Odyssey Class of 2021

More spider hijinks
2021 Official Photo

Top Row: Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos, Odyssey Resident Supervisor Scott Gray, Lindsey Godfrey Eccles, Erina Lee
Second Row: Lane Waldman, CJ Lyons, Spencer Orey, Mars Hawthorne
Third Row: Katherine McMullen Yanez, Malcolm Carvalho, Catherine Yu, Taemumu Richardson
Bottom Row: Meg Moira, Kiran Kaur Saini
Photo taken by Scott Gray


Jeanne will find your writing weaknesses and put them at the forefront. You will learn new techniques and strategies to hone your craft—and you will do it week over week, from the sentence level to the big picture. You will try new things and come up short. You will try new things and find yourself pleasantly surprised by the outcome—right before it dawns on you that there are many things left to improve upon. Luckily, you’ll be surrounded by other writers armed with plenty of brilliant and strange suggestions. If you’re a writer who is truly interested in challenging yourself, I would very much recommend Odyssey.


As a published thriller writer seeking to expand my horizons I couldn’t have hoped for a better place to learn and grow than Odyssey. Intense and challenging, it’s the perfect place to flex your writing muscles in new and exciting ways.


Odyssey was an expansive and metamorphic experience for me. Coming from an MFA program, I was utilizing the aspects of storytelling intuitively, which wasn’t always successful. My stories had problems that I just couldn’t identify and I was struggling to even finish anything. Within the first week, I was able to point my finger at multiple problems in past manuscripts; meanwhile, I spent the next six weeks deconstructing genre fiction and analyzing every aspect of storytelling, even down to sentence level construction. Jeanne knows what successful stories look like and what readers need and look for in a satisfying story and relates to students in a way that only the unique combination of education and industry experience can achieve. Being able to break down plot and characters at a micro level changed my writer’s mindset almost immediately. The workshop pace is break-neck and I was forced to challenge myself in ways that surpassed even graduate level studies and I am grateful for every single, exhausting, frustrating moment.


Odyssey changed my writing and it changed me, both for the better.  When I arrived at the workshop I thought I knew a lot about pretty sentences and complex characters, but I didn’t know how to make any of that come alive on the page.  Jeanne taught me how to figure out what I wanted to say and say it in a way no one else could.  A non-writer friend asked me during the workshop if we were being taught to write to some kind of formula; nothing could be further from the truth.  Odyssey offers a practical path to finding and nurturing your own unique voice.  I recommend it unreservedly to anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to become the best writer they can be.


Odyssey is a phenomenal experience! It is a rigorous six weeks of writing, critiquing, lectures, and deep practice that will absolutely change you both as a writer and a reader. Jeanne works tirelessly to help each Odyssey student grow and make meaningful progress by providing detailed critiques and meeting individually to develop learning goals and plans to achieve those goals. After Odyssey, I am more confident about all parts of the writing process, have a much better understanding of the publishing industry, and am part of a writing group filled with amazingly talented writers. Odyssey is truly life changing, and I can’t recommend it enough.


Odyssey Workshop is a transformative learning experience that has forever changed me both as a writer and as a reader. The syllabus is comprehensive, and individually tailored to every student. Jeanne’s expertise is remarkable, matched only by her enthusiasm for the material, and for her students. The workshop built my entire writing process from the ground up, taught me to critique, and established my daily writing practice. I now also have a writing group, my graduating class, of hard-working, talented, and supportive writers, all striving to use the lessons of Odyssey to become better writers day by day.


Odyssey helped me pull apart my writing methods, take a hard look at the moving parts, the nuts and bolts and put them all back together to make a smoother, more effective process. Jeanne candidly identified my strengths and weaknesses, and also uncovered some of my blind spots. I saw patterns in my writing, some that I needed to fix and some that could help bring out my voice. The intensive critiquing process made me think more critically about my own writing while also picking useful skills from the other writers. I learnt to write consistently to deadlines, discovering both brilliant insights and dead ends in the frenzied writing sessions, and letting go of my inner critic while doing so. I recommend Odyssey to any writer looking to take their craft to the next level.


