Guest Lecturer at the Odyssey Workshop 2011

I’ll be a guest lecturer at the 2011 Odyssey, The Fantasy Writing Workshop, which will be held June 6 – July 15. My lecture day is scheduled for July 13. This year’s writer-in-residence will be Gary Braunbeck, and other guest lecturers include Theodora Goss and Barry B. Longyear.

Here’s a little bit about the workshop, from my article “Basic Training for Writers“:

Odyssey is a well-respected six-week writing workshop, in which the entire learning process is overseen by one instructor, editor Jeanne Cavelos. “A single instructor guides you through the six weeks, gaining in-depth knowledge of your work, providing detailed assessments of your strengths and weaknesses, helping you target your weaknesses one by one, and charting your progress,” Cavelos said. “Some other workshops provide a series of instructors, which leaves you without any continuity of feedback to help you understand whether you are improving or not.” Odyssey allows students to work on both short fiction and novels, in the genre of science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

Workshop Director Cavelos is a former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, and Odyssey is the only six-week workshop that has an editor’s guidance throughout. Cavelos says that her experienced editorial perspective is key to the learning process and enables her to help writers find the writing process that will best work for them.

But going to Odyssey doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on being tutored by genre luminaries. Each week of the program, a different guest writer or editor spends a period of 24 hours with the students, providing additional instruction, and Odyssey also features a writer-in-residence who teaches and works with students for an entire week. Past instructors include: Harlan Ellison, Dan Simmons, Ben Bova, George R. R. Martin, and Terry Brooks, among many others. The 2010 writer-in-residence was Laura Anne Gilman.

Fifty-three percent of Odyssey graduates have gone on to be published professionally, according to Cavelos. This is the highest percentage of post-workshop success reported by any of these programs. “I believe the journey to become the best writer you can be is a lifelong one,” Cavelos said. “At the end of Odyssey, your journey will not be done. Yet I’m constantly told by graduates that they learned more at Odyssey than they learned in years of workshopping and creative writing classes. The workshop helps you advance in your journey at a much accelerated rate.”

Cavelos notes that one of the big differences between Odyssey and some of the other workshops is that Odyssey offers an advanced, comprehensive curriculum covering the elements of fiction writing in depth. “With two hours of lecture/discussion each day (in addition to two hours of workshopping), Odyssey students learn the tools and techniques that make powerful writing,” Cavelos says. “While feedback can reveal a writer’s weaknesses, that writer can’t improve unless he has the tools to strengthen those weak areas.”

Published novelists who are Odyssey alumni include New York Times best-selling author Carrie Vaughn (six books published by Warner/Grand Central, and one forthcoming from HarperTeen), Barbara Campbell (three-book deal with DAW), Lane Robins (sold two books to Del Rey and two to Ace), Elaine Isaak (two books sold to Harper), James Maxey (four books sold to Solaris Books), and David J. Schwartz (major book deal with Random House); in addition to this, Odyssey alumni have published over 650 stories in a variety of anthologies and magazines, such as Asimov’s and Realms of Fantasy.

Applications for early admission are due January 31, 2011. The final deadline for applying to the workshop is April 8, 2011.

Odyssey Writing Workshop