A few days ago I got an email that is probably the most wonderful and exciting piece of communication I’ve received since the midwife told me I was pregnant with my now nine-year-old daughter.
It started like this: “Dear Leslie, Congratulations! You have been accepted for early admission into Odyssey.” And I almost dropped my tea mug on the tile floor.
For those who don’t know, Odyssey Writing Workshop is an annual, six week, intensive, residential writing program for science fiction, fantasy and horror writers. One of the most highly regarded workshops in the world for writers of fantastical fiction, it is a BIG deal. To me, certainly. But also to the speculative fiction community as a whole. The workshop is facilitated by Jeanne Cavelos, a veteran editor with decades of experience in helping people to grow and improve as writers. All of the alumni accounts I’ve read are pretty much unanimous: Odyssey will be the most powerful experience of your writing career. It will kick your ass, melt you down and reshape you. Your assumptions will be challenged, your writing skill will be taken up about ten notches and you will emerge from the six weeks dazed and exhausted, but with half a lifetime of writing craft knowledge under your belt and some awesome new friends as well.
I still can’t believe I was actually accepted. It’s like I’ve been whisked away to some alternate dimension. The Dimension Where Starr Gets To Go To Odyssey.
When I applied, I treated it as an exercise in trudging along despite disappointment. I was sure it would be just another rejection letter to add to the pile I’ve received from numerous submissions to science fiction magazines. I don’t know how many people apply to Odyssey, but I do know that it’s one of only three workshops of its kind in the US and the only one taught by an editor, that it only accepts 16 students each year, and that a lot of really talented writers apply. I am incredibly honored and humbled to be included in that group.
So this puts me in the position of fundraising. Attendance will cost me around $4000, not including any missed income while I’m away, or the summer programs I will have to enroll my daughter in so that my husband will still be able to work while I’m gone. Luckily, there is this awesome thing called Crowdfunding! I’ve started an IndieGoGo campaign to help raise part of the money I’ll need for tuition, lodging and travel to and from the workshop.
I’ve given a lot of thought to what kinds of perks to offer, and I think I’ve come up with a few really sweet ones. Like audiobook narration services, “Totally Fabricated Bios”, and some of my vintage science fiction posters, for instance. And lots more. Check out the campaign, and even if you can’t or don’t want to contribute right now, please consider sharing it on your social media platform of choice. Or if you’re a blogger or podcaster, think about doing before and after Odyssey interviews with me. I really appreciate everyone’s help!!