Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Improve Your Writing At Odyssey Writing Workshop

I'm a bit late with this post, since the application period has been open for quite some time, but I thought I'd share some information about this year's Odyssey Writing Workshop at Saint Anselm College.

As many of you know, I attended Odyssey last summer, and it was an incredible, transformative experience. It improved my writing in ways that it would have taken me years to accomplish on my own, and it introduced me to a group of writers that will likely be on this journey with me for years to come. Odyssey marked a big turning point in my fledgling career as an author. I made my first pro-rates sale while I was at Odyssey and my second shortly after coming home. After graduating, I was able to become a member of Codex Writers Group and an associate member of SFWA. In short, attending Odyssey was perhaps the best thing I've ever done for my writing.

If you're in a place similar to where I found myself this time last year--feeling that you're on the cusp of growth, but unsure of how best to realize your potential--I highly recommend that you apply to Odyssey. It might be just what you need to take that big step forward. The application period is open until April 8th. There's lots more information in the press release below (including a blurb from Yours Truly) and at Also, feel free to ask me any questions you might have about my experience at Odyssey, either in the comments below or via email.


About Odyssey
Odyssey is one of the most highly respected workshops for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  Each year, adult writers from all over the world apply.  Only fifteen are admitted.  Odyssey is for developing writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work.  The six-week program combines an advanced curriculum with extensive writing and in-depth feedback on student manuscripts.  Top authors, editors, and agents have served as guest lecturers, including George R. R. Martin, Harlan Ellison, Jane Yolen, Terry Brooks, Robert J. Sawyer, Ben Bova, Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Hand, Jeff VanderMeer, Donald Maass, Sheila Williams, Carrie Vaughn, and Dan Simmons.  Fifty-eight percent of Odyssey graduates go on to professional publication.
This summer’s workshop runs from JUNE 9 to JULY 18, 2014.  Class meets for at least four hours each morning, five days a week.  Odyssey class time is split between workshopping sessions and lectures.  While feedback reveals the weaknesses in students’ manuscripts, lectures teach the tools and techniques necessary to strengthen them.  Intensive, detailed lectures cover the elements of fiction writing in depth.  Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work.
The program is held on Saint Anselm College’s beautiful campus in Manchester, NH.  Saint Anselm is one of the finest small liberal arts colleges in the country, and its campus provides a peaceful setting and state-of-the-art facilities for Odyssey students.  College credit is available upon request.
The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular admission deadline is APRIL 8.  Tuition is $1,965, and housing in campus apartments is $812 for a double room in a campus apartment and $1,624 for a single room.
This year, Odyssey graduate Sara King is sponsoring the Parasite Publications Character Awards to provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend.  The Parasite Publications Character Awards, three scholarships in the amounts of $1,965 (full tuition), $500, and $300, will be awarded to the three members of the incoming class who are deemed extraordinarily strong character writers, creating powerful, emotional characters that grab the reader and don’t let go.
Several other scholarships and a work/study position are also available.
Jeanne Cavelos, Odyssey’s director and primary instructor, is a best-selling author and a former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work.  As an editor, Cavelos gained a reputation for discovering and nurturing new writers.  She provides students with detailed, concrete, constructive critiques of their work.  They average over 1,500 words, and her handwritten line edits on manuscripts are extensive.  Cavelos said, “I also meet individually with students several time over the course of the six weeks.  We discuss the student’s writing process and his strengths and weaknesses, and then explore ways in which his writing process might be altered to improve his weak areas.  These discussions often lead to breakthrough realizations and new strategies.”
Meet Our 2014 Writers-in-Residence
Melanie Tem’s work has received the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards. She has published numerous short stories, eleven solo novels, two collaborative novels with Nancy Holder, and two with her husband Steve. She is also a published poet, an oral storyteller, and a playwright.  Steve Rasnic Tem is widely considered one of the top short story writers working today. He is the author of over 400 published short stories and winner of the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards. He has had numerous short story collections published as well as six novels.  Melanie and Steve served as writers-in-residence at Odyssey 2005, and the result was an amazing, insight-filled week that the class still talks about to this day.  They are amazing teachers and mentors.
Other Guest Lecturers
Lecturers for the 2014 workshop include some of the best teachers in the field:  authors Elizabeth Hand, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Alexander Jablokov; and editor Gordon Van Gelder.
Odyssey Graduates
Graduates of the Odyssey Writing Workshop have been published in the top fiction magazines and by the top book publishers in the field.  Their stories have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, AnalogAsimov’sWeird TalesLightspeed, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Clarkesworld.  Some recent novels published by Odyssey graduates are Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn, published by Tor Books; Elisha Barber by E. C. Ambrose, published by DAW; Shadowlark by Meagan Spooner, from Carolrhoda Books; Tarnished by Rhiannon Held, from Tor Books; and Sharp: A Mindspace Investigations Novel by Alex Hughes, published by Roc Books.
Comments from the Class of 2013
“There are so many courses that pass around the same rules of writing.  At Odyssey, I learned far more than I thought there ever could be to know, in greater depth and detail than I thought possible.  Odyssey has transformed how I view the act of writing, and how I view myself as a writer and a person.” –Sofie Bird
“You hear the term ‘life-changing experience’ tossed around a lot, and usually it doesn’t mean much.  Usually, it’s a marketing cliché.  But with Odyssey, I can’t think of a more accurate descriptor.  My life has been changed. Amazing course, amazing lectures, amazing classmates, and an amazing instructor–I’ll never forget my time here.” –J. W. Alden
Other Odyssey Resources and Services
The Odyssey Web site,, offers many resources for writers, including online classes, a critique service, free podcasts, writing and publishing tips, and a monthly blog.  Those interested in applying to the workshop should visit the site or e-mail

1 comment:

  1. If I was going to make a career out of writing, I'd definitely do this.


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