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Comments from Odyssey Online Graduates



I couldn't have asked for more from Barbara's 'Heart of the Matter' workshop. Building emotional resonance is critical to a successful story, and this course offers a clear roadmap to success--along with extremely insightful feedback along the way. Barbara's energetic and interactive lectures are a goldmine of quality content, and along with the constructive assignments and well-curated reading list this course is an incredible experience. I would recommend this course to anyone looking to take their writing to the next level.
--Derrick Boden

Odyssey Online Courses has stepped up my writing game. Between critiquing the work of fellow course members and working on my own novel, I was able to identify areas where my story could resonate on a higher level for the reader. As a result, I will rework several chapters before submitting my novel for publication.

Thank you to Jeanne Cavelos and Barbara Ashford for making it happen.
-- Nancy Ashline

Odyssey offers the most useful and practical writing toolkit that I've ever experienced in a workshop setting. I find myself retaining a high proportion of what we cover because the techniques are so clearly communicated and pertinent to the craft. Rock on, Odyssey.
-- Jacque Day Pallone

This class has been an inspiring and transformative experience for me as a writer. Emotional resonance is something that I knew I needed to develop in my stories, based on the feedback I've gotten from my readers. Through assignments and examples, Barbara taught us how to think about stories in terms of the promise they make to readers, and then she gave us techniques for measuring whether our openings, conflict, scenes, climax, and resolution were fulfilling that promise. We studied methods for infusing our stories with drama. Class gave me tangible ways to plot emotional resonance, evaluate my stories, and revise my stories to make them more satisfying for my reader. Barbara is extremely personable and invested in her students. This was an enriching experience that helped me strengthen a weakness in my writing.
--Heather Henry


Jeanne's 'Powerful Dialogue in Fantastic Fiction' workshop is an intense--and intensely beneficial--experience. Prior to enrolling in this course, I thought I had a decent handle on dialogue, but by the end I discovered I couldn't have been more wrong. Jeanne's interactive lectures, high-intensity assignments, and diverse reading lists cover everything from subtext to oblique dialogue, idiolect to dramatic compression. The toolbox of techniques this course provides has had an immediate and measurable impact on my writing. I would recommend this course to anyone with a serious interest in improving their writing.
--Derrick Boden

Powerful Dialogue taught me the mechanics of tight, well-constructed conversations and gave me the tools to build them. I will be referring to my Odyssey binder many times over the years to come. But more important were the insights I gained. I had been rushing my readers by using too much narrative. When characters refused to come to life, I shoved words in their mouths. Now I see they are individuals, even if fictional, and I need to give them their say. After all, what's a good story but someone struggling to make himself heard?
--Jenny Green

Learning a new skill, if the skill is worth learning, is hard work. No point pretending this course is a cakewalk. The thing is: when you put the work in, your efforts are more than matched by the breadth and depth of the content, and Jeanne's enthusiasm, her knowledge, and her help; your efforts are thoroughly rewarded. That's my experience. Good dialogue invigorates. Characters and their worlds come to life. This course presents you with all you need to make that happen, through principle and through practice. If your writing involves dialogue, you don't want your dialogue to be the also-ran of the text. I have learned how to make my dialogue come alive. It's going to add a whole new dimension to what I write. I thoroughly recommend Jeanne Cavelos as a teacher and her Powerful Dialogue in Fantastic Fiction as a class. I don't believe you will find better.
--Jack Calverley

The importance of a mentor on a writer's life is substantial. But the importance of a mentor on a writer's work is crucial. For myself, this course was nothing short of an awakening. With an encyclopedic knowledge of the written word, Jeanne steered us through the fundamentals of powerful dialogue, covering such thrilling topics as dramatic compression, how to create tension and suspense, modulated dialogue and, my personal favorite, how to craft oblique character dialogue (which comes with the added benefit of learning to be ambiguous and therefore mysterious). If any of this sounds like Greek to you--you need this course. If you've ever struggled with crafting suspenseful, compelling dialogue--you need this course. If you've ever spent too much time rewriting, but without the concrete tools to help you get anywhere--you need this course. You will learn about things you didn't even know were missing from your work, and you will enjoy the work of others more as a result. This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Jeanne is a treasure--a true guardian angel of writers everywhere.
--Kristen Ross

