Odyssey Writing Workshop Taking Applications

Each year, writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror from all over the world apply to the Odyssey Writing Workshop for fantasy, science fiction, and horror, which this year will be held June 4 to July 13 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Only fifteen are admitted.

Class meets for over four hours each day, five days a week, with time split between lectures and workshopping.  Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work.

Odyssey is for writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work.

The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 7.

The workshop is held by the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  Odyssey is funded in part by donations from graduates, grantors and supporters, and in part by student tuition.  Tuition is $2,025, and housing in campus apartments is $892 for a double room and $1,784 for a single.  All applicants receive feedback on their writing sample.

Financial Aid

  • Beginning this year, bestselling author George R. R. Martin is funding a scholarship for an Odyssey student. The Miskatonic Scholarship will be awarded to a promising writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It will cover full tuition, textbook, and housing. As Martin notes –

We are not looking for Lovecraft pastiches, nor even Cthulhu Mythos stories. References to Arkham, Azathoth, shoggoths, the Necronomicon, and the fungi from Yuggoth are by no means obligatory…though if some candidates choose to include them, that’s fine as well. What we want is the sort of originality that H. P. Lovecraft displayed in his day…. What we want are nightmares new and resonant and profound, comic terrors that will haunt our dreams for years to come.

  • The Parasite Publications Character Awards, sponsored by Odyssey graduate Sara King, provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend.  The awards provide three scholarships in the amounts of $2,025 (full tuition), $500, and $300.
  • Several other scholarships and a work/study position are also available.

Odyssey’s Director and Primary Instructor

Odyssey founder Jeanne Cavelos is a bestselling author and former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work.  She works individually with students, meeting with them over the six weeks to set goals, chart progress, and talk out problems.  She also provides students with detailed, constructive critiques that average over 1,500 words each.  In 2015, Jeanne was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for her work teaching and running Odyssey.

2018 Guest Lecturers

Lecturers for the 2018 workshop include —

  • Elizabeth Hand
  • Theodora Goss
  • E. C. Ambrose
  • Nisi Shawl
  • Meagan Spooner
  • Gary A. Braunbeck
  • Scott H. Andrews, editor/ publisher of Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Here is a video of graduates describing their Odyssey experiences:

Odyssey Graduates

Recent novels by Odyssey graduates include Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; The Thickety: The Last Spell by J. A. White, from HarperCollins; The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, from Saga Press; The Dark Apostle:  Elisha Mancer by E. C. Ambrose, from Baen Books; and Hunted by Meagan Spooner, published by HarperTeen.  Odyssey graduates have had short fiction published in the top magazines in the field:  Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Asimov’s, Tor.com, Weird Tales, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and many more.

[Based on a press release.]

Register for Odyssey Online Writing Workshops

The Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust is offering three live, intensive online classes this winter. While Odyssey’s nonprofit mission is to help writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, however, writers of all genres are welcome to apply. Full information can be found at their website or by emailing jcavelos@odysseyworkshop.org.

The three classes are:

Standing Out: Creating Short Stories with That Crucial Spark
Course Meets:  January 11- February 8, 2018
Instructor:  Scott H. Andrews
Level:  Intermediate to Advanced
Application Deadline:  December 15, 2017

One major struggle for writers is having their work stand out from the hundreds of submissions editors and agents receive. Every day, writers submit well-crafted, engaging stories and novels only to have them rejected. Scott H. Andrews, editor-in-chief and publisher of the fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a five-time Hugo Award finalist, discussed this at the Odyssey workshop last summer, and his insights were so fascinating that we asked him to teach an online course. Scott receives far too many well-crafted, engaging stories each month to publish. For him to publish a story, it needs to be special; it needs to have that crucial spark. What exactly is a “spark”? In Standing Out: Creating Short Stories with That Crucial Spark, Scott will describe various ways to create a spark–with a fascinating concept or thematic impact or emotional resonance or potent voice. Students will study examples and then work to add a spark to their own work. For intermediate to advanced authors, having that spark can make the difference between personalized rejections and sales. If you want to write works that are more than competent, that captivate or enthrall or delight, this course is for you.

Saying the Unsayable:  Building Meaning and Resonance Through Subtext
Course Meets:  January 4 – February 1, 2018
Instructor:  Donna Glee Williams
Level:  Intermediate to Advanced
Application Deadline:  December 8, 2017

The most common request made by Odyssey Online students has been for a course on subtext. One of the most insightful approaches to subtext has been developed by author Donna Glee Williams.  Donna Glee has been teaching highly praised writing seminars for years, so Odyssey is honored to have her as an instructor for Saying the Unsayable: Building Meaning and Resonance Through Subtext. Writers spend most of their time focused on the text, the words on the page. But often the part of the story that most engages readers is the subtext, the layer of meaning below the surface of the words. Readers respond strongly to what is not on the page, elements that are implied, evoked, suggested, but unsaid. For a story to engage and move readers, whether they are adults, young adults, or middle-grade readers, the author must create both text and subtext. Donna Glee will explain how subtext can be generated in almost any part of a story using three key strategies, and students will study these strategies and work to incorporate them into their own work. For intermediate to advanced writers, this course will offer invaluable techniques to engage readers in the line-by-line flow of the story and make them deeply invested in the characters and outcomes.

One Brick at a Time:  Crafting Compelling Scenes
Course Meets:  January 3-January 31, 2018
Instructor:  Barbara Ashford
Level:  Intermediate
Application Deadline:  December 7, 2017

One of Odyssey’s most highly rated instructors, award-winning novelist Barbara Ashford, has agreed to bring back her course One Brick at a Time: Crafting Compelling Scenes. Stories and novels are made up of scenes, so if your scenes are weak, your story has little chance of success. Writers often have strong ideas, fresh worlds, and interesting characters, but their scenes do not do justice to these elements. A compelling scene engages readers intellectually and emotionally, changes something of significance to the story, and leaves readers eager to turn the page to find out what happens next. Barbara will explain how to design your scenes, how to track and develop the emotional beats in a scene to create strong impact, and how to diagnose and fix problems in scenes. Students will study effective scenes and weak scenes, discover the special needs of opening and ending scenes, and learn how to make sure all the scenes work together to create a powerful story or novel. These skills are invaluable for intermediate students seeking to take their work to the next level, so Odyssey is offering it again for those who were unable to take the course in 2015. Students of Barbara’s classes regularly praise her insightful lectures, her effective instruction, and her incredible, in-depth critiques. This course will help you shape each scene into a powerful, memorable experience for the reader.

[Based on a press release.]