CLASS OF 2019
Odyssey Class of 2019
Front Row: Brenna Harvey, Christine Tyler, Susannah Mandel, Cheyenne Shaffer, Aaron Horsager
Middle Row: Christina Scott, Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos, P.H. Lee, Lynn Buchanan
Top Row: Kyle de Waal, William Wood, Christopher Degni, Peter Zuckerman, A. Humphrey Lanham, Tamara Jerée, Lulu Kadhim
Photo taken by Resident Supervisor: A. Katherine Black
Odyssey was truly the best six weeks of my life. To spend all my time focused on the thing I’m most passionate about and surrounded by like-minded and inspirational people was just amazing. Jeanne is by far the most helpful and knowledgeable writing teacher I’ve ever had, and she genuinely cares about all of her students and wants us to do well. My writing process has been completely transformed at Odyssey, and the skills I’ve learned and the friends I’ve made will hopefully follow me for the rest of my life.
Odyssey transformed my writing. I can now produce better writing on a more consistent basis. I made friends whom I will be friends with forever. I learned more than I could ever have imagined I would learn. I loved it. It’s hard to believe such an awesome writing workshop actually exists. Lightbulbs went off in my head every day, sometimes even every fifteen minutes.
I’ve seen my writing and my peers’ writing transform so much in such a short amount of time! Jeanne is so intensely dedicated to helping us all grow, and her insight is always so helpful. I am excited to go home and continue the growth I started here, and I’m more confident about my skills while having a clear sense of what I need to continue working on.
P. H. Lee
When I practice on my own, I can only improve the things I’m already good at. At Odyssey, I became better at things I’m bad at.
Odyssey has revolutionized my writing. Every day, I came to class excited and left astounded. Jeanne is a gift to the writing community and a first-class mentor to individuals. I can’t overstate how wonderful this experience has been. I will be forever proud to call myself an Odfellow.
Odyssey provides a thorough curriculum on genre writing that you put into immediate practice by writing and critiquing. The experience is demanding, but the community of writers is wonderful, and Jeanne is insightful and supportive. My writing has improved a lot while I’ve been here, and I feel equipped with the tools to continue this progress into the future.
Jeanne Cavelos has assembled an incredible breadth of material and synthesized it into a thought-provoking, challenging, revelatory, frequently hilarious boot camp for aspiring writers. The close readings, writing exercises, plotting techniques, vocabulary, and writing experience that Odyssey provided to its students is a gift to the entire field of speculative fiction.
A. Humphrey Lanham
Attending Odyssey was perhaps one of the best decisions I could have ever made for my writing career. I learned a lot, made invaluable social connections, and will keep using the tools I have built at Odyssey for decades to come.
Odyssey was a wonderful experience. I was able to grow as a writer and truly focus on my writing. Jeanne was patient and kind. The critiques helped me see what could be improved in my own work. I feel so blessed to have had the Odyssey experience!
Odyssey was a transformative experience, and I have learned so much from it. I don’t know how Jeanne manages to stuff so much wisdom into six weeks! She is a fantastic and supportive instructor, and I’m so glad I was able to come.
William R. D. Wood
I believe in two things, writing and immersion, and you will not find a better combination than Odyssey. I believe in other things too, but they seemed less relevant here.
Odyssey was the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing. It not only improved my current writing, it gave me a framework for continued improvement after I leave. Jeanne (and Amy) are wonderful, the other students are brilliant, and the experience is unforgettable. It’s exhausting, but I miss it already!
Kyle de Waal
Odyssey is incredible because Jeanne is incredible! I cannot overemphasize how much care and energy she spends on her students. She provides amazing feedback, and I got so, so much out of my private meetings with her. Everything else about Odyssey is really good, but Jeanne is amazing. I don’t know how she does it.
I came to Odyssey because I felt like I’d hit a wall. Or maybe a plateau. Some large, flat, stone surface I was either plastered against, unable to climb, or staggering over, directionless and increasingly exhausted. I knew I was a decent writer–I was getting personal feedback in my rejections from agents and editors, compliments and words of encouragement. But something about my writing was falling short, and I was failing to turn rejections into acceptances. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I came to Odyssey. I had my weaknesses listed for me, printed out in an orderly fashion, presented to me, and then addressed. I learned how to address those weaknesses, those patches of rock too smooth for me to climb up, that endless horizon I’d been bumbling along. Jeanne has a gift for pinpointing areas that need improving and providing direction as to how to practice and, well, improve those areas. At the end of Odyssey, I have an idea of where I’m going, what I can do to become a better writer and achieve the goals I have for my writing. I’m off the plateau. I’m scaling the wall. If you’d like to do the same, come to Odyssey.
Memorable Quotes from the Class of 2019
“No time for downtime.” —Aaron
“Explosions don’t come after commas.” —Susannah
“I want to understand the eyes. I need to understand the eyes.” —Will
“Is he buying this from a magic surplus store on the prairie?” —Christina
“I thought this could be better if everything had more bad consequences.” —Peter
“Do they just bleed out in rows?” —Christina
“I enjoyed finally finding out why you needed to know about cat vomit.” —Cheyenne
“She would probably be pretty dead by the time she got too far.” —Lulu
“I guarantee there are other geeks out there who get off on fungi dudes.” —Nisi Shawl
“I was messed up in the best possible way.” —Brenna
“The monster of suave.” —Will
“I kind of thought at some point they might just eat her.” —Christina
“There’s not enough evil.” —Will
“Kind of endearing and really obnoxious at the same time.” —Alexis
“Your work reads like a sexy Douglas Adams.” —Christine
“Jeanne space.” —Cheyenne
“A werewolf band.” —Will
“My brain went into too many levels of meta.” —Chris
“I really wanted to see the angel sweat.” —Alexis
“I wanted the living armor to be more of a character.” —Peter
“I wanted to be hit over the head more.” —Peter
“I got a little hung up on the exploding heads.” —Susannah
“I feel like this is a crab attached to a bunch of balloons.” —Brenna
“In my fantasy outline of your story . . .” —Peter & others
“I would just murder my father’s murderer and trust that the rehabilitation system would let me out in two to three years.” —Lulu
“Breaking into a morgue is cool.” —Kyle
“The agent of chaos has struck again.” —Kyle
“Oh my god, everything is different! Now I’m dead.” —Lee
“I thought your main character was a spider…and then I thought they were all spiders.” —Peter
“It’s not spiders.” —Christine
“Killing his father might have been a low point.” —Alexis
“This is the dad corner.” —Kyle
“I don’t think this sentence should exist.” —Christine
“Yes, you should be careful how you start your sentences so people don’t jump to the wrong conclusion…and shame on you.” —Jeanne
“I am against musing in all of its forms.” —Jeanne
“Alice’s heart stopped. ‘I don’t know if I can make it to the party.'” —Jeanne
“Okay, so there could be a reason for doing this, but most of the time there isn’t and it’s just a bad writer.” —Jeanne
“Computers are evil and they’re designed by people who don’t know the English language and don’t care.” —Jeanne
“In a world without butts…” —Chris
“Wow, Poe, you’re kind of cool.” —Jeanne
“It’s like the cheerful little cherry on this nightmare sundae.” —Susannah
“Somehow, a sentence has been made!” —Susannah
It could be any waterfall, except that the rocks are beautiful, and while I’m sure we can all agree that that’s an incredibly evocative detail…this is a specific waterfall.” —Kyle
“Through flow, flow, wicked awesome flow, as we say in New Hampshire.” —Jeanne
“You are way overthinking this, baby.” —Jeanne
Jeanne: “Before I say a single word about publishing, you must put your writer brain to sleep.”
Chris: “When you say ‘put to sleep…'”
Jeanne: “It’s a mercy.”
“Speaking hypothetically, if you stick your hand into someone’s chest cavity—purely hypothetically—it’s not going to fit like a glove. It’s going to be a much messier affair. It’s not going to be a glass slipper moment. Hypothetically, legally speaking. Hypothetically.” —Kyle