Odyssey Podcast #142: David Farland

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #142

Bestselling author David Farland was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. In this excerpt from a question and answer session, he answers questions about his plotting, outlining, and drafting processes. 

David is an international bestselling author with over 50 novels in print. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for Best SF novel of the year, the Whitney Award for Book of the Year, and the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the year, among others. He is best known, however, for his New York Times bestselling fantasy series The Runelords.

He is the lead judge for one of the world’s largest writing competitions and has helped dozens of writers launch their careers, including such well-known names as Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, and Stephenie Meyer. You can learn about his workshops and sign up for his free advice column at www.mystorydoctor.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2021 by David Farland. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2021 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.

For more Odyssey podcasts, visit:
https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/resources/podcasts/

OdBlog Flashback: “Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture” by Barbara Ashford

This winter, Odyssey Online is once again offering the course “Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel,” taught by Odyssey graduate and award-winning novelist Barbara Ashford. The following essay, in which Barbara shares some of her insights on the topic, was originally published here on December 1, 2018.

The application deadline for this winter’s Odyssey Online courses is December 6, 2021.


barbara ashford

Barbara has been praised by reviewers and readers alike for her compelling characters and her “emotional, heartfelt” storytelling. Her background as a professional actress, lyricist, and librettist has helped her delve deeply into character and explore the complexities of human nature on the stage as well as on the page. Her musical adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd has been optioned for Broadway.

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Odyssey Podcast #141: Barbara Ashford

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #141

Odyssey Podcast #141 is an excerpt from the Odyssey Online course “Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel,” taught by Odyssey graduate and award-winning author Barbara Ashford in Winter 2019. Barbara will be teaching the course again this winter. You can find more information on all of Odyssey’s 2022 online class offerings here: https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/odyssey-online/upcoming-classes/

Barbara has been praised by reviewers and readers alike for her compelling characters and her “emotional, heartfelt” storytelling. Her background as a professional actress, lyricist, and librettist has helped her delve deeply into character and explore the complexities of human nature on the stage as well as on the page. Her musical adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd has been optioned for Broadway.

Barbara’s first published series was the dark fantasy trilogy Trickster’s Game (written as Barbara Campbell). Published by DAW Books, Trickster’s Game was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society’s 2010 Fantasy Award for adult literature.

She drew on her musical theatre roots for her second novel series, the award-winning Spellcast and its sequel Spellcrossed, set in a magical summer stock theatre. DAW Books released the two novels in an omnibus edition: Spells at the Crossroads.

A 2000 graduate of the Odyssey workshop, Barbara has taught eight online courses for Odyssey and has served on the staff of the Odyssey Critique Service for more than a decade. You can visit her dual selves at barbara-campbell.com and barbara-ashford.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2019 by Barbara Ashford. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2021 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.

For more Odyssey podcasts, visit:
https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/resources/podcasts/

Graduate Essay: “Adventures in Emotional Craft” by Sam Weiss

Sam Weiss is a graduate of the 2007 Odyssey Writing Workshop and the 2021 Odyssey Online class Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers.” She is an applied mathematician who works in Boston with her husband and two cats. Her first professional sale, “There Will Be No Alien Invasion,” was published in Fireside in August 2021.


When I first started writing, I got a lot of “pretty writing but this isn’t really a story” critiques. I didn’t have a clue how to fix those stories or even what underlying problem those critiques pointed to. Once I wrapped my head around active main characters working toward a specific goal, obstacles, causal chains, and the framing of character change, those criticisms abruptly stopped. My stories fared better in my attempts to publish them (and caused less pain to those reading them), but I acquired a new set of criticisms: that my point of view was too distant, that I was telling and not showing, that I was showing but not telling, that the emotions my characters felt seemed inauthentic or inappropriate for their situations, or that the emotions were too on the nose.

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Odyssey Podcast #140: Scott H. Andrews

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #140

Photo credit: Al Bogdan

Odyssey Podcast #140 is an excerpt from the Odyssey Online course “Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers,” taught by Odyssey graduate and award-winning editor Scott H. Andrews in Winter 2019. Scott will be teaching the course again this winter. You can find more information on all of Odyssey’s 2022 online class offerings here: https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/odyssey-online/upcoming-classes/

