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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; if you have a gmail account, you can use Google Reader.

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




FOR THE MOST RECENT PODCASTS, CLICK HERE.

FOR PODCASTS #45-66, CLICK HERE.



PODCAST #44

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Laura Anne Gilman was the writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2010. During her week at Odyssey, Laura Anne lectured on a variety of topics, participated in critique sessions, and worked individually with writers. In this podcast, Laura Anne discusses how to approach revisions. Before one can revise, one first needs to get a draft of the story written. Often, writers can get hung up on creating the perfect sentence and lose focus on the story. In a first draft, each sentence doesn't need to be perfect; it's more important to get the heart of the story on the page. Of course, that doesn't give one the right be a sloppy writer. Improving the sentences will come in revision, along with other improvements. Laura Anne discusses common problems writers need to address in revision, drawing on her experiences as both editor and writer. She also provides tips on how a writer can tell when something isn't good enough. And she explains how revising a work can help you with future works.

Laura Anne Gilman Laura Anne Gilman was an editorial assistant at the Berkley Publishing Group in 1994 when she took the first plunge into murky writing waters and submitted her first story to a professional market. An almost immediate sale to Amazing Stories followed. She didn't make another fiction sale for more than a year, which taught her humility and patience. And the fine art of perseverance.

Over the next few years, in addition to a number of short stories published in magazines and anthologies (many garnering "Year's Best" honorable mentions), she wrote or co-wrote four media tie-in novels (Quantum Leap: Double or Nothing; Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Visitors and Deep Water; and Poltergeist: The Legacy: The Shadows Between). In the meanwhile, she moved up the corporate ladder to be Executive Editor at NAL/Penguin USA.

In 2003, after a great deal of planning and soul-searching—and with a three book contract in-hand—she left editorial to become a full-time writer. In 2004, her first original novel, the urban fantasy Staying Dead was published at a time when everyone insisted urban fantasy was dead. So much for what "Everyone" knows. Staying Dead was followed by Curse the Dark, Bring It On, Burning Bridges, Free Fall, and Blood From Stone. The first in a spinoff series, Hard Magic, was published in 2010, with the second book, Pack of Lies, scheduled for February 2011.

Her epic fantasy trilogy, The Vineart War, began in 2009 with the Nebula-nominated Flesh and Fire and Weight of Stone (2010), and will conclude with Shattered Vine in October 2011.

To-date, she has sold over thirty works of short fiction, ranging from mainstream to science fiction to horror. She is also the author of the Grail Quest YA trilogy for HarperCollins (2006), and a number of nonfiction books for teenagers. Writing as "Anna Leonard," she has also written four paranormal romances (The Night Serpent, Dreamcatcher, The Hunted, and Mustang).

Laura Anne also co-edited the anthologies OtherWere: Stories of Transformation (Ace), Treachery & Treason (Roc) and The Shadow Conspiracy (Book View Press). As part of the Book View Café (www.bookviewcafe.com), she is involved in expanding the definition of publishing beyond the traditional models, experimenting with the writer-to-reader connection.

More details about her work can be found at http://lauraannegilman.net.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2010 by Laura Anne Gilman. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2011 by Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust.




PODCAST #43

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Award-winning editor David G. Hartwell was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2010, where he spoke on a variety of subjects authors need to know to survive and thrive in the publishing world. In this podcast, David discusses story titles and pseudonyms. A good title can make a story stand out, not only to editors but to readers, as they scan down the contents page of a magazine or anthology. A good title may relate to the themes of the story. It can even suggest to the reader how to read the story, or suggest to the author how to revise the story to make it stronger and more unified. A bad title confuses or turns off the reader. For example, a title that makes sense only after the reader has finished the story is generally not a good idea. A title with unfamiliar words is weak and may turn off readers, bookstores, and book distributors. David also discusses pseudonyms. He explains the different reasons you may want to use a pseudonym, as well as some of the questions you should ask yourself before making that decision.

David G. Hartwell David G. Hartwell is an American editor of science fiction and fantasy. He has worked for Signet (1971-1973), Berkley Putnam (1973-1978), Pocket (where he founded the Timescape imprint, 1978-1983, and created the Pocket Books Star Trek publishing line), and Tor (where he spearheaded Tor's Canadian publishing initiative, and was also influential in bringing many Australian writers to the US market, 1984-present), and has published numerous anthologies.

