. Authors seeking representation are given a set time, anywhere between 90 seconds and 15 minutes, to tell agents about their unpublished manuscripts. The sessions are held in rooms where nervous writers stand in lines anxiously waiting to pitch to the agents of their choice. On her blog, Faye Hicks describes the pitching session at a Pitch Slam as bedlam, packed and noisy. [...]