Scott lives in Virginia with his wife, two cats, twelve guitars, a dozen overflowing bookcases, and hundreds of beer bottles from all over the world. He writes, teaches college chemistry, and is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the eight-time Hugo Award finalist and World Fantasy Award-winning online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Scott’s literary short fiction has won a $1000 prize from the Briar Cliff Review, and his genre short fiction has appeared in Space & Time, Crossed Genres, and Ann VanderMeer’s Weird Tales. Scott has taught writing at the Odyssey Workshop, Writefest, and online for Odyssey Online Classes, Clarion West, and Cat Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. He has lectured on short fiction, secondary-world fantasy, editing, magazine publishing, audio podcasting, and beer on dozens of convention panels at multiple Worldcons, World Fantasy conventions, and regional conventions in the Northeast and Midwest. He is a seven-time finalist and 2019 winner of the World Fantasy Award, and he celebrates International Stout Day at least once a year.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2019 by Scott H. Andrews. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2021 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.

For more Odyssey podcasts, visit:
https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/resources/podcasts/

2022 Odyssey Online Classes

ODYSSEY’S LIVE, INTENSIVE ONLINE CLASSES HELP WRITERS OVERCOME MAJOR CHALLENGES

“I am so thrilled I was able to take an Odyssey Online Class, I can already see the improvement in my writing. The lectures and class discussion were wonderful. I learned so much in a short amount of time. The feedback I received from my classmates was invaluable and the critiques from the instructor have already improved my novel beyond expectations. I cannot recommend this class enough!”

—Hayley Wild

For 26 years, Odyssey has been holding its world-renowned workshop for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, with 59% of graduates going on to professional publication. Among Odyssey graduates are award winners, Amazon bestsellers, and New York Times bestsellers.

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Graduate Essay: “My Odyssey Experience” by F. P. Rahe

F. P. Rahe is a 2020 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. She is an alumna of the 2019 Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and has been recognized at the national level by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. When not reading or writing, she enjoys making omelets, criticizing Socrates, and hanging out with her family.


I applied to Odyssey in March of 2020 because I wanted to make a serious improvement in my writing. I had been working on my writing for years before that point, hammering away at novels and short stories each day. My writing was competent prose-wise, but not exceptional. I had only a slight instinctual grasp of the vagaries of character and plot. Causal chains were a concept I was utterly unfamiliar with. This ignorance of the conscious craft of writing impacted my work in many extremely negative ways. Among other things, I was unable to recognize or address many of the problems in my stories, preventing me from making valuable progress. I knew I needed to improve; I hoped Odyssey would show me how.

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Odyssey Podcast #139: Gregory Ashe

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #139

Odyssey graduate and bestselling author Gregory Ashe was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. In this excerpt from a question and answer session, he answers questions about his outlining, writing, and revision processes, his prolificity, and how he plots a series. This winter, Gregory will be teaching the Odyssey Online course “Scene & Sequel: How to Generate Character-Driven Momentum, Control Pacing, and Write a Page-Turning Story.”

Gregory is a longtime Midwesterner. He has lived in Chicago, Bloomington (IN), and Saint Louis, his current home. He primarily writes contemporary mysteries, with forays into romance, fantasy, and horror. Predominantly, his stories feature LGBTQ protagonists. When not reading and writing, he is an educator. For more information, visit his website: www.gregoryashe.com.

The text of this recording is copyright © 2021 by Gregory Ashe. The sound recording is copyright ℗ 2021 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.

For more Odyssey podcasts, visit:
https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/resources/podcasts/

Graduate Essay: “Is Odyssey the Right Workshop for You?” by Libby Barringer

Libby Barringer is a 2020 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. She writes fantasy and science fiction, and she lives in the New York Hudson Valley with her husband and their excellent cat. She earned her PhD in political science in 2016 from UCLA, and when not writing, she teaches courses in political philosophy and literature with Bard College and with the Bard Prison Initiative.


If you are thinking about attending Odyssey, chances are you are grappling with a few big questions: Is this the right workshop for me? Will this help my writing, and will this help me in my professional career? What do attendees actually do for all six weeks of classes? How much more is there really to learn about writing, and can the workshop really deliver? Is it really as intense as everyone says?

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2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop Scholarship Winners

MISKATONIC SCHOLARSHIP

George R. R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author, created the Miskatonic Scholarship to support a promising new writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop each year. Martin discovered the work of H. P. Lovecraft when he was a boy and found that no other writer could give him “chills to equal those provided by the cosmic horrors that Lovecraft evoked.” With the scholarship, Martin hopes to encourage and inspire a new generation of writers to explore the genre of cosmic horror. To one outstanding writer, Martin is offering the opportunity to study at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, one of the top programs in the world for writers of the fantastic.

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