Odyssey Podcast #148: Melissa Scott

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #148

Award-winning author Melissa Scott was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. Podcast #148 is an excerpt from her lecture on worldbuilding.

Melissa was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and studied history at Harvard College. She earned her Ph.D. from Brandeis University in the comparative history program with a dissertation titled “The Victory of the Ancients: Tactics, Technology, and the Use of Classical Precedent.” She also sold her first novel, The Game Beyond, and quickly became a part-time graduate student and an—almost—full-time writer.

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Odyssey Podcast #147: Gregory Ashe (Part 2)

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #147

Odyssey graduate and bestselling author Gregory Ashe was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. Podcast #147 is part 2 of an excerpt from his lecture about scene and sequel.

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 ℗ 2022 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.

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

Interview: Graduate Mars Hawthorne

Mars Hawthorne is a writer of dark fiction based in Portland, Oregon, as well as a 2021 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, for which she was the recipient of the Miskatonic Scholarship. Her passion for storytelling began in kindergarten when she informed a teacher that, during nap-time, she’d witnessed a monster eat the little girl next to her and then spit out her bones. She’s a member of the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers. In her free time, Mars likes to patronize her favorite art-house movie theaters, take meandering walks, and watch her beloved local soccer clubs.


Can you talk about your pre-Odyssey writing process? What kind of writing schedule, if any, did you keep? 

Before Odyssey, my writing process was a mixed bag. I became serious about improving my writing in 2017, but I mostly worked in highly caffeinated sprints where I’d get excited about a project and work on it for 1-2 hours a day for 3-5 days a week for a couple months, followed by weeks or months-long lulls in between. I was lucky to have an active, supportive writing group to meet up with and submit work to (hi, Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers!), where I also critiqued the work of other members, which helped me assess my own work better. However, I didn’t have a varied toolbox of techniques to draw upon when problems arose, except for whatever I gleaned from the craft books I read in my free time. My process was mostly 1) draft, 2) receive critique, 3) reflect on critique, then 4) revise until a piece “felt” done. But, spoiler alert, I usually wasn’t done! Instead, I’d often put a story on indefinite hold in frustration when I got stuck on a problem that I couldn’t identify or address.

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Odyssey Podcast #146: Gregory Ashe (Part 1)

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #146

Odyssey graduate and bestselling author Gregory Ashe was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. Podcast #146 is an excerpt from his lecture about scene and sequel.

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 ℗ 2022 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.

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

Graduate Essay: “Into the Deep End” by Malcolm Carvalho

Malcolm Carvalho is a graduate of the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop.  He writes science fiction and poetry. His work has been featured in several literary journals and magazines, including 365 Tomorrows, Kitaab, Bengaluru Review, and Muse India. Most recently, his poetry has been featured in the anthology A Letter, A Poem, A Home. He blogs at grainsofthought.wordpress.com. He also facilitates poetry workshops and performs improv comedy in his adopted city, Bangalore.

Malcolm was the 2021 recipient of The Quantum Entanglement Scholarship. Funded anonymously by an Odyssey graduate, The Quantum Entanglement Scholarship provides support to an outstanding writer of science fiction each year. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward tuition.


When I came to Odyssey, I had made a small list of the skills I wanted to work on. I wanted to focus on creating stronger characters and better plot resolutions. I wanted to know what I was missing in my stories.

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Odyssey Podcast #145: P. Djèlí Clark

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #145

Award-winning author Phenderson Djèlí Clark was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. In this excerpt from a question and answer session, he answers questions about incorporating history into fiction, gaps in history, and originality.

Phenderson is the award-winning and Hugo-, Nebula-, Sturgeon-, and World Fantasy-nominated author of the novellas The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His stories have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Apex, Lightspeed, Fireside Fiction, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including Griots, Hidden Youth and Clockwork Cairo. He is a founding member of FIYAH Literary Magazine and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons.

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Odyssey Podcast #144: David Farland

mp3 Odyssey Podcast #144

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 experiences as a teacher and mentor.

David, who sadly passed away in January, was an international bestselling author with over 50 novels in print. He 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 was best known, however, for his New York Times bestselling fantasy series The Runelords.

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Graduate Essay: “Odyssey: A Storytelling Jumpstart” by Katherine McMullen Yañez

Katherine McMullen Yañez is a graduate of the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. Her work has been featured in Parhelion Literary Magazine, Aurora Online, and in the short story anthology from KY Press, Scary Story: An Anthology. Her short story, “The People Tree: An American Fable” was nominated for Best of the Net. A proud native Kentuckian, she is currently freezing her @ss off in Northeastern Ohio.


I applied to Odyssey when my writing had come to a stand-still and nothing I tried was able to jumpstart it. Convinced I had writer’s block, I hoped the frantic pace and harsh deadlines would spur me out of my rut. Within the first few days (maybe even hours!) I realized I didn’t have writer’s block—I just sucked at plotting. My writing was stalled because I didn’t have a firm grasp what the events of the story were supposed to be. Having an MFA degree, it was humbling to realize I was lacking in such fundamental aspects of story.

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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/

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