Odyssey Workshop

Graduate’s Corner: The Six-Week Odyssey, by Arley Sorg

Odblog - Arley Sorg

Arley Sorg is a graduate of the 2014 Odyssey Writing Workshop.  He grew up in England, Hawaii, and Colorado.  He hangs out at SF/ Bay Area cafes.  He often writes about identity and society, using the context of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and all the cool stuff that blurs and blends.  He leans towards darker stories, but retains the right to defy expectations in any way he pleases.

For more:  http://arleysorg.com/

Most likely, you think you know something about writing.

Perhaps you have moments where you glide on the hot winds of elation, followed by crashes into complex canyons of doubt.

Whether you scribble stories into a secret notebook, or have published work that readers and writers praise, or anything in-between or beyond, you probably have more to learn than you think. Read more…

Graduate’s Corner: What is “Interstitial,” and Is It Contagious? by Ellen Denham

EllenHeadshot2014Ellen Denham, a 2006 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate, is a multidisciplinary performing artist and writer completing a doctorate in music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Her publications include stories in Daily Science Fiction, the Sky Warrior Books anthology Gears and Levers 3, and most recently the Lightspeed special Women Destroy Science Fiction issue.

A member of the board of the Interstitial Arts Foundation, Ellen is at her most interstitial when she is combining her music and writing and collaborating with other artists, for instance, creating a comic soundscape from internet memes or an improvised score for dancing sentient mineral blobs, both of which occurred in projects she has directed at the  Indy Convergence. Read more at http://denham.virtualave.net.

(In our January post, Delia Sherman talked about her work with the Interstitial Arts Foundation. Some readers had questions about the nature of interstitial arts, so we asked Ellen to elucidate on the subject and tell us how it might intersect with writing.)

You may have come across the term “interstitial” used to describe writing or art.  In its most basic dictionary definition, interstitial means “relating to or situated in the interstices”–the small spaces in between things.  In an artistic sense, interstitial art is anything that is hard to define because it straddles or crosses boundaries of genre or artistic discipline, or falls outside of mainstream traditions.

Many books don’t fit neatly into one genre–for example, Susanna Clarke’s multiple award-winning Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.  Is it historical fiction?  Alternate history?  Fantasy?  I heard Clarke talk about this book at Worldcon in Glasgow in 2005, and as I recall, somewhere in the publishing or marketing process, a question arose about whether the book was fantasy.  “Of course it’s fantasy!  It has magicians and fairies in it!”  she had replied.  But the consciously old-fashioned writing style and extensive footnotes borrowed from mainstream literary traditions gave this book broad appeal to readers both inside and outside the fantasy genre. Read more…

Graduate’s Corner: World-Beginning Rust and Confidence, by Rhiannon Held


Author Rhiannon Held graduated from Odyssey in 2006.  She is the author of the urban fantasy Silver (Silver, Tarnished and Reflected) series from Tor.  She lives in Seattle, where she works as an archaeologist for an environmental compliance firm.  Working in both archaeology and writing, she’s “lucky” enough to have two sexy careers that don’t make her much money.  Visit her author website at www.rhiannonheld.com.

I’ve recently started writing a new novel series, after spending nearly five years completely focused on my first series to be published, the Silver series. Now, I know some writers love bouncing among a variety of different worlds when choosing the setting of their next project. I’m not one of them—when I say focused, I mean focused. Having finally stepped out of that series’ world to write in a new one, I learned a couple things: without practice, skills get rusty, but you shouldn’t let that chip away at your confidence in striking out into new territory.

When you think about it, rust makes sense: some writing skills you use only at the very beginning of the process of building a world.  If you continue to write in that same world, your world-beginning skills decay through simple disuse.  For me, my rustiest skill was pinning down character voice. Read more…

Interview: Jerry A. White

Jerry WhiteAuthor Jerry White is a 1996 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He teaches writing, math and science to middle grade students in New Jersey, where he lives with his wife, three sons, and a hamster named Ophelia that doesn’t like him very much. Jerry also works for a production company that makes short films and book trailers. His first book, the middle-grade fantasy The Thickety: A Path Begins, will be published this month and will kick off The Thickety series.