Each year he edits The Year's Best Science Fiction (started in 1996 and co-edited with Kathryn Cramer since 2002) and The Year's Best Fantasy (co-edited with Cramer since its first publication in 2001). Both anthologies have consistently placed in the top 10 of the Locus annual reader poll in the category of Best Anthology. In 1988, he won the World Fantasy Award in the category Best Anthology for The Dark Descent. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award in the category of Best Professional Editor and Best Editor Long Form on numerous occasions, and won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He has also won the Eaton Award and the World Fantasy Award.

He edited the best-novel Nebula Award-winners Timescape by Gregory Benford (1980), The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe (1981), and No Enemy But Time by Michael Bishop (1982), and the best-novel Hugo Award-winner Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer (2002).

Since 1995, his title at Tor/Forge Books has been "Senior Editor." He chairs the board of directors of the World Fantasy Convention, is on the board of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and, with Gordon Van Gelder, is the administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative medieval literature.

He lives in Pleasantville and Westport, New York with his wife Kathryn Cramer and their two children.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2010 by David G. Hartwell. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #42

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As a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2010, Gregory Frost spoke about "Character, Viewpoint, and the Critical Voice of the Story: Why It Matters How You Tell It." In this podcast, the second of two parts, Gregory continues his discussion of the properties, limitations, and challenges of each viewpoint, covering second person and first person. He describes different ways to use first person, such as the interior monologue, the dramatic monologue, the epistle, the diary, and the memoir. Gregory stresses the importance of considering the question, "Who is listening?" when a first-person narrator tells his story. He also provides a series of questions for an author to ask himself when choosing a point of view. Gregory explains the difference between viewpoint and voice. Voice is critical to establishing character and can create an image of the character more powerful than any physical description. He also describes the unique nature of voice and points out that voice can be a powerful source of originality in fiction. You can find part 1 of Gregory's lecture excerpt in Podcast #41.

Gregory Frost Gregory Frost is a writer of fantasy, thrillers, and science fiction who has been publishing steadily for more than two decades.

His latest work, the compelling fantasy duology, Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet (Del Rey Books) was voted one of the four best fantasy novels of the year by the American Library Association. It was a finalist this year for the James Tiptree Award.

The Shadowbridge duology has garnered much acclaim: Fantasy Book Critic hailed it as "one of the few must-read fantasies of the year" and Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, said, "Frost brings the charm of an ancient storyteller and the wit of a contemporary tale-spinner to this dramatic tale, effortlessly manipulating his troupe of mortals and immortals and bringing the truths and myths of Shadowbridge equally to life."

His previous novel, Fitcher's Brides, was a historical thriller that set the fairy tale of Bluebeard in 19th century New York State. Gavin Grant in Bookpage called it a "detailed chiller [that] will stay with the reader for a long time." Fitcher's Brides was a finalist for both the World Fantasy Award and the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel.

Other novels include Tain, Lyrec, and Nebula-nominated SF work The Pure Cold Light. His short story collection, Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories, was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly, which called it "one of the best fantasy collections of the year" while hailing the author as a master of the short story form. The collection includes James Tiptree Award, Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and Hugo Award finalist fiction.

His shorter work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Magazine, Weird Tales, Realms of Fantasy, and in numerous award-winning anthologies. His latest short story can be found in Poe (Solaris Books), edited by Ellen Datlow.

He is a Fiction Writing Workshop Director at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA.

His web site is www.gregoryfrost.com. He's on Facebook as Gregory Frost; on Twitter as gregory_frost; and his LJ blog, "Frostbites" is at http://frostokovich.livejournal.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2010 by Gregory Frost. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #41

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Gregory Frost was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2010. In his lecture, "Character, Viewpoint, and the Critical Voice of the Story: Why It Matters How You Tell It," Gregory explained how to choose the best point of view for a story, how to create a consistent viewpoint and voice, and how to reveal character through voice. In this excerpt, the first of two parts, Gregory describes the underