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Odyssey Workshop...or other writing workshops?

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by RavenOfSummer, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. RavenOfSummer

    RavenOfSummer Scribe

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    Hi all! I hope I created this thread in the right area! I am curious as to whether anyone here has applied to or attended the Odyssey Workshop for fantasy fiction? A friend mentioned it to me and I was curious to learn more. It's a six-week intensive workshop, though I see on their site they have some other ongoing programs as well. I understand it's quite competitive to get in. Anyway, I was just curious if anyone here has experience with it (either or applying or participating) and what it was like if so!

    Since we're on the topic, I'd love to know if there are other writing workshops you would recommend as well!
     
  2. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I have not applied to Odyssey, but I have friends who have been and they rave about it. It can be very demanding but very rewarding as well. It is kind of like Clarion in that way. Clarion is also a great program.

    Depending on where you live and what you want to right there are plenty of other workshops out there and great instructors out there that I might be able to recommend to you.

    If you are that serious you could also consider a MA or MFA, focussed on spec pic, either low residency or full program.
     
  3. RavenOfSummer

    RavenOfSummer Scribe

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    I hadn't heard of Clarion, so will have to look into that one! Geographic location is a great point...I like what I've heard about Odyssey, but of course it would be easier and more practical if I found something closer to Washington, D.C. where I live. I'll do some research for sure.

    I'm keeping an open mind about an MFA, although it's not something I feel called to explore at this time. I have a Master's degree in an unrelated subject, and even though I finished my MA 8 years ago I'm still not feeling the idea of going back to school full time. But the low residency options could be a good choice if it's something I ever decide I want to do. Also, I haven't looked into programs too much, but my understanding (based on admittedly very little information, so not sure how true this is) is that MFA programs tend to draw a hard line between "literary" and "genre" fiction, and I'm not a huge fan of that. I enjoy reading books that fall into either category- I just like good books, whether it's a good adventure story or something that makes me question my perspective on life. And honestly, I've read adventure stories that make me question my perspective on life! So, that whole categorization just isn't really my thing, and if I were ever to do it I'd want a program that wasn't snobby about writing that wouldn't necessarily be categorized as literary. Having said all that, I'm open to doing it down the road if it seems like something that going to benefit my writing!
     
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    It really depends on the program you get into. There are actual masters programs specifically for writing genre fiction, and some of them are very, very good indeed.

    Even programmes like Clarion and Odyssesy can be variable depending on who the instructors are in any given year. While you can't control the quality of your fellow students you sure can try to get in with the best instructors.
     
  5. RavenOfSummer

    RavenOfSummer Scribe

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    I was not aware of the genre fiction programs! Very interesting. I still don't like the idea of the hard line between the two, or having to choose one versus the other, but I'm glad to know those are out there.

    Great things to keep in mind, thanks!
     
  6. Mytherea

    Mytherea Minstrel

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    Coming in way late to this, but the big SF/F workshops are Odyssey, Clarion, Clarion West, and Viable Paradise. There are many, many smaller workshops out there though that may be way more convenient price- and location-wise. I'd been planning on applying to Odyssey if I didn't get into my MFA program, but seeing as I did, and that my residencies and the session dates for all four workshops fall on the same week, I can't apply till I'm done with school.

    This is...often true. It depends on the program. If you do decide to go down a low residency MFA program, I'd suggest the one I'm currently in--Stonecoast in Maine (but Stonecoast is only one out of many MFA low-residency programs that are genre-friendly). We wear convention t-shirts and discuss mermaids and Star Wars. They are really, really open to what gets termed 'genre fiction' (though their terminology is 'popular fiction' and they don't do the hard delineation between lit fic and pop fic; both popular fiction and general fiction have literary merit and are treated as such. Plus, they also have focuses in poetry and nonfiction, and students are encouraged to attend seminars and lectures outside their chosen focus).
     
  7. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    While I won't put a plug in for the genre fiction MA I used to teach at, I might be remiss to not address why it is a genre fiction not just a literature MFA and why they are different programs.

    The reason many of these programs are one or the other is that you need different faculty members and programs to teach them properly. The faculty you need for a genre fiction program is different tat from a straight literature MFA program, because you are teaching different things. It is not that people decide they need to be separate, but writing and understanding genre literature is a different skill set than general literary studies.
     
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