Learn more about Jerry and The Thickety and peruse Jerry’s teaching blog at http://www.jawhitebooks.com.

Congratulations on your forthcoming book series! We’re so excited for you. You graduated from the very first Odyssey Workshop, held in 1996! Can you share with us what made you decide to attend? What was your Odyssey experience like? What surprised you most about the Workshop? Read more…

Interview: Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem

Award-winning authors Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem will be the writers-in-residence at this year’s Odyssey Writing Workshop.

melanie temMelanie Tem’s work has received the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards and a nomination for the Shirley Jackson Award. She has published numerous short stories, eleven solo novels, two collaborative novels with Nancy Holder, and two with her husband Steve Rasnic Tem. She is also a published poet, an oral storyteller, and a playwright. In Concert, a collaborative short story collection with Steve Rasnic Tem, was published in August 2010, and solo stories have recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Crimewave, and Interzone, and anthologies such as Supernatural Noir, The Devil’s Coattails, and the Black Wings series. Her novels Yellow Wood and Proxy will be published by ChiZine Press in 2014 and 2015. Melanie is a social worker and a non-profit executive director. The Tems live in Denver. They have four children and four granddaughters.

Steve Rasnic TemSteve Rasnic Tem is the author of over 400 published short stories and is a past winner of the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards. His short story collections include City Fishing (Silver Salamander), The Far Side of the Lake (Ash Tree), In Concert (with wife Melanie Tem), Ugly Behavior (noir fiction, New Pulp Press), Onion Songs (Chomu Press), Celestial Inventories (ChiZine), and Twember (science fiction stories, NewCon Press). His novels include Excavation, The Book of Days, Daughters (with Melanie Tem), The Man In The Ceiling (with Melanie Tem), Deadfall Hotel, and Blood Kin, southern gothic horror released in March from Solaris Books.

You may visit the Tem home on the web at www.m-s-tem.com.
*Photo credits courtesy of Debra Lee Fanatia

This summer you will be writers-in-residence at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, something you previously did in 2005. This blog was not in existence then. So tell us, once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first pieces? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days? Read more…

Director’s Corner: Staying Motivated and Productive

jeanneJeanne Cavelos is the director of the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust. She was a senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she worked for eight years, editing the fantasy/science fiction program, the Abyss horror line, and other fiction and nonfiction. Jeanne is also the bestselling author of seven books and numerous short stories and articles. She has won the World Fantasy Award and twice been nominated for the Stoker Award.

Have you written today?  Written fiction–not emails for work or Facebook status updates or blog posts.  Have you written this week?  Have you written this month? Read more…


OdboatcleanedupAspiring writers, take note!

There are only four weeks left to apply for the 2014 Odyssey Writing Workshop, to be held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, from June 9 to July 18, 2014

Participate in the program that has led 58% of graduates to professional publication, with their work appearing in top magazines and published by major publishing houses. Challenge yourself and pack two years of learning into six weeks of intense work:  Four-hour classes five days a week, an advanced curriculum, daily writing and critiquing assignments, weekly stories/chapters due, in-depth feedback on your work, personal guidance from director Jeanne Cavelos, and guests Elizabeth Hand, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Alexander Jablokov, and Gordon van Gelder. Our writers in residence will be Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem. Four scholarships and one work/study position are available. Read more here: http://www.sff.net/odyssey/workshop.html

Make a quantum leap in your writing this summer.  Applications must be received by April 8, 2014!

Interview: Alexander Jablokov

JablokovAuthor Alexander Jablokov will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey workshop. Mr. Jablokov writes science fiction for readers who won’t give up literate writing or vivid characters to get the thrills they demand. He is a natural transition for non-SF readers interested in taking a stroll with a dangerous AI or a neurosurgeon/jazz musician turned detective, while still giving hardcore SF fans speculative flash, incomprehensible aliens, and kitchen appliances with insect wing cases. From his well-regarded first novel, Carve the Sky, an interplanetary espionage novel set in a culturally complex 25th century, through the obscenely articulate dolphins with military modifications of a Deeper Sea, the hardboiled post-cyberpunk of Nimbus, the subterranean Martian repression of River of Dust, and the perverse space opera of Deepdrive, his last book, Brain Thief, a contemporary high-tech thriller with a class clown attitude. He has recently written a YA alternate-universe adventure novel.

His day job is as a marketing manager. He does his writing during the mornings, and on weekends. It took him several years to figure out how to get any writing done at all, particularly since he hates getting up early and hates working on weekends, but has somehow managed it.  Visit http://www.ajablokov.com to learn more about the author and his books.

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? Read more…

Interview: Delia Sherman

Delia Sherman

Author and editor Delia Sherman returns to Odyssey, in tandem with author and editor Ellen Kushner, to deliver a guest lecture at the 2014 summer Writing Workshop. Delia writes short stories and novels for adults and young readers. Several of her short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, and her most recent YA novel, The Freedom Maze (2011), received the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award, and the Prometheus Award. A collection of her short stories is coming out in 2014 from Small Beer Press. Delia has been a judge for the World Fantasy Award, the Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Novel, and has served on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree Jr. Award. She is a founding member of the Interstitial Arts Foundation.

As an editor of books and anthologies, Delia’s continuing quest is to get more of the kind of fantasy she likes out to readers. She has been a contributing editor for Tor Books and has co-edited several anthologies, including Interfictions Online, for which she is Executive Editor, working with Christopher Barzak, Meghan McCarron, and Sofia Samatar. Delia has taught many writing workshops, including Clarion, the Hollins University Program in Children’s Literature, and six previous Odysseys. She has also worked in a book store. She can write almost anywhere, but prefers cafés and comfy sofas near a source of tea. She lives in New York City with Ellen Kushner and many fine books, most of which at least one of them has read. Besides writing and reading other people’s manuscripts, favorite occupations are travel, knitting, cooking, and having fun adventures, as long as they don’t involve dragons of any kind.

As a guest lecturer at next summer’s Odyssey Workshop, you’ll be lecturing, workshopping, and meeting individually with students. What do you think is the most important advice you can give to developing writers? Read more…

Interview: Gordon Van Gelder

actual van gelderFantasy & Science Fiction magazine editor Gordon Van Gelder will be a guest lecturer at Odyssey’s 2014 Writing Workshop.  Van Gelder published his first story in 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories in 1984, but the majority of his career has been spent as an editor. After a brief internship at Bluejay Books in 1986, he began working at St. Martin’s Press in July 1988. He worked there until October 2000, during which time he edited a wide variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. Among the authors he edited are Jack Cady, Bradley Denton, K. W. Jeter, Marc Laidlaw, Brent Monahan, Judith Moffett, Rachel Pollack, William Browning Spencer, and Kate Wilhelm.

In 1997, he succeeded Kristine Kathryn Rusch as editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. In 2000, he bought the magazine from Edward L. Ferman and Audrey Ferman and became the magazine’s publisher while remaining its editor. In 2009, he changed the magazine to a bimonthly schedule.

As an anthologist, he coedited with Ferman The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction: The 50th Anniversary Anthology and edited several other anthologies reprinting stories from F&SF: One Lamp (2003), In Lands That Never Were (2004), Fourth Planet from the Sun (2005), and The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: 60th Anniversary Anthology (2009). In 2011, he edited an anthology of all-original stories, Welcome to the Greenhouse: New Science Fiction on Climate Change, and in 2013, he edited an ebook anthology entitled Lonely Souls.

He won the World Fantasy Award (Special Award–Professional) in 2000 and in 2003. In 2007 and again in 2008 he won the Hugo Award for Best Editor–Short Form. He has taught at various writing workshops. He lives in New Jersey.

You started editing while still in University. What inspired you to become an editor? Do you have any advice for would-be editors? Read more…

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