The 2009 Experience

The 2009 class of the Odyssey Writing Workshop just graduated in July, and we thought you might like to hear what some of the newest members have to say about their experience:

Meg Spooner

Make no mistake, Odyssey will tear away all your comforting delusions about yourself as a writer. But something happens along the way, a painful–but ultimately hugely rewarding–process of discovering true worth, ability, and uniqueness that replaces those false delusions with the truth: you have a story to tell, and only you can tell it.

Travis Heermann
Author, Heart of the Ronin

I would recommend Odyssey to anyone who wants to write science fiction, fantasy, or horror professionally. Your writing will make quantum leaps in quality during a challenging six weeks. Jeanne is a fantastic instructor, and her experience as a writer and also as an industry professional come through in every class and critique. The guest lecturers and writer-in-residence add a fresh dimension and perspectives not only on how to write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but also what it takes and what it means to be a professional writer.

Kevin G. Jewell

Ray Bradbury says, “throw yourself off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” Odyssey gives you tools and plans to build them.

Jenny Rae Rappaport

Jeanne taught me that a plot toolbox does exist, and how to use it. She has helped me learn to describe concepts that I knew internally, but couldn’t verbalize well. It has made me a better writer and a better literary agent.

Arthur Dorrance

This workshop is a contact-high for people serious about writing genre fiction.

Corry L. Lee

Odyssey taught me more than I ever knew was possible. I had to work harder than I’ve ever worked (even in grad school) but the rewards were even greater. I learned about weaknesses I never knew existed in my writing and gained practical techniques to attack those weaknesses. I made friends I will cherish for a lifetime.

Brad Hafford

Odyssey is more than a journey into the art of storytelling; it makes a writer face cyclopean fears, buffeted by storm-tossed critiques, finally to find shore in a more confident structure and passionate style. It has changed me and my writing profoundly. For the better.

Alex Wolfe

If a fellow writer asked if I would recommend Odyssey to him, I would do so without hesitation and as emphatically as possible. The experience was, from a craft, social, and overall developmental standpoint, a catalyst beyond anything I could have hoped for in terms of growing as a writer and as a person. I cannot recommend it enough.

Mary Rodgers

Attending Odyssey was both a privilege and a pleasure. I am so grateful for this experience. Everything from the rigor of the coursework to the joy of bonding with my amazing classmates has been invaluable. I suppose that I could have done without my newly minted caffeine addiction, but that is at best a minor quibble. I can’t wait to go home and put all that I’ve learned
into practice . . .

Sharon Sun

Odyssey really showed me who I was, both as a writer and as a person, and Jeanne did an amazing job at teaching me all I never knew about myself, and then guiding me to where I should go next.

Kaalii Cargill

Attending Odyssey has given me specific, concrete ways to address long-standing issues in my writing.

Kelli D. Meyer

Both the time and money invested in Odyssey were well worth it. I can’t imagine any experience paying bigger dividends in terms of improving my writing and my chances of publication.

Peter Simonson

I’ve never worked with an instructor who was so dedicated to my personal learning. Odyssey is an extraordinary experience because Jeanne puts so much of her love of writers, the craft, and the genres into it.

Lisa Poh

Before I came to Odyssey, I was wandering, lost in a fog of war, unsure of where I stood in terms of my writing and unable to gauge how far I was from my goals. Odyssey lifted that fog of war, and I, for the first time, can see clearly now where I am in terms of my strengths and weaknesses, and more vitally, how much more I need to work to meet up to those standards.

Jeanne is far and away the best part of Odyssey. One element that distinguishes Odyssey is that Jeanne is our primary instructor throughout the six weeks, although we benefit from guest lecturers and a week taught by a writer-in-residence. The benefit of this is that Jeanne is like a lighthouse for us through our sometimes rocky and daunting voyage. She’s always there to guide us, give us words of wisdom or advice, or fix the broken plots that we bring to her in a panic. She brings coherence and practicality to understanding writing and publishing. She has so much compassion for struggling writers–something I’ve not experienced in the creative writing classes I’ve previously taken–and through these six weeks, makes the effort to individually meet with us to talk to us about what makes each of us unique in our voice, to affirm that we do have something special we bring to the table as writers, and to work with us using specific tools to fix the problems we didn’t know how to fix. I can’t thank her enough for her dedication and passion!

Jason Heller

If you think you know what you’re doing as a writer, Odyssey will cure you of that particular misgiving. But it will replace your crutches and bad habits with real tools and techniques for obliterating ruts, breaking glass ceilings, and digging deep into yourself for motivation and inspiration. Quite simply, Odyssey changed my life. I’ll never look at words the same way again.

For more information about Odyssey, its graduates and instructors, please visit our website at


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