This class has taught me how dialogue drives every scene of a story. Tight, well-constructed dialogue is an expressway for tension, characterization, conflict, subtext, and even worldbuilding. Jeanne has designed a comprehensive course that gives students hands-on experience writing and revising dialogue to eliminate flab and tighten scenes. After taking this course, I can watch a television show or look at a page of dialogue and instantly see beats that aren't pulling their weight, and I know what can be edited out and how to fix what stays. Jeanne's lectures and assignments are designed to give students methods for evaluating dialogue, strategies for writing or revising, and plenty of practice. After the first week of class and assignments, my approach to dialogue had already changed. I no longer avoid writing dialogue and instead I think about scenes in terms of dialogue first. I feel I've moved a step closer to writing stories that will keep my readers' attention rapt. Jeanne's feedback, her knowledge, and writing instincts are so strong, I felt like I had access to a trove of experience that sped my learning curve. She really cares about the growth of each individual writer.
--Heather Henry

Jeanne's class on Powerful Dialogue not only made me better at dialogue, but made me see the poetic structure that a scene could contain. I began to see speech as poetic lines and could group them into stanzas that moved through concepts as the scene progressed. At one point I stayed up until 1 a.m. to work on scenes because I didn't want to stop writing--it's been a long time since I've had that much joy in my craft. Thank you!
-- Kyrce Swenson


When you decide to play god and build entire worlds, it's great to have help. This class introduced me to all the aspects of worldbuilding, from the overarching rules of magic or science in a created world to the fashion choices of its cultures to the tiniest details of my character's experience within that world. Critiques from my classmates and the instructor helped me identify the holes and inconsistencies in my worldbuilding while also prompting great new ideas to use within my world. I highly recommend this class to anyone, whether you're writing in a well-documented world such as 17th century England or creating an entire universe from scratch.
--Jenise Aminoff

Pat Wrede's worldbuilding class helped me to see the holes in my prewriting, provided me with specific feedback to better improve my worlds, and gave me more close reading skills to see how worldbuilding elements work in published fiction in order to improve my own writing. I would recommend this class to anyone who needs a better understanding of how all the other fiction elements work with worldbuilding.
-- Brigitte McCray

After this class, I see worldbuilding in a whole new light. What I've learned could be the difference between writing a good story that someone might buy and a great story no one can turn down.
--Chip Houser

In a four-week course on structure, Odyssey solved problems I had struggled with for decades. My abilities expanded again with Odyssey's next course on Point of View: The intersection of Plot and Character. These are not just for fantasy or science fiction authors. Anyone who has ever felt like they are going in circles will find Odyssey offers practical, clear lessons from a passionate, experienced editor who knows how to teach.
--Amanda Kespohl

Odyssey's online world-building class is great for anyone interested in developing better world-building skills. Pat Wrede guided us through her process and gave us focused practice meant to help us find our own process. The three-class seminar felt intensive and thorough, well-worth the time and money. Inspiring and helpful at the same time. I'd recommend Odyssey Online to anyone who wants to bump their skills up a notch.
--Lane Robins

This was my first Odyssey Online class, and I was nervous it wouldn't be as useful or in-depth as I was hoping. The class definitely blew away my expectations! It was fascinating, rigorous, and I had to work hard to keep up with the homework assignments, which was exactly what I wanted. I learned so much from applying the lesson material in the assignments and analyzing other students' writing in the critiques. Feedback from Ms. Wrede, the queen of worldbuilding, herself was the icing on top. I had a great experience and would recommend Odyssey Online to anyone serious about improving their writing.
--Andrew Alford

I took the Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction course and learned an (almost) entirely new language: the vocabulary of captivating storytelling. Despite my experience as an author/editor, thanks to Odyssey and our supportive, expert instructor (Jeanne Cavelos), I realized how much I didn't know about the craft and skill in building the foundation of a solid story. Nothing is so humbling as recognizing one's own ignorance! But that's the first step toward greater knowledge, and with the information-rich lectures, challenging homework, story analyses, group critiques and one-on-one time with Ms. Cavelos, I'm now fired up and ready to take on my works-in-progress . . . this time, able to understand what works, what doesn't . . . and what will let my plots and characters transcend any clichés or easy paths. Thank you, Odyssey!
--Amy Warren


Whether you are a beginner at the craft of writing or a published professional you will benefit from an Odyssey Online Writing Course. I have taken other online courses and the two with Odyssey felt like I was in a physical college classroom. The teachers read my homework carefully and their evaluations motivated me to finish revising my novel. This course is for serious writers who want to improve their craft in a supportive environment. Worth every penny. (They should charge more!)
--Steven Novick

Thanks, so much, Jeanne. You're truly doing a great job with this class, both in providing us with direct feedback and with the detailed design of the homework.

