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Odyssey Podcasts

 

Welcome to the Odyssey Podcasts. These podcasts are excerpts from lectures given by guest writers, editors, and agents at the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

Every month or two, we release a new podcast. Each one is ten to fifteen minutes long. You may download a particular podcast, or you may subscribe to the podcasts so you automatically receive them when they are released. To subscribe, you will need RSS reader software on your computer. There are many free RSS readers.

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Or see below to download and listen to individual podcasts. To access more options, right-click on the mp3 links.




PODCAST #74

MP3 Download the mp3 File
Sheila Williams was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2013, where she spoke about the short fiction market. In this excerpt, she reads opening paragraphs from stories submitted to her at Asimov's. All of these are by authors she didn't know and hadn't heard of. She ultimately bought these stories for the magazine. Sheila discusses the qualities of these openings and how they gained her interest. Some pique her curiosity with strange images and make her want to continue. Some set up an intriguing situation that generates questions in her mind and makes her want to know what's going to happen next. Some reveal something different that she hasn't thought of or read before. Some create dramatic tension that draws her in. Some have strong use of language and powerful details. Some have a great title and distinct voice. Some surprise her. These examples show how unknown authors can break out of the slush pile, sometimes after years of submitting, and make a sale to one of the top markets in the field. For some, this was their first sale.

Sheila Williams Sheila Williams is the two-time Hugo-Award-winning editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. She started at Asimov's in June 1982 and served as the executive editor of Analog from 1998 until 2004. She is also the co-founder of the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing (formerly the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing). In addition, She coordinates the websites for Asimov's (www.asimovs.com).

Sheila is the editor or co-editor of twenty-five anthologies. The most recent are Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine's 30th Anniversary Anthology (Tachyon Publications, 2007), which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was on the 2007 Locus Recommended Reading list, and the 2010 Enter A Future: Fantastic Tales from Asimov's Science Fiction, which is exclusively available for Amazon's Kindle.

Sheila received her bachelor's degree from Elmira College in Elmira, New York, and her master's from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. During her junior year she studied at the London School of Economics. She lives in New York City with her husband, David Bruce, and her two daughters.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Sheila Williams. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2014 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #73

MP3 Download the mp3 File
As writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2013, Nancy Holder lectured on short fiction and novel contracts. This excerpt is part 2 of 2, continuing the discussion in Podcast 72. In this part, Nancy discusses a work-for-hire novel contract. She explains what a boilerplate contract is, and the role of an agent in negotiating your contract with a publisher. Nancy covers how advances and royalties work and when they are paid. These days, some publishers may want to e-publish your book without paying an advance. Advances for a novel can range from $0 to $1 million and beyond. For a short category romance, the maximum advance is $10,000. For a first novel, many authors receive an advance of $3,000-$5,000. You might get a higher advance, but then the book might fail to earn out, and the publisher may not buy your next book. The author may also receive advances from foreign publishers. Nancy also explains contracts that literary agents have with their authors, and agent involvement in the e-book marketplace.

Nancy Holder Nancy Holder is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of adult, young adult, middle grade, and early reader work, both fiction and nonfiction. She has sold approximately 80 novels and 200 short stories, comic books, and essays in various genres. She has taught creative writing classes at the University of California at San Diego, the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference, and other conferences and colleges, and has been on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing for seven years. She has also served on the boards of Clarion (San Diego) and the Horror Writers Association.

Wicked, her young adult dark fantasy series, was optioned by DreamWorks, and she has received five Bram Stoker Awards, including Best Novel for Dead in the Water, edited by Jeanne Cavelos. As an editor, she was nominated for a Stoker for Outsiders: 22 All New Stories from the Edge, which contains work by a number of previous Odyssey writers-in-residence. She received a Pioneer Award from the Romantic Times Convention for her work in young adult literature. She also recently won a Scribe award for her novel, Saving Grace: Tough Love, based on the TV show of the same name.

She has done tie-in work for Smallville; Saving Grace; The Hulk; Hellboy; Sabrina the Teen Age Witch; Highlander; Zorro; Kolchak the Night Stalker; The Domino Lady; The Spider; The Avenger; and Sherlock Holmes, as well two dozen novels for Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also produced the first volume of The Angel Casefiles and the first two volumes of the BtVS Watcher's Guide. She has written material for house series such as Nancy Drew; Camp Confidential; Pretty Freekin Scary, and for packagers such as becker&meyer!

She has also written a lot of horror, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, venturing into the e-pub world as one-third of GothicScapes™, which produces urban fantasies. She writes columns for the Science Fiction Writers of America Bulletin and the Horror Writers Association newsletter. She also edits and writes comic books, graphic novels, and prose for Moonstone Books.

Her new work includes the young adult vampire series Crusade, and The Wolf Springs Chronicles, a young adult werewolf series. Her licensed tribute book Buffy: the Making of a Slayer will be released by 47 North (amazon) in December. She also has selections in Dear Teen Me; IDW's VWars shared world; Zombie Apocalypse: Fightback!; An Apple for the Creature, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner; Shards and Ashes, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong; and Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes. "Clockwork Airlock," a steampunk story, appeared in FutureDaze.

She is a member of The Romance Writers of America and various sub-chapters, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, and The Horror Writers Association.

Her teaching philosophy is this: As the Talmud says, "Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'" She believes that is best done with kind, specific guidance that inspires and encourages the student to keep going. No one on this earth was born published, and yet many have managed to do it. There are definitely ways to make it more likely, and she is delighted to share her thoughts on the matter with Odyssey.

Her literary crush is Edgar Allan Poe, and she loves the heavy metal stylings of Sir Christopher Lee. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, and they have sold two short stories together. Feel free to contact her @nancyholder or https://www.facebook.com/holder.nancy

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Nancy Holder. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2014 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #72

MP3 Download the mp3 File
As writer-in-residence at the 2013 Odyssey Writing Workshop, Nancy Holder lectured for a week, provided feedback on students' manuscripts, and met privately with students. This podcast, the first of two parts, is an excerpt from her lecture on short fiction and novel contracts. If you've been signing contracts with publishers without really understanding them, you need to listen to this podcast. Nancy explains exactly what a contract is. The contract establishes which rights the author is granting to the publisher. As the writer, you are the copyright holder. A publisher can buy the right to publish your story, but you still own the copyright. Nancy explains various terms, such as nonexclusive and pro rata, and discusses what provisions you should try to get in a contract for a never-before-published story. Nancy also reviews a contract for a reprint of a story that has been previously published.

Nancy Holder Nancy Holder is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of adult, young adult, middle grade, and early reader work, both fiction and nonfiction. She has sold approximately 80 novels and 200 short stories, comic books, and essays in various genres. She has taught creative writing classes at the University of California at San Diego, the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference, and other conferences and colleges, and has been on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing for seven years. She has also served on the boards of Clarion (San Diego) and the Horror Writers Association.

Wicked, her young adult dark fantasy series, was optioned by DreamWorks, and she has received five Bram Stoker Awards, including Best Novel for Dead in the Water, edited by Jeanne Cavelos. As an editor, she was nominated for a Stoker for Outsiders: 22 All New Stories from the Edge, which contains work by a number of previous Odyssey writers-in-residence. She received a Pioneer Award from the Romantic Times Convention for her work in young adult literature. She also recently won a Scribe award for her novel, Saving Grace: Tough Love, based on the TV show of the same name.

She has done tie-in work for Smallville; Saving Grace; The Hulk; Hellboy; Sabrina the Teen Age Witch; Highlander; Zorro; Kolchak the Night Stalker; The Domino Lady; The Spider; The Avenger; and Sherlock Holmes, as well two dozen novels for Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also produced the first volume of The Angel Casefiles and the first two volumes of the BtVS Watcher's Guide. She has written material for house series such as Nancy Drew; Camp Confidential; Pretty Freekin Scary, and for packagers such as becker&meyer!

She has also written a lot of horror, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, venturing into the e-pub world as one-third of GothicScapes™, which produces urban fantasies. She writes columns for the Science Fiction Writers of America Bulletin and the Horror Writers Association newsletter. She also edits and writes comic books, graphic novels, and prose for Moonstone Books.

Her new work includes the young adult vampire series Crusade, and The Wolf Springs Chronicles, a young adult werewolf series. Her licensed tribute book Buffy: the Making of a Slayer will be released by 47 North (amazon) in December. She also has selections in Dear Teen Me; IDW's VWars shared world; Zombie Apocalypse: Fightback!; An Apple for the Creature, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner; Shards and Ashes, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong; and Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes. "Clockwork Airlock," a steampunk story, appeared in FutureDaze.

She is a member of The Romance Writers of America and various sub-chapters, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, and The Horror Writers Association.

Her teaching philosophy is this: As the Talmud says, "Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'" She believes that is best done with kind, specific guidance that inspires and encourages the student to keep going. No one on this earth was born published, and yet many have managed to do it. There are definitely ways to make it more likely, and she is delighted to share her thoughts on the matter with Odyssey.

Her literary crush is Edgar Allan Poe, and she loves the heavy metal stylings of Sir Christopher Lee. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, and they have sold two short stories together. Feel free to contact her @nancyholder or https://www.facebook.com/holder.nancy

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Nancy Holder. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2014 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #71

MP3 Download the mp3 File
Nancy Holder served as writer-in-residence at the 2013 Odyssey Writing Workshop. Among the lectures she gave that week was one on "The Secrets of a Satisfying Short Story." This lecture provided so much helpful information that I asked her to expand it into an online class for Odyssey. In this excerpt from her lecture, Nancy recommends that short story writers read L. Rust Hills's book Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular and Edgar Allan Poe's essay "The Philosophy of Composition," which outlines his theory on how stories should be written. The short story should be short enough to be read in single setting and should have a unity of effect--all the elements should work together to create a single emotional effect and satisfying ending. One of the most common weaknesses in stories is the ending. Nancy explains that the failure of the ending is actually a failure of the beginning. Many writers start with a cool idea but don't turn that idea into a causal plot. Unless the writer makes the journey from idea to premise to plot, it's unlikely he'll create a satisfying ending. A simple way to think of a story is that it describes a character in a situation with a problem. Most stories have an idea or a "what if?" but not a problem. Without that, the writer doesn't know how to end the story. If you are struggling to find a satisfying ending, ask yourself this: Who is doing what and why, and what happens to them as a result? Usually the protagonist has an external problem and internal problem. Sometimes the internal problem is why he has an external problem. This can be very compelling. Focusing on these interconnected problems will make the ending feel inevitable, though not predictable. Some writers want to discover the story as they go. But often that means they're postponing the decision about what the story is. Don't just sit down and go, Nancy advises. Decide what your story is first.

Nancy Holder Nancy Holder is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of adult, young adult, middle grade, and early reader work, both fiction and nonfiction. She has sold approximately 80 novels and 200 short stories, comic books, and essays in various genres. She has taught creative writing classes at the University of California at San Diego, the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference, and other conferences and colleges, and has been on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing for seven years. She has also served on the boards of Clarion (San Diego) and the Horror Writers Association.

Wicked, her young adult dark fantasy series, was optioned by DreamWorks, and she has received five Bram Stoker Awards, including Best Novel for Dead in the Water, edited by Jeanne Cavelos. As an editor, she was nominated for a Stoker for Outsiders: 22 All New Stories from the Edge, which contains work by a number of previous Odyssey writers-in-residence. She received a Pioneer Award from the Romantic Times Convention for her work in young adult literature. She also recently won a Scribe award for her novel, Saving Grace: Tough Love, based on the TV show of the same name.

She has done tie-in work for Smallville; Saving Grace; The Hulk; Hellboy; Sabrina the Teen Age Witch; Highlander; Zorro; Kolchak the Night Stalker; The Domino Lady; The Spider; The Avenger; and Sherlock Holmes, as well two dozen novels for Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also produced the first volume of The Angel Casefiles and the first two volumes of the BtVS Watcher's Guide. She has written material for house series such as Nancy Drew; Camp Confidential; Pretty Freekin Scary, and for packagers such as becker&meyer!

She has also written a lot of horror, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, venturing into the e-pub world as one-third of GothicScapes™, which produces urban fantasies. She writes columns for the Science Fiction Writers of America Bulletin and the Horror Writers Association newsletter. She also edits and writes comic books, graphic novels, and prose for Moonstone Books.

Her new work includes the young adult vampire series Crusade, and The Wolf Springs Chronicles, a young adult werewolf series. Her licensed tribute book Buffy: the Making of a Slayer will be released by 47 North (amazon) in December. She also has selections in Dear Teen Me; IDW's VWars shared world; Zombie Apocalypse: Fightback!; An Apple for the Creature, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner; Shards and Ashes, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong; and Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes. "Clockwork Airlock," a steampunk story, appeared in FutureDaze.

She is a member of:
The Romance Writers of America and various sub-chapters
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers
The Horror Writers Association

Her teaching philosophy is this: As the Talmud says, "Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'" She believes that is best done with kind, specific guidance that inspires and encourages the student to keep going. No one on this earth was born published, and yet many have managed to do it. There are definitely ways to make it more likely, and she is delighted to share her thoughts on the matter with Odyssey.

Her literary crush is Edgar Allan Poe, and she loves the heavy metal stylings of Sir Christopher Lee. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, and they have sold two short stories together. Feel free to contact her @nancyholder or https://www.facebook.com/holder.nancy

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Nancy Holder. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2014 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #70

MP3 Download the mp3 File
A guest lecturer at Odyssey 2013, Adam-Troy Castro discussed Writing the Middle-Grade Novel. In this excerpt from his lecture, Adam explains how he approaches writing for a middle-grade audience. He creates stories that have real danger, real consequences, strong emotions, and reasons to worry and care. Characters can face physical harm, loss, and death. For Adam, middle-grade novels should not be simpler or gentler, but they should provide a happy ending. Adam considers middle-grade readers aged 9-13, and the major characters in the novel should be in that range as well. On the practical side of things, middle-grade books are a very fast-growing market segment. Novels need to be only about 40,000 words, so they can take less time to write than adult novels, and publishers tend to pay about three times as much as for an adult novel. On the artistic side, writers of middle-grade fiction can focus on childhood concerns. Writing middle-grade novels can be very emotionally satisfying as well, since readers can be very enthusiastic. Also, once you get readers to believe the first fantastic element, they will be accepting of the rest. One important cue when establishing the age of a character is the amount of time the character takes to process something strange. Young characters may simply accept the fantastic, not realizing it is strange, and take it in stride. The more disbelief a character shows, the older he seems. But if the character is too credulous, he can seem stupid. When writing about dark or horrible events, Adam advises not to provide a lot of detail. In dialogue, writers can include more exposition, since readers need more explanation, and characters may discuss things more because they need to work them out. Overused middle-grade story elements, which Adam suggests you avoid, are dead parents, prophecies, and chosen ones.

Adam-Troy Castro Adam-Troy Castro is the author of the novel Emissaries from the Dead (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award) and co-author of the novella "The Astronaut from Wyoming" (winner of the Seiun). His short fiction has been nominated for eight Nebulas, three Stokers, and two Hugos. His most recent project is a series of six middle-grade novels that includes Gustav Gloom and the People Taker and the recently released Gustav Gloom and the Nightmare Vault, which bring his total number of books well into the mid-twenties. Adam lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, with his wife Judi and a manic assortment of cats that include Uma Furman, Meow Farrow, and Harley Quinn.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Adam-Troy Castro. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2014 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #69

MP3 Download the mp3 File
As a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2013, another topic Jack Ketchum discussed is writing about thematic content that's important to you. Sometimes you may be aware of particular themes in your work, and sometimes you may not. Jack explains that you are drawn to particular material because it resonates for you. Your emotional core--your pains, concerns, fears, loves, and losses--makes you a unique writer. This doesn't mean you need to be self-obsessed, but it means that you should allow your concerns and fears to inform your work and run through the subtext. Jack describes how fiction allows you to discuss issues important to you, as long as you tell a good, suspenseful story, so the story never becomes preachy. Genre fiction provides a great venue for this. Jack leads students in considering key questions. What's important to you? What don't you like? Who don't you like? Who and what do you love? Jack explains that without significant thematic content, the author may be simply wasting the reader's time. The author needs to give the reader something worth reading about. Jack then considers some of the higher tasks he attempts to achieve in writing.

Jack Ketchum Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for a former actor, singer, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk—a former flower child and baby boomer who figures that in 1956 Elvis, dinosaurs and horror probably saved his life. His first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is perfectly happy to let you decide for yourself. His short story "The Box" won a 1994 Bram Stoker Award from the HWA, his story "Gone" won again in 2000—and in 2003 he won Stokers for both best collection for Peaceable Kingdom and best long fiction for Closing Time. He has written over twenty novels and novellas, the latest of which are The Woman and I'm Not Sam, both written with director Lucky McKee. Five of his books have been filmed to date—The Girl Next Door, The Lost, Red, Offspring and The Woman, the last of which won him and McKee the Best Screenplay Award at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival in Germany. His stories are collected in The Exit At Toledo Blade Boulevard, Broken on the Wheel of Sex, Sleep Disorder (with Edward Lee), Peaceable Kingdom and Closing Time and Other Stories. His novella The Crossings was cited by Stephen King in his speech at the 2003 National Book Awards. In 2011 he was elected Grand Master by the World Horror Convention.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Dallas Mayr. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #68

MP3 Download the mp3 File
At Odyssey 2013, Patricia Bray lectured on writing a series. This excerpt is part 2 of 2, continuing the discussion in Podcast 67. In this part, Patricia discusses how to develop story arcs for a series, what to consider when plotting, and common pitfalls. Patricia explains that you need to a separate story arc for each book as well as an overall arc for the series. Each book needs a conflict that is satisfactorily resolved by the end of book, but each book must also advance the overall series arc and make the reader want to keep reading. A middle book in a series may often have some of the same problems as the middle of a novel, since it may be hard to resolve a significant conflict. Using examples from her Devlin's Luck trilogy, Patricia breaks the plot down into different key elements and explores different ways to consider the plot of a trilogy. Another important requirement of a series is that in each book, the stakes escalate. It can be hard to keep escalating, to feel the character is still threatened when he's defeated so many evils. Patricia explores common pitfalls when writing a series, such as how to end a series yet keep fans happy; how to avoid the book in which nothing happens, and how to avoid the overload of too many characters and too many subplots.

Patricia Bray Patricia Bray is the author of a dozen novels, including Devlin's Luck, which won the 2003 Compton Crook Award for the best first novel in the field of science fiction or fantasy. A multi-genre author whose career spans both epic fantasy and Regency romance, her books have been translated into Russian, German, Portuguese and Hebrew. She's also spent time on the editorial side of the business, as the co-editor of After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar (DAW, March 2011) and The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (DAW, March 2012).

Patricia lives in a New England college town, where she combines her writing with a full-time career as a Systems Analyst, ensuring that she is never more than a few feet away from a keyboard. To find out more, visit her website at www.patriciabray.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Patricia Bray. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #67

MP3 Download the mp3 File
As a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2013, Patricia Bray spoke about writing a novel series. In this excerpt from her lecture, which is the first of two parts, Patricia discusses why you might write a series, the pros and cons, and the various types of series. Patricia explains the appeal of a series to readers, and points out that bestseller lists often include series books. A series allows the author to build an audience over multiple novels. But there are disadvantages as well. Declining sales in a series can kill your writing career. If the first book isn't great, readers won't follow you to Book 2. Authors can get sick of a series and be trapped in it. There are different types of series, such as the closed series (duology, trilogy, and so on), which has a defined story arc; the open-ended series; the branching series; the loosely connected series; the character-focused series; the epic series; the puzzle series; and the episodic series. Podcast #68 will contain Part 2 of this excerpt.

Patricia Bray Patricia Bray is the author of a dozen novels, including Devlin's Luck, which won the 2003 Compton Crook Award for the best first novel in the field of science fiction or fantasy. A multi-genre author whose career spans both epic fantasy and Regency romance, her books have been translated into Russian, German, Portuguese and Hebrew. She's also spent time on the editorial side of the business, as the co-editor of After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar (DAW, March 2011) and The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (DAW, March 2012).

Patricia lives in a New England college town, where she combines her writing with a full-time career as a Systems Analyst, ensuring that she is never more than a few feet away from a keyboard. To find out more, visit her website at www.patriciabray.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2013 by Patricia Bray. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2013 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




FOR PODCASTS #1-22, CLICK HERE.

FOR PODCASTS #23-44, CLICK HERE.

FOR PODCASTS #45-66, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 


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