The Odyssey Writing Workshop Podcast
The Odyssey podcast is an unusual resource - an irregular podcast featuring snippets from a science fiction and fantasy writing course. The range of topics and lecturers featured means that it gives access to an unusual, if slightly disjointed, range of insights.
The Odyssey Writing Workshop is one of the most respected courses in the world for writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Run by professional editor Jeanne Cavelos, it draws in lecturers and tutors from across the publishing industry, including writers, editors, and agents. In depth lectures combine with personal tutoring to give participants intense and focused training in genre writing. Its success is reflected in the proportion of graduates who go on to be professionally published - 59% according to the course’s website.
The foundation behind the course tries to extend access to learning beyond those who can afford the course. Online classes and other resources are made available through the organisation’s website, and the podcast is one of those resources.
The podcast consists of ten minute snippets taken from full length course lectures. Some of the podcasts come in pairs, which together give a longer section of a lecture, providing a more complete example of what the lecturer was saying. The content is usually interesting, but suffers from its short length. While Writing Excuses uses a short running time to provide compact, focused insight, the shortness of the Odyssey Podcast more often creates a sense of listening to something incomplete. The segments are carefully curated, and usually end on some sort of conclusion, but by their nature they inevitably leave you wishing for more.
Recent participants include horror author Gemma Files, literary agent Mark Gottlieb, and short fiction editor Scott Andrews. Because the course is aimed at writers already approaching or at a professional level of writing, the topics covered are reasonably advanced and often on more interesting or specific topics than found elsewhere.
The main focus of the podcast is on the craft of writing, discussing elements such as plotting, character, and style. But there are also episodes on the business of being a professional author, such as Mark Gottlieb’s talk on the elevator pitch and how to use it to sell your book.
Should You Buy?
Given the standard of professionals involved, the Odyssey podcast is like a tiny, gleaming gem of learning for anyone writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror. There isn’t much content, but it’s worth the small commitment of time to listen.
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