Tag Archives: workshop

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Aftermath

Where the beginning of Odyssey began slowly and ramped up, the end of Odyssey came abruptly. One day we were at lecture and critiques, had a graduation party that evening. The next day…nothing.

I wandered around, feeling lost, confused, pacing because my mind and body felt as if it was supposed to be doing something specific.

This was my life for six long weeks. I lived and breathed on Odyssey time. If I wasn’t attending lecture, I was reading a story to critique. If I wasn’t at a critique session, I was writing a story. If I wasn’t doing any of those things, I was working on a journal entry.

It got to the point where my daughter no longer asked me for tuck-ins at night. Six weeks of dad giving her nightly kisses. Six weeks of mom being locked in her office or buried in her computer or taking a walk with printed-out critique story and pencil took its toll. [I’m please to say that it only took another six-eight weeks for me to become the nightly requested tuck-in-er once more :)]

In terms of my writing, and all the things associated, my first week off Odyssey I did really well. Got back into the swing of things, went into writing-mode immediately M-F. Only, then I went on vacation, had the vacation cut short because of a hurricane and felt…morose. Partly because that vacation had been something I’d considered my reward and partly because suddenly I was smacked with all the things I’d let slide for two months.

I work on two pen names at once, so the list I compiled of projects to finish suddenly felt astronomical. Both blogs needed attention and posts; a novella needed finishing; promo work for a novel needed to be done; my submission number had dropped to a measly 1-2 out and stories desperately needed to be sent out; I had a stack of stories from Odyssey and before that needed editing; another novel to start preparing to write; my house was a complete wreck; my book club needed to meet; I was behind on reading I’d wanted to do; school was starting and would be at home; family felt partially abandoned by me and needed time and attention; and I’d agreed to do small extra things, like critiques & practice sessions that were now on the calendar; …I began to get that frozen feeling ones does when they feel like nothing you do will get you closer to finishing that goddamned elephant. Continue reading

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: Private Meetings

During the course of the workshop each of us had to meet with Jeanne three times throughout the six weeks. Once during each two-week span to talk about our weaknesses, strengths, goals, & progress, etc. I ended up having five meetings with her.

[It’s been a few months at this point, so hopefully my memory is correct. If it’s not, then it’s pretty close and the only issues might be exactly which meeting encompassed which discussion.]

Because of the way the submission schedule had been set up, my first submission wasn’t until almost the end of the second week of the workshop. I had a future submission schedule of four submissions due all within an 11 day time frame though, so I knew I had to be working on new stories during that first two weeks. Because I wanted to actually progress, I requested a short meeting with Jeanne earlier on so I might get a little idea on where I could focus on my current WIPS. Continue reading

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.