Graduate Comments


“The Odyssey Workshop online class, Heart of the Matter, sounds warm and fuzzy, like the welcome glow of a fire in an inglenook’s hearth, a soupçon of hygge, if I may mix my tongues. But this course, like the other Odyssey workshops, is not for the faint of heart. If you are fortunate enough to be admitted, your WIP’s will be poked, prodded, scrutinized, laid out on a table and etherized. A swarm of helpful ideas and suggestions, unleashed by our fearless teacher, Barbara Ashford, will threaten to overwhelm your fragile writer’s ego and beginner’s mind. Fear not! The fact of your admittance is also insurance of your success. The critiques from teacher and classmates are thorough, thought-provoking but not cruel or careless. Ms. Ashford models a positive approach to responding to writing, without being superficial or cloying. The critiques will uncover many faults in your work–info dumps, style missteps, embarrassing word choices, tone-deaf dialog–along with well earned praise for the things you’ve done well. I learned that writing does not get easier the more skilled you become; it gets harder. But unlike Sisyphus, who had to roll his rock uphill alone, in an Odyssey class, you’ve got help with your struggle. The online forums facilitate exchanges of ideas, and the lectures are filled with practical frameworks for improving your writing. In Heart of the Matter, these frameworks illuminated many different ways to create characters and scenes that invited readers into the work. The frameworks also become rubrics for helpful critiques. So buckle up, snap on that carabiner, and get ready to ascend to wider vistas of the craft.”