Start the new year by leveling up your writing skills!
The Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, widely known for its highly praised, six-week, in-person workshop, is offering three intensive online writing classes this winter, as well as Odyssey’s first webinar.
Odyssey Online helps you to learn new techniques and build your skills, and provides in-depth feedback to guide you. If you’re ready to hear about the weaknesses in your writing and ready to work to overcome them, you’d be welcome to apply.
The online classes being offered are:
- Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction, taught by Odyssey director and bestselling author Jeanne Cavelos;
- Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel, taught by award-winning author Barbara Ashford; and
- Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot, taught by award-winning author David B. Coe.
More information about Odyssey’s online webinars can be found here.
Click on the title of each class to learn more about class times, tuition, and requirements. PLEASE NOTE: Application deadlines are coming up soon! If you would like to apply for more than one course, you must apply separately for each one.
Course Meets: January 4 – February 2, 2016
Instructor: Jeanne Cavelos
Application Deadline: December 7, 2015
Does your story or novel take too long to “get going”? Does it lack momentum, suspense, and escalation? Do you feel you’re making plot decisions randomly? Are you missing crisis points of impact and emotion? Do readers say “ho hum” or “hunh?” to your climax? Key to strong plotting is understanding the act structure of your story or novel and developing it to its greatest effect. While writing books and blogs periodically discuss acts, few clearly define what truly comprises an act or explain how plotting in acts can create a more suspenseful, unpredictable, and emotionally satisfying experience for the reader. With a strong act structure, your protagonist will face challenges that will put him, and the reader, through an experience they will never forget. When this course was previously offered, students found it extremely helpful. One student commented, “This class has changed the way I write. Before, the words ‘plot and structure’ would make me recoil in anxiety and frustration. Now, I see plot and structure as exciting tools to help me create the kind of stories I want to write.”
Join Jeanne Cavelos, bestselling author and Odyssey director, recently nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her teaching, as she explains how you can strengthen and transform your work through plotting in acts.
REVISED AND EXPANDED FOR 2016!
Course Meets: January 5 – February 16, 2016
Instructor: Barbara Ashford
Application Deadline: December 9, 2015
One of our most popular instructors, Barbara Ashford, is offering a revised and expanded version of her most highly rated class.
Finished the first draft of a novel? Still working on it? Struggling with revisions? Getting the big picture can help bring your novel to life.
Writers often approach revisions as an opportunity to polish their manuscripts rather than to take a hard look at the story itself. If your plot meanders and your protagonist’s goals are unclear, polishing your prose won’t help. Award-winning author Barbara Ashford believes the most important skill required to transform a promising novel into a published one is the ability to see the “big picture,” to understand how the building blocks of a novel relate to each other, to identify weaknesses, and to make the necessary changes to strengthen the story.
Barbara will discuss the “big picture” elements at the foundation of every novel: premise, promise, theme, world, character, and plot. The course will explore ways to deepen the connection between these elements and create a more unified and powerful story, the key to lifting a novel out of the slush pile and onto an agent’s desk. A student who previously took the course said this: “I am in the outlining stages of a novel. The Odyssey online class Getting the Big Picture helped me focus in on the true nature of my story, what lies at its heart. The class has given me the tools to improve both plot and characters and tie the two more strongly into the theme. These are the most useful class sessions I have ever attended.”
Course Meets: January 21 – February 18, 2016
Instructor: David B. Coe
Application Deadline: December 26, 2015
Of all the many tools writers have at their disposal, perhaps none is more powerful, or more overlooked, than point of view. Often thought of simply as the perspective through which a story is told, it is actually far, far more. It is the mechanism by which we guide our readers through the plot points, narrative arcs, and emotions of our fiction. It is the place where all of our storytelling elements–character, plot, setting, prose–come together. And point of view can also provide solutions to some of the most common problems encountered by aspiring writers and professionals alike. Award-winning author David B. Coe, highly praised mentor and teacher of fiction writing, will show how weaknesses in point of view can undermine an entire story.
We will begin our discussion of point of view by looking at the many factors that go into choosing the correct point of view character or characters for our stories, as well as the proper voice for those characters. We will then move to the study of how point of view influences not only character arc, but also our establishment of plotting, setting, and pacing. We’ll explore the challenges in writing from the point of view of non-human characters and characters from alien cultures. Finally we will conclude the course with an exploration of the ways in which POV can be used to address a host of common problems writers encounter in their work.
Live Webinar: February 23, 2016
Instructor: Alex Hughes
Registration Deadline: January 25, 2016 (for live webinar)
NOTE: Writers may register for the recorded session at any time
What do you do if you can’t seem to write?
Writers get words on the page. No matter what else is happening in their lives, successful writers continue to produce great work they can be proud of. And yet, if you ask any group of writers what their big challenge is, most will point to getting those words on the page when life gets difficult. And it will get difficult. Fortunately, there are ways to get the words out anyway and continue to reach towards your dreams even in the hardest of circumstances.
In this webinar, author Alex Hughes discusses a variety of strategies to keep the words flowing even when things get tough. She highlights common obstacles such as distractions, depression, anxiety, creative burnout, industry setbacks, family priorities, being overwhelmed by marketing/promotion, job stress, and much more, along with potential solutions. What do you do when you run into a creative wall? Alex gives you the tools you need to dig out. Furthermore, she lays out the methods that she’s used as a working author to meet hard deadlines, including sprints and Pomodoro, creative support, forming good writing habits, and exercises, and provides detailed resources to help you in your journey. She also covers how to decide when to “move the goalpost,” or make hard (and smart) business decisions when the bottom drops out of your life and/or writing becomes very difficult indeed. A practical discussion of some of the hardest parts of the writer’s journey, complete with an open question and answer session at the end. All struggles welcome.
Remember, the Odyssey site offers many resources for writers, including free podcasts, a monthly discussion salon, writing and publishing tips, a blog, a critique service, and information about the six-week, in-person workshop. Drop by and give your writing a boost!