Odyssey’s Live, Intensive Online Classes to Help Writers Overcome Major Challenges

For 26 years, Odyssey has been holding its world-renowned workshop for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, with 59% of graduates going on to professional publication.  Among Odyssey graduates are award winners, Amazon bestsellers, and New York Times bestsellers.

In 2010, Odyssey adapted their extremely effective teaching techniques to the online environment and began offering intensive online classes.  

Odyssey has announced its online class offerings for Winter 2022:  Scene and Sequel: How to Generate Character-Driven Momentum, Control Pacing, and Write a Page-Turning Story, taught by bestselling author Gregory Ashe; Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers, taught by award-winning editor/publisher Scott H. Andrews; and Getting the Big Picture:  The Key to Revising Your Novel, taught by award-winning novelist Barbara Ashford.

Odyssey has been a leader and innovator in live online classes, providing a unique mix of intense instruction, challenging assignments, one-on-one guidance, and in-depth feedback.  Live class meetings allow a virtual classroom experience, with students asking and answering questions, participating in discussions, and exploring the subject matter with the instructor’s guidance.  In the time between class meetings, students interact with each other and the instructor in a discussion group, complete assignments, and give and receive feedback.  Each student also has a one-on-one meeting with the instructor. 

To ensure each course provides an exceptional learning experience, Odyssey offers only three online classes each year.  To ensure each student receives individual attention, only fourteen writers are admitted to each class.  

The application deadline for all three courses is December 6, 2021.  Classes are held in January and February.  

While the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust has the nonprofit mission to help writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror improve their work, writers of any genre of fiction are welcome to apply.  Courses cover issues helpful to fiction writers aiming their work at adult, young adult, or middle grade readers.  


Scene & Sequel:  How to Generate Character-Driven Momentum, Control Pacing, and Write a Page-Turning Story

Course Meets: January 6 – February 3, 2022

Instructor: Bestselling author Gregory Ashe

Level:  Beginner to Intermediate

At last summer’s Odyssey workshop, guest lecturer Gregory Ashe blew us away with his lecture on scene and sequel.  Most of the class already had some understanding of the difference between scene and sequel, but Greg presented these concepts with such insight and depth that it felt as if we were hearing about something entirely new and extremely valuable. More than that, Greg explained how the skillful use of scenes and sequels can strengthen almost every aspect of your story. They can help you make sure your protagonist has a strong goal that moves the story forward. They can help you convey the impact of events on your protagonist and bring more emotion into your story.  They can help you structure your story, manipulate pacing, and keep readers turning the pages. This was such a fascinating lecture that several students immediately requested that Greg be invited to teach an online class on the subject, where he could expand on these concepts. So here it is.  Students will study the use of scenes and sequels in the works of professional writers, will explore what makes scenes and sequels effective or weak, will write their own scenes and sequels, and will learn how to make the most of scenes and sequels in every story or novel. These skills are invaluable for beginner to intermediate students seeking to take their work to the next level. 



Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers

Course Meets: January 5 – February 2, 2022

Instructor: Award-winning editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews 

Level:  Intermediate to Advanced

According to Scott H. Andrews, editor-in-chief and publisher of the eight-time Hugo Award finalist and World Fantasy Award-winning online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the most common weakness in submissions is the failure to convey character emotions in a powerful way. To help writers develop this skill, Scott created the course Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers.  Scott taught this class last year, and the reactions were so enthusiastic, we wanted to offer it again.

Scott will explain the most effective techniques to convey character emotions realistically and powerfully on the page, so that moment by moment, you can create an authentic and evocative experience. He’ll show you which techniques work best for point-of-view characters, and which work best for non-point-of-view characters. He’ll also discuss how to handle multiple emotions, conflicting emotions, and complex emotions, because that’s when stories get really interesting. More than that, the course will cover strategies for developing situations and stories with strong potential for emotional resonance, and how to use character emotions to make every page a gripping read. The character’s emotions may draw readers to the character or repel readers from him, but either way, line by line and scene by scene, you’ll be able to give readers an authentic, powerful, involving experience.



Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel

Course Meets: January 4 – February 15, 2022

Instructor: Award-winning novelist Barbara Ashford

Level:  Intermediate

In response to many requests, we’re bringing back this course, one of our most highly rated.  There are few things more difficult than revising a novel.  You’ve worked on it for months, or years, and you’re so immersed in it you can’t step back and see the big picture. You might polish the draft and make minor changes, but you don’t really know what to change to turn that rough draft into a powerful, unified novel. And chances are, major changes are necessary. In this course, Barbara Ashford, one of our most popular instructors, will guide you in a deep examination of the “big picture” elements of your novel–premise, promise, theme, world, character, plot.  Analyzing each of these building blocks and how well they are working together can give you new perspective on your novel, reveal weaknesses, and provide direction for major changes that will help you to maximize your novel’s potential. 

Whether you’ve already completed your first draft, are still working on it, or are struggling with revisions, this course will provide invaluable insights into your novel through the lectures, assignments, and critiques. Barbara’s feedback on assignments has been widely praised for its depth and helpfulness.  

Barbara’s course will be longer than the standard Odyssey online class, with four class meetings rather than our usual three, so you’ll be able to fully process and incorporate the important concepts discussed. If you’re participating in #NaNoWriMo, this course can show you the path from rough draft to completed novel.  


More information about Odyssey Online can be found at https://www.odysseyworkshop.org/odyssey-online/ or you can email jcavelos@odysseyworkshop.org  


The Odyssey sitehttps://www.odysseyworkshop.org/offers many resources for writers, including free podcasts, an online monthly discussion salon, a blog, a critique service, coaching, consultations, and information about the six-week, in-person workshop.   


Don’t let this winter pass without making major improvements in your writing!