Earlier, I mentioned that I want to work hard at improving my writing, but I was uncertain what kind of activities would be productive in that direction. I have no doubt that the work I've done this week in applying the class Critiquing Worksheet to four other stories has taught me a huge amount. Two particularly useful aspects were the structure of the Critiquing Worksheet and the fact that I was working with other students' outlines. It took me a while to realize the importance of paying attention to every question in that worksheet, but I think that if I can ask each of those questions about my own work, then I'll be surprised and delighted at my own progress. The fact that I was working with outlines instead of full stories had two positive consequences for me: First of all, it meant that I could learn from doing four stories in a concentrated way that I believe is reinforcing my learning. Second, it has made me rethink the value of an outline. In the past, I occasionally would write an outline before diving into writing the story, but I never analyzed the outline in the depth that's suggested by the Critiquing Worksheet. After I'd written a whole story, I might have asked some of those questions, but by then I was often too invested in the story to make significant improvements.

Finally, I want to reemphasize how the work that you put into this class, including individual feedback, is incomparable to any other online class that I've ever seen. Of course, I knew of your consummate dedication in the summer workshop, but I didn't think it was possible for you to carry it over to an online class in a way that would inspire me so much. In the winter of 2014, I took an online class from elsewhere which promised some individual feedback and interaction. It was more expensive than the Odyssey Online classes, and knowing the amount of dedication that it takes to provide any individual feedback, I didn't expect much. Even so, I was disappointed when it turned out that everything including the "feedback" was totally recorded from previous years.

You are doing a wonderful job, and I know that your efforts get multiplied many times over through your many students.
-- Michael Main

Odyssey Online's class on Three Act Structure is a delight, a reminder of the challenge and the thrill of learning with Jeanne Cavelos. If you haven't attended Odyssey yet, try one of Odyssey's online classes--you won't be disappointed with what you learn, and you'll get a taste of what the intensive summer workshop is like. I found this online format more effective in several ways, actually. Rather than being overwhelmed with a packed schedule of daily lectures, homework assignments, journal writing, stories to read, stories to write, and stories to critique, I was able to focus on a single subject while maintaining my daily routine. This class was on Three-Act Structure, and while Jeanne discussed three-act structure in detail at the summer workshop, this course was an invaluable review. Plus, there's something wonderful about being at your day job and secretly plotting things that probably aren't going to get you in trouble. The online class went further, expanding my understanding of story structure, in large part because I had the time to engage in deep practice through the well-chosen stories we read, the well-considered homework questions, and the outline writing exercises. If you're serious about writing speculative fiction, I highly recommend you try out Odyssey Online.
--Chip Houser

In a four-week course on structure, Odyssey solved problems I had struggled with for decades. My abilities expanded again with Odyssey's next course on Point of View: The intersection of Plot and Character. These are not just for fantasy or science fiction authors. Anyone who has ever felt like they are going in circles will find Odyssey offers practical, clear lessons from a passionate, experienced editor who knows how to teach.
--Jenny Green

Even in my residential time at the full Odyssey workshop, I didn't successfully create a three-act structure. This area was a weakness for me. It made a difference to have a sustained focus over several weeks. I achieved that three-act goal in two separate stories during this workshop, so I consider another tool to be added to my kit. Of course it will take additional practice to master.
--Learned Foote

Jeanne's care and passion for her work were not only evident even before the course had begun: in her initial rejection/wait-list notice, in which she offered a response to my application excerpt. When a space opened up, I jumped on it!

I've come away (from Three-Act Structure) with a pair of X-ray goggles, which I can use to study the skeletons of successful and unsuccessful fiction: an invaluable tool.
--Andrew Alford

I took the Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction course and learned an (almost) entirely new language: the vocabulary of captivating storytelling. Despite my experience as an author/editor, thanks to Odyssey and our supportive, expert instructor (Jeanne Cavelos), I realized how much I didn't know about the craft and skill in building the foundation of a solid story. Nothing is so humbling as recognizing one's own ignorance! But that's the first step toward greater knowledge, and with the information-rich lectures, challenging homework, story analyses, group critiques and one-on-one time with Ms. Cavelos, I'm now fired up and ready to take on my works-in-progress . . . this time, able to understand what works, what doesn't . . . and what will let my plots and characters transcend any clichés or easy paths. Thank you, Odyssey!
--Kira Lerner