Before Odyssey, I spent long frustrating years trying to become a professional writer without really knowing what to do. I knew I was doing something wrong but wasn’t sure what. I came out of the Odyssey Writing Workshop with my writing improved in every way and a wealth of wonderful writing tools and techniques to keep growing as a writer and a professional. This was a life changing experience for me, and I wish every dedicated aspiring writer could have a chance to attend the workshop





Memorable Quotes from the Class of 2021

“I’m not sure I agree with myself.”



“An equal opportunity eater.”

–Jeanne, on Catherine’s Bertha monster


“I definitely think Bertha would be a squirter.”



“Need a boom!”



“When in doubt, more boom!”



Boom! Boom! Boom!

–Jeanne’s next slide


“Tentacles is an automatic 10/10.”



“Living on ravioli and cookies.”



“My office? I love my office. Why would I want to leave my office?”



“Thank you for not challenging me.”

–Lane at first Friday night game


“Here is my evil plan! See if you can overcome my extreme power…I doubt it.”

–Catherine on every villain ever


“I’m not gonna lie…”



“This is too much…I’m really after the tapas of plot.”



“What does wandering womb want?”



“It would be great to really dilate the skin peeling in this story.”

–Jeanne on Malcom’s kite story


“Jeanne waits for no one.”

–Jeanne on Jeanne


“She hissed across the street.”



“Out out, damn eyeballs!”



“Everything can go through the wall except the eyebrows.”



“I think she could be dead and it wouldn’t have a big impact on the plot.”



“You can’t fix what you don’t have.”

–Gregory Ashe


“This is my Hulk.”



“I’m imagining Henry Cavill in Zoolander.”



“Spencer, did you have a beard when Odyssey started?”



“Scott had hair, right?”



“I had a beard, but the hair fell out from stress.”



Hairlander.  Only one can have hair.”



“I want to understand the novum at least 15% better.”



“I’ve obviously got toad and strange garden fascinations.”



“Noah was a character that I enjoyed not liking.”



“At the end it’s just all beard.”



“I was uncertain whether the womb’s opinion was valid or not.”



“We’re going full hat.”



“It’s not a logic game; it’s a plot game.”



“A clairvoyant centaur named Spencer.”

–Megan, Spencer, Mars, Jeanne


“I’m always a fan of magical jewelry shops.”


“I’ve been elbow-deep in every fluid that can come out of the human body.”



“There’s a lot of room for more spider hijinks.”



“Be weird.”



“I have an out-of-the-box suggestion.”



“I got it to fart!”



“He was this wrestler nurse and I immediately wanted a story about him.”









“Cat farts it.”






“The poop portal.”



“I’d like some clarification on what the bowel movements have to do with portal activation.”



“All the juices are squeezed out.”

— Megan on her story before critique


“Wow, it’s overflowing!  It’s rejuiced!”

— Megan on her story after critique


“Body-swapping shenanigans.”



“The trick is to not minding that it hurts.”

— David Brin





“Shut down is complete!”



“I kept telling myself, shutdown is complete! shutdown is complete!”

— Mars


“Meagan Spooner called me an asshole!”

–Scott (happily)


“It’s striking 12! We’re going into present tense!”



“Let’s get that robot lady’s voice going. [Recording in progress.] That’s better.”



“I love hurting them!”

— Gregory Ashe


“Soapy and the Tumtums”



“Green snot is ten times more expensive than yellow snot.”

— CJ


“How does the kite economy function?”

— Spencer


“Don’t walk to the story.”

— Jeanne


“Don’t be nice to your protagonist.”

— Jeanne


“Escalate, escalate, escalate.”

— Jeanne


“You got my dragons in my womb!”

— Jeanne


“2 Womb 2 Furious.”



“Oracle much?”



“I’m such a magpie for strangeness.”



“Outlining provides the pleasures of a pantsy first draft without the anxiety of knowing you’ll have to write the whole thing over again.”



“Do you like buff male nannies?”



“I like buff frogs.”