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I 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. . You can read more about me and my novels--REALITIES, THE LAST SEASON, THE STORY OF A MARRIAGE, and THE WRITERS' CONFERENCE--at www.mariandschwartz.com
on Aug. 22, 2013 :
A long read to dig into -- multiple plots and subplots. I hated to come to the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Looking forward to reading her other works.
After attending a writers workshop and learning little that was of concrete help as a writer, I wondered about the purpose of it. It seemed to be more of a cluster-f*** among the published authors, agents, and editors than a learning experience.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 14, 2013 :
Anyone with a story to tell will recognize the impulse that sends writers to the famous Clymer Workshop in western New York. Surely, the mix of notables—novelists, critics, and poets—will be the game-changers for the novice writers who have banked all their dreams on their manuscripts. For instance, Laura Belmont has quit her job to finish her novel, so she needs help in getting an agent quickly. If Gwen Eggleston doesn’t get positive results, the novel has got to go according to her husband, and Douglas Webb, desperate to regain his muse, goes off his meds. From the opening cocktail party through the damp week in the remote Taber Inn, a common hope draws them together: “Perhaps today, this very morning, they would finally be told what they had come so far to learn: how to write poems and short stories, novels and non-fiction that agents would accept and editors would publish.”
Will they find what they came for? It seems their instructors have come with agendas of their own for aggrandizing their reputations and making sexual conquests. “Wanting to be a writer is different from wanting to be anything else . . .it’s crazy . . .maybe all writers are a little crazy,” declares Stan Dynarski shortly after meeting Laura Belmont. We may agree with his assessment as everyone soldiers on through the daily schedules of workshops, lectures, and critique sessions that only heighten expectations—literary, sexual, and marital.
Carried by the substantial characters and surprising plot twists, author Marian Schwartz’ meditations on the state of fiction and symbiotic relationships of agents, publishers, and critics are insightful. Her sympathies are clearly with the novices’ struggles. Perhaps Clymer Workshop’s best-selling novelist Michael Pierce channels Marian Schwartz’ experience: “No one knew better than he the difficulties of beginning. The doubts, the faltering confidence, the hunger to succeed at what often seemed impossible.” Marian Schwartz has certainly succeeded with the impossible in The Writers’ Conference, an entertaining and very smart book.
(reviewed long after purchase)