Barbara's Getting the Big Picture class is a life-changing event. I've never been able to track such a marked improvement in my writing ability as I have throughout the course of this online workshop. The subject matter is concise and comprehensive, the assignments and critiques are tremendously helpful, and Barbara is a world-class instructor. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone with designs to publish a novel. You will not be disappointed.
--Derrick Boden

Getting the Big Picture is a college-level course that will improve the writing skills of seasoned writers and give beginners a true foundation for writing the first 6000 words of their novel. You will evaluate your entire novel and get essential critique on the inciting incident all the way to the climax. What a wonderful experience.
--Steven Novick

Very helpful, and Barbara is an amazing teacher! Definitely helped me figure out how to see the forest for the trees in my novel. Would recommend it whether you're just developing a book idea or finishing up revisions!
--Chris Kelworth

The experience of Barbara Ashford's Getting the Big Picture online Odyssey course was akin to being shown a toolbox, then being guided on how to use the tools within. Some tools are harder to grasp than others; some problems are harder to fix. But I can better see the problems now, and I can hold the tools in my hands. That's what this workshop did for me--it changed my life, as a writer and as a storyteller.
--Jacque E. Day

Odyssey Online was instrumental in the development and completion of my debut novel. When I realized I had a novel on my hands, I knew I was in over my head. Odyssey Online provided me with the tools I desperately needed to improve my weak points (Powerful Dialogue in Fantastic Fiction) and redesign the overarching structure of my novel (Getting the Big Picture: Revising Your Novel), all from the comfort of my own home.

The instructors were knowledgeable, happy to answer my questions, and went above and beyond the call of duty when helping me through contract negotiations. I would not hesitate to recommend Odyssey Online and have on several occasions, bringing a friend along to Getting the Big Picture. I can hardly wait to see the classes offered next winter.
--Jenise Aminoff


This course gave me a way to see through the crazy mess of my writing a bit more. I sense that the progress I've made is huge, and that I see more how to write characters that readers will feel. At the very least, I have added another dimension to my writing process that isn't just theoretical, but extremely practical and tangible. Thank you.
--Julia Gandrud

Odyssey is like the restaurant you don't like to recommend in case you can't get a seat. And with Odyssey Online you can get home delivery, anywhere in the world! It is consistently well organized; with knowledgeable, enthusiastic instructors; and supportive fellow students.
--John Berks

This was my first Odyssey online workshop. My expectations were high based on what I read about the workshop, but the class exceeded my expectations. Coming into the class, I felt that I understood character but struggled with plot. This class has helped me change my thinking about plot. The assignments asked us to experiment with point of view; they took me out of my comfort zone, which I needed to grow as a writer. I had to work through my point-of-view characters more intensely than I have in the past to solve the challenge of the assignments. I could not rely on the skills I brought into class, and I think I grew as a result.
--Heather Henry

Odyssey transformed me as a writer, no doubt. But I am also now a much more intuitive reader as a result of taking David B. Coe's workshop on point of view. That was a gem I hadn't expected. I've always known that writing well and reading well go hand in hand, and I've always loved to read. David's shared insights have made reading even more fulfilling and enjoyable for me, something I never thought possible. Plain and simple, Odyssey changed my life.
--Jacque E. Day


"The mantra 'Show don't tell' rings from lips of every teacher in every writing class that I've ever attended but I've never understood what they meant: how to write 'showing', when to write 'showing', or why. Odyssey has changed all that. Now I get it. In this class, Jeanne explains first the psychological underpinning of 'Show don't tell', and from that she teaches us how to write in ways that engage the senses. And engage our readers. Now I get it. I understand the rationale. I see it in the writing of respected authors. And my new understanding and developing skills bring clear direction and impetus for improving my own writing. Brilliant. Thank you Jeanne."
--Jack Calverley

"Most graduate-level writing workshops I've attended have been tolerant of speculative fiction. But Odyssey provides a singular experience that so many other classes simply do not. Jeanne encourages you to analyze writing with a penetrating and honest editorial gaze, explore fictional elements both subtle and straightforward, and crucially--she provides tangible steps and techniques that help you strengthen your writing. I've heard it said that great writing cannot be taught, but Odyssey instills writers with an Art of Good Practice so they can become great, with integrity. That's very empowering."
-- Larissa Glasser

"When I applied for Odyssey's Showing versus Telling class, I expected to learn ways to sharpen my writing. What I actually gained in the one-month online class was a whole new perspective on both my short fiction and my novel—breaking down each scene to determine its most important points and making sure the most vivid showing is saved for the critical elements. Jeanne Cavelos's lectures gave us the principles; homework and critiques drove home the lecture topics. In my opinion, the class was worth every penny of the tuition cost."
--Leoma Retan

