Thursday, July 13, 2006


Video of interview with Jeanne Cavelos
Video of me at Odyssey

Some images of Odyssey, including last year's class

As I briefly blogged before, I went to New Hampshire in June as a guest lecturer at Odyssey Workshop, run by Jeanne Cavelos. It was a fun experience, and I thought I'd drop some photos and video (see above) on ya. Click photos below for larger versions.

Jeanne in the classroom

Odyssey features Jeanne and her assistant Susan for the full six weeks, meaning the students get consistency throughout the six weeks, which probably cuts down on student drama, ups and downs--the things that can really kill you over six weeks. Susan actually stays in the student dormitory, and since she has gone to Odyssey and been there helping for awhile, she gives the students necessary perspective when needed.

Although, I have to say that this group of students seemed very focused and non-dramatic, which is a good thing.

Susan and Jeanne

During the six-week period, the students have assignments in addition to writing stories, and guest lecturers who come in the end of every week to add their outside perspective, provide additional manuscript techniques, sit in on the workshop part, provide a lecture and exercises, and answer questions from the students.

Before the writer reception...

As Jeanne writes on the Odyssey website:

Odyssey is the only program of its kind run by an editor. I was a senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where I won the World Fantasy Award for my editing, and I serve as primary instructor at the workshop. Half of our class time is spent on lectures, writing exercises, and discussions. In my lectures, I provide an advanced, comprehensive curriculum, covering the elements of fiction writing in depth. To improve your writing, you need to understand the various tools and techniques writers can use to create a strong story. Many workshops, unfortunately, offer only brief, superficial lectures. We study some of the most beautiful and powerful writing in the field to gain understanding of what these tools can do in the right hands. I also discuss the common failings of developing writers and explain how to avoid those pitfalls.

Another photo from before the reception

This year, the guest lecturers were myself, Melissa Scott, Laurie J. Marks, Christopher Golden and award-winning editor and agent Shawna McCarthy, with Robert Sawyer as the writer-in-residence the last week.

Me 'n' Dave H., another student

I really enjoyed the experience. It's a rigorous day-and-a-half, but well-worth it. As mentioned, the students seem focused and serious.

Barbecue Friday night

The setting, St. Anselm College in Manchester, is really lovely.

Barbecue take 2

I think that in general the hardest thing to get people to realize is just how much discipline it takes to be a writer. Six-week workshops are fatiguing in a lot of ways, but they do make you focus and they do help you decide if writing is something you're willing to put the requisite time into.

Susan, me, Jeanne, and Matt Cheney at the barbecue

Of course, there's also room for fun--the students started having a barbecue the week before we arrived, a tradition I was happy to endorse. Great grilled portobello mushrooms! Matt Cheney, our guide through the wilds of New Hampshire, showed up in time to partake.

Me 'n' Ann

I hope the students had a great four weeks after I left them.

Clayton Kroh and me; photo by Calie Voorhis

For this blog entry, Clayton Kroh was kind enough to supply me with photos he'd taken. Many thanks. Here's a complete list of the students for 2006.

Jeff Pert

Victoria Witt

Eric Newman

Rhiannon Held

Clayton Kroh

Lance Kind

Adria Laycraft

Ellen Denham

Liz Hirst

Larry Hodges

Deborah Sacks

Dave Hendrickson

Russell Scarola

Calie Voorhis

Nu Yang

Terry Edge


At 3:40 PM, Blogger Abby said...

Hee hee! I spy myself in those photos. Thanks for posting all this! Happy memories.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Just finishing my week with the Odyssey crowd. They're a terrific bunch, and I had a great time. They've had lots of terrific things to say about you, Jeff!

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm---any particular reason the first student name listed is "Jeff"?

Jeff P.

P.S. Thanks, Jeff. It was great having you with us for a day. I'd to write a little more here, but Jeanne has the lash out!


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