Tag Archives: critique

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Graduating Class!

And here we are! Brand new graduates! Survivalists! Word-Wizards!

I wanted to say a few things/memories about everyone, maybe show you how they’re people and not just faces :)

TOP ROW (Lf-Rt):

Jeanne – our fearless, ingenious leader. Ever insisting that a character’s uppance is coming. Always giving us one-on-one encouragement. Never allowing us to wallow in despair. A taskmaster. But a kind one, who sees and acknowledges our development and progress.

Adam – Out of all of us, he was the one who liked to move around, his background changing to another part of his house now and then. He had a huge amount of energy during a Conan reading! That could not be forgotten for the rest of the workshop as people would tap him to read passages of passion. I’m pretty sure he’s a borderlands fan and he’s been giving us all marketing tips as that’s part of his background.

Ola – My virtual roommate! We got to talk before the workshop started and would chat in private messages (but only during casual conversation time, of course). She lives in New York City, is incredibly organized and super driven. She commemorates aspects of her experiences in script tattoos on her wrist (that I thought were bracelets at first) and I find that to be an amazing way to keep those experiences alive. [She has also started a brand-new pro-paying magazine called khōréō magazine that has a focus on elevating stories of immigrants and those affected by diaspora, so be sure to give it a check!] Continue reading

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: And Sundry!

It’s hard to squeeze everything into these posts. It really is. I scarcely went a day where I didn’t get on Zoom or upload a critique. So these are just a few additional things that didn’t warrant getting an entire blog post to themselves but I thought might be nice to mention:

Before Odyssey began, all of us got our own specialized box of snacks to tide us over through lectures and Q&A sessions. Brain food for our writing times. One of the snacks I got was a bag of lollipops that I kept over in my office because they wouldn’t require me to brush anything off my braces, so that was greatly appreciated.

During Odyssey, I also received a bookmark as a reward for completing the entire first week’s journal entries. That, uh, never happened again. My journal entries became last on my list often and I’d scrape by with three completed a week. I also noticed that the journal entries that I’d gravitate toward were the ones I really enjoyed doing and, consequently, probably the ones I needed to do the least.

We would have weekly check-ins with our resident Odyssey supervisor, Amy Katherine Black (or A.Kat Black). These were random small groups of us and we would sometimes chat for 5 minutes, sometimes for 20. They were meant to be a way for us to get to know one another better despite not being physically at St. Anselm’s, but many of us would have loved more opportunities to have small conversations among just each other.

At the tail end of Odyssey, we crafted a Slack group just for our year’s graduates, where we can chat, remind each other to accomplish our goals, to motivate one another. It’s been a pleasant experience, getting to keep in touch with everyone and I’m incredibly glad for it.

<3 Marie C.

 

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: Guest Lecturers

One day during each week we were taught by a guest rather than Jeanne. These guests included: J. G. Faherty, Brandon Sanderson, Eric James Stone, E.C. Ambrose, Barbara Ashford, and Scott H. Andrews. Each of them taught a class on a different subject, from horror and world-building, to plot and publishing. They would all have Q&A sessions, and a few of them would stay for our Salon & Games after our group thank yous.

There were also a few guests who came for a very limited time. These included people such as Carrie Vaughn, James Joseph Adams, & Sheila Williams. They each did a Q&A session with us and some of them then did private critiques with a few people. Sheila Williams was kind enough to give me some advice on how to be a shy, socially anxious person within the industry as she’s also dealt with similar struggles and that was incredibly helpful and inspiring.

A few of these guests also did critiques with us. Brandon Sanderson did an in-class one for me, while E.C. Ambrose and Scott H. Andrews did private ones. Some of the guests were kinder and gentler than others, and some of them were more than willing to support us in our journeys, which was beyond kind of them :)

As a part of our thank you to each of our guests, Jeanne and Amy showed a past Odyssey t-shirt that represented something similar to what they would be getting once our year’s came in. This was actually what they were sent: our 2020 aptly named Viscerally Vexing since it can stand for both the crazy year we’ve all been having and the words we struggled over during Odyssey.

I think the best part of the having the varied guests drop-in virtually for us was to really shine a spotlight on how different people’s opinions are, how subjective the magazine and novel world is, and how our own specific writing voice has a home, we just have to discover where that is.

<3 Marie C.

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Slam

The Odyssey Slam occurred exactly halfway through the workshop. Normally, so I’ve heard, the Slam would occur at a local bookstore. Instead of a bookstore, we did a Zoom “party” where only the person reading at that time would have their camera turned on.

We got to invite three people. One of my invites was my mom. Unfortunately, my family got double-booked that day with my niece’s second birthday also being held as a zoom event with the overlap being across the first hour of the Slam.

This meant I had to request a late time slot in order for my mom to get to see me read. Boo :(

I’d been really wanting one of the first slots so I could do my freak out, get the read over with and truly enjoy everyone else’s stories. Instead, I sat in a puddle of anxiety that ticked higher after each subsequent person read their story. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember a single word of the story of the person who went directly before me because I was sitting in a haze of don’t-panic thoughts.

This was the story I read during the Slam

The story I chose to read was the flash piece “Cessation of Civilization” that had originally been published in December 2019. This meant that I didn’t have to write a piece for the Slam (thank goodness). I practiced it all morning, with my partner giving me tips on how to “look up sometimes!” So I made it through the read generally unscathed. Continue reading

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Salon & Games

One of the other meetings that occurred, this one weekly, were Friday meet-ups that either took the shape of a Salon discussion or a Game.

Maybe about half the class showed up to these events, some people starting the event and then making their excuses. I think I went to all of them.

The Salons centered around stories or story-telling methods generally. We discussed pre-class readings, both fiction and non-fiction, where I was intrigued to discover just how the views changed from person to person on the pieces we’d read. There was one story especially that many of us read it completely differently, which was incredible and eye-opening.

That being said, it was the Games that were the most fun! :) We’d have to come up with plot additions, with changes in character motivation. Or we’d have to craft world-building additions that wouldn’t contradict a prior rule already stated.

And, of course, there were options to contest an addition to the working plot or world, etc. So there were plenty of arguments as to what would work, what wouldn’t work. Continue reading