"I have taken other on-line classes where the only feedback I received from the instructor was that my writing was 'good'. THIS is not like one of those courses. Jeanne critiques the work with a critical eye. She provides honest feedback about what is working and what is not working in the story. In addition, she gives helpful suggestions about how to improve the writing. Jeanne is very knowledgeable and approachable as an instructor."
--Teresa Marchi

"The Odyssey online course on Showing versus Telling taught me a lot, and not just about the title topic. The course offered powerful insights into scene structuring, conveying emotion and creating meaningful dialogue. The course challenged me, and the interaction with other students was invaluable. Using the Critiquing Worksheet was an education in itself!"
--Tim Armstrong (writing as Timothy Gwyn)

"After six weeks of hard work, I feel a bit reborn as a writer. Top notch workshop. Top notch instructor. No matter what our genre or what the level of our proficiency was beforehand, in just five weeks of hard work, all of us were much more skilled writers. I can't recommend it highly enough."
--Gigi Vernon

"An Odyssey Online Class is a great way of making major improvements in your writing in a short period of time. It is rare that writers receive any useful feedback with rejections of their work. In an Odyssey Online Class, the critiques of fellow students and the instructor show you how others view your work, the first step to real improvement. The instructor for Showing versus Telling, Jeanne Cavelos, is a thoughtful, truthful, kind and encouraging teacher."
--Tom Fisken

"I've taken several writing workshops, some with famous writers, and while I learned something from each one, I never imagined I could get so much out of a workshop until I took Odyssey's online class on showing versus telling. It's given me much greater control over my writing and taught me to let the reader experience a scene instead of just hear about it. Jeanne Cavelos is the best close reader I've ever seen, and she treats all writing with respect. Take any course she teaches; you'll work harder than you expected to and make major advances."
--John Askins


"This course was amazing. I feel like I can navigate writing a scene better now because I have the tools and vocabulary to do it! Thanks Barbara and Jeanne for a wonderful course!"
--Danielle DeLisle


"The Odyssey Online course on Effective Endings gave me plenty of material to make my stories better. The class fit into my busy schedule, and I loved that I could relax at home while learning. The online class feels a lot like being in a 'live' class. Charlie was an enthusiastic teacher with wonderful insights that I've already applied to my writing. I would definitely take another Odyssey Online course."
--Rebecca Roland

"This class helped me become a better reader of my own work. I now have analytical tools to use, and the confidence to apply them to craft better beginnings and endings. And, thanks to this class, I'll never look at titles the same way! The learning environment was very supportive and the individual critiques were on point and instructive. Thanks for a great course!"
-- Nadya Duke


"Barbara is an incredibly knowledgeable and effective instructor who completely blew away all my expectations for the course. In addition to discovering how to bring emotions to the page in a stronger and more precise manner, I learned more about theme, story structure, characterization, and world building than I'd thought possible for three short classes. Her analysis of my novel excerpts has helped me redirect my wandering plot issues, and every critique I received has been detailed, analytical and thought provoking. This course over-delivered and will be something I refer back to for many works to come."
--Christine Row

"The subtitle for this class is 'Bringing Emotional Resonance to Your Storytelling.' At first I didn't get it, and resisted it, but during the course something clicked inside for me. Now I see it so clearly it's hard to imagine why emotional resonance had been such a mystery. The teacher is outstanding, bringing her own emotional resonance into her teaching technique."
--David Ballard

"The instructor's enthusiasm matched her expertise as she led us through the course material in logical steps. By the end of the course, I had increased my understanding of what is meant by emotional resonance and how it really is the core of a satisfying reading experience. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to increase the depth and emotional impact of their writing."
--Holly Schofield

"I feel that I have a new lease on the novel I've been working on--I was lost, but have been found because of skills gained from Barbara's information, comments, and other student's feedback. By focusing in on the key to the novel, I can look at one part (inciting incident, for example) and get an understanding of what my own writing is about. In giving me an analytical understanding of my own writing, Barbara helped me to break some writer's block, and I feel that I can now complete the novel successfully."
--Chris Propst


"Odyssey is a precious resource for aspiring writers. Instruction that goes beyond the basics, that teaches how to write compelling, not merely competent stories, is hard to find. Since 2010, I've done two Odyssey online courses as well as the six-week summer workshop. I can affirm that the online courses are a fantastic way for developing writers who can't take six weeks out of their lives to experience Odyssey's magical combination of lecture, practice, and critique.

"Jeanne Cavelos's course in 'Powerful Dialogue' was an eye-opener. I'd never realized how much dialogue can accomplish for a story. Now I have tools to plan, analyze and edit my dialogue to strengthen it in everything I write. My characters will never speak the same way again."
--Lorraine Heisler

"Dialogue is the heart and soul of modern prose--at least in my opinion. In the Powerful Dialogue in Fantastic Fiction class we had the chance to explore and learn about a whole array of excellent tools to make your dialogue more meaningful and unforgettable.

"It was an awesome course with a steep learning curve."
--Regina Glei

"Imagine a Boot Camp for writers, but fun! If you are looking for clear ideas on improving your writing, strenuous practice of those ideas, and an enjoyable writing experience, then I would strongly recommend taking a writing Odyssey with Jeanne Cavelos as your guide."
--John Berks

"Having taken the six-week Odyssey Workshop, I have to say that the online courses are just as intense, only with a more narrow focus. Jeanne over-delivers on the lecture material, helps you apply everything that you're learning with thorough assignments, and the critiques from everyone are top-notch. My writing process is always transformed by the experience."
--Christine Row


"Before I signed up for Odyssey's 'The Secrets of a Satisfying Short Story' course, I had been struggling with ways to pull my stories together into integrated wholes. I was forever tacking bits onto a story and filling in cracks. However, for every word I added or changed, I simply created more problems for my story. What I got from the Odyssey course was a way to approach my writing that pulled the story together as I wrote. I have yet to master this art (perhaps I never will) but at least I now have something to aim for instead of flailing around in a vacuum. The course was very intensive--at times I put in twice the hours they suggest--but it was very well organised by Jeanne, and our tutor, Nancy, has an immense breadth of experience and depth of knowledge and was enthusiastic in sharing her craft with us. If you're serious about your writing, seriously consider signing up for this course (but don't expect an easy ride)."
--Jack Calverley

"The Secrets of a Satisfying Short Story with Nancy Holder opened the doors to new horizons for my writing--giving me greater perspective and new tools to apply to my efforts. I already feel I am a better writer with only one course under my belt."
--Darin Hlavaz

"The experience of taking Secrets of a Satisfying Short Story with Nancy Holder was fun and illuminating! Writing 'short' and creating stories that are focused is not easy. In particular I gained awareness around the idea of the single effect, learned a variety of structural tools, and how to engage readers on an emotional level. The online class environment was perfectly done--handouts and lectures with plenty of opportunity for discussion. Getting feedback on my stories from Nancy and my classmates was the best part. And becoming a part of the Odyssey family is awesome!"
--Karen Rochnik


"An excellent class that equipped me with good ideas and useful techniques for creating viable characters. Receiving very detailed critiques by fellow students and by the class instructor Elaine let me see my work from multiple angles, sometimes confirming my own views, sometimes surprising me greatly, always in helpful and informative ways. A very rewarding experience altogether."
--Frank Hagelberg

"Before my characters began their existence as plain-vanilla and I tried to develop them as the story progressed. Bodies and Heartbeats gave me the tools to create characters that engage from the moment they step on the page, characters ready for conflict, adventure, and suffering."
--Scott T. Barnes


"I came away from this course with increased confidence in my ability to see a story as a whole. It was an enriching experience."
--Erin Wilcox

"Although I have taken online classes and workshops before, I have not worked so hard on class assignments since I was in college. This class will not only make you work, it will make you into a critical reader and a better writer."
--David Ballard

"This is the second Odyssey online course I have done, and it was every bit as good as the first. Highly recommended. Short, but like an Italian espresso, sweet--and charges up your creative brain."
--John Berks

"This class has made a big difference in the way I write. After the first lecture itself, I had an "Aha!" moment. I now look at movies, novels and short stories in a fundamentally different way. Not only has my writing improved, the way I analyze and critique stories has undergone a positive change too. I am able to identify possible weaknesses in a plot and I am able to structure my stories better.

"The lectures notes, recordings and the group message board helped me learn at my pace. Jeanne's thorough evaluation of the assignments was very insightful."
--Geetanjali Dighe


"Odyssey Online provides a great opportunity for intensive learning in an international environment from the comfort of your home--wherever it may be."
--Regina Glei

"I am in the outlining stages of a novel. The Odyssey online class Getting the Big Picture helped me focus in on the true nature of my story, what lies at its heart. The class has given me the tools to improve both plot and characters and tie the two more strongly into the theme. These are the most useful three class sessions I have ever attended."
--Scott T. Barnes

SECRETS OF LITERARY AGENTS, 2012, Instructor Kate McKean

"Odyssey Online is a great way for busy people to enhance their writing skills."
--Regina Glei

"The Odyssey program has done it again! Not only do they offer some outstanding courses, but they are taught by some of the best in the business. The one-on-one attention you get in the Odyssey program has helped me take my writing to the next level. Working with an agent really helped me find my strengths and my weaknesses in my query and synopsis. Every writer trying to break through should consider taking an Odyssey class. The quality of instructors and the talent of other students made me feel like I was part of an elite group. It was a grand experience. Thanks again Jeanne!"
--Peter Simonson


"Are you are tired of telling tales? Do your readers seem uninvolved in your stories? Then Odyssey's Showing versus Telling in Fantastic Fiction is the course for you! This course gave me the tools to build up my showing, whether I was tackling emotions, actions, thoughts or setting. And I had a chance to try out these new tools under the eye of Jeanne Cavelos, our enthusiastic but rigorous instructor. The on-line delivery made it a convenient way to learn."
--John Berks

"Jeanne's Showing versus Telling in Fantastic Fiction was another amazingly effective Odyssey Online course that I had the privilege of participating in. As Jeanne's brilliant teaching guided the discussions and led me through passage after passage of great writing examples, revealing their subtleties, rendering their secrets and the techniques responsible for their emotional impact, and as her amazingly designed assignments led me to experience such effective revision tools, study them, apply them, make them my own, and as it all took place among the propelling enthusiasm of such a diversely talented group, I saw my weaknesses and learned to treat them; I saw my strengths and learned to enhance them. I felt the gigantic leap of improvement, and so did my readers. Now after the class has ended, I sit in eagerness for what's in store for next year. I can't imagine a better class than the one I just had, and yet experience tells me that for sure it will be."
--Anahita Ayasoufi

"I started out not understanding showing vs. telling and offering resistance to the idea of showing. In the last assignment I felt like I GOT IT. I'm calling it a breakthrough. My post-Showing versus Telling writing was so much better than the passage my pre-SVT writing. Like 100 times better. You can see, sense, feel the scene that I am writing."
--Tambi Harwood

"Jeanne's teaching gets at a level of sophistication and nuance in writing that's hard to find in other courses. These are the questions that writers want answered, even if they haven't articulated those questions in their own minds yet. I especially like the way Jeanne highlights tools and best practices and working principles. The lessons are easy to capture and remember.
--Peter Simonson

"This class gave names to writing concepts I've struggled with for a while, and provided the guidance and practice I needed to improve. Thank you, Jeanne, for the insightful lectures, challenging assignments, and individualized support."
--Jen Hansum

"Thank you, Jeanne, for the in-depth discussion of how to engage the reader with more showing and less telling. I finally get what so many people say 'show, don't tell!' My fiction has already improved. Great class!"
--Carol March

"Odyssey Online is an invaluable resource to any writer who is serious about writing the best fiction they possibly can. Each class is intense and will make you look at your writing in a whole new way, but when you are done you will be glad you took the journey."
--George Weiss


"This course was brilliant. It was intense, stimulating and demanding. I could not have asked for more!"
--Katie Lavers

"Bruce's Narrative Structure class exceeded my expectations and I'm very glad I tried out an online class. We got meaty information to think about, challenging homework to complete, and support from an instructor who is caring and insightful."
--Liz Argall

"The Narrative Structures in Fantastic Fiction course was the first online class I've ever taken, and I was pleased with the organization and overall quality. The homework was challenging, which I appreciated because I intended to learn. I have many more tools at my disposal when I write and edit. On top of that, I am now connected with other writers who have received similar instruction and can help me improve in a more specialized way."
--Carrie E. Stemrich


"Most fantastic (and other) fiction follows the three-act structure. Thanks to the Odyssey Online Course, the nature of three-act structure has become much clearer to me, which will be a great help for my future writing."
--Regina Glei

"I was wonderfully surprised by how much I could learn in such a compact course. I feel like a key element of writing has been forever inscribed in my mind, in my writing process. This may prove to be the single most important learning moment in my development as a writer."
--Peter Simonson

"WOW! This course was incredible. Jeanne Cavelos is not only an expert in her field but also a wonderful teacher, a truly rare combination! I learnt so much. I can't recommend this course highly enough."
--Katie Lavers

"This class has changed the way I write. Before, the words 'plot and structure' would make me recoil in anxiety and frustration. Now, I see plot and structure as exciting tools to help me create the kind of stories I want to write."
--Tom L. Waters

"It was somewhere in the pre-class assignment that I felt the onset of a purposeful build up of skills, skills that developed into the ability to analyze the artistic yet mathematical structure behind stories. Understanding strengths and weaknesses of structures including my own; a new way of reading stories to learn from them; resources to improve my writing; a new group of people to belong to, one that shares the same passion yet provides different strengths; viewpoint and expert advice of a great teacher on my work; all do their part in making this experience a huge leap forward in my writing. I am looking forward to being in future Odyssey classes."
--Anahita Ayasoufi

WORLDBUILDING IN FANTASTIC FICTION, 2011, Instructor Patricia C. Wrede

"For those who lack the time or resources to attend the full six-week Odyssey Writing Workshop in New Hampshire, Odyssey Online is a cost-effective way to explore specific writing topics in an environment of peers and professionals."
--Stace Johnson

"Odyssey's Worldbuilding in Fantastic Fiction gave me the tools to transform a set of disjointed notes & ideas into a coherent & engaging 'world' for my story. And, it was great fun into the bargain!"
--Emma Munro

"Odyssey Online is a fantastic way to learn for all those writers who live outside the US."
--Regina Glei

"After completing Odyssey's Worldbuilding course, I have realized my world needs a backstory as much as my characters do. The lecturer presented material and exercises which immersed me in the job of creating a world and society with internal integrity, rich with possibilities for storytelling. I highly recommend this course to any writer of speculative fiction."
--Pete Aldin

WRITING IN SCENES, 2011, Instructor Nancy Kress

"Nancy Kress is not only a brilliant author, but a fantastic instructor. I can't recommend this course more highly. It is an aspiring writer's goldmine. Where else but Odyssey can you find this kind of knowledge sharing with such a global reach?"
--Paul Kuncl

"A fantastic course from a top-notch professional writer who gave information and ideas with wonderful, inspiring generosity."
--Katrina Lavers

"Writing in Scenes gave me the tools to take a step back and analyze and improve my scenes — excellent course!"
--Regina Glei

"I was thrilled by the level of care, thoroughness, and honesty my classmates showed in their critiques. As a result of this course, I'm more attentive than ever to providing clarity, interest, and enjoyment for my audience."
--Jen Hansum

"The Odyssey Online Class not only changed the way I tackle my writing, but also taught me to read others' work more closely. What you learn here will help you continue to improve long after the last session."
--Sara Ellis

"The Odyssey Online Classes provide an exceptional evaluation of your skills as a writer as well as the tools to advance them to the next level. The instructors are beyond compare, the lectures are insightful and thought-provoking, and the assignments will challenge students to exceed their own expectations."
--Christine Row


"Every single part of this course was invaluable. I have never before enjoyed working so incredibly hard at my craft while thinking that I was having the time of my life!"
--Christine Row

"This course really does teach how to makes settings vivid, bring characters to life, and put the reader right into the story through the skillful manipulation of showing and telling."
--Emma Monroe

"Fun, dynamic, a great class for brushing up on your skills and learning new ones."
--Jordan Summers

"Odyssey Online can help anyone who is serious about improving his or her fiction writing. You get in-depth lectures, detailed critiques, tools to make your writing stronger, talented classmates, and Jeanne's expertise and individualized attention, while you work in your home office."
--Keith Sen

"The Odyssey Online workshop far exceeded my hopes. As a developing fantasy writer living in a small town, I was at a loss to find mentoring and fellowship in my genre. Jeanne's expert, engaging lectures and thorough critiques made every moment spent on the work worthwhile. Now I have tools to take my writing to the next level and a budding community of fellow writers with whom to grow."
--Lorraine Heisler

"Odyssey Online changed the way I write and read. It is a great opportunity for all those who cannot participate in the 'real' workshop due to family, day job, distance, etc. issues. For me the online form of Odyssey was a blessing: despite living in Japan, I could participate in this excellent class, which took my writing to the next level."
--Regina Glei

"This class exceeded my highest expectations. Excellent barely begins to describe the quality and quantity of learning in this class for writers. The instructor was caring, enthusiastic, and recognized us as individuals. She knew us and our writing. That is unbelievable in today's world of college classes of hundreds of students."
--Tom Kappel

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Updated Oct 9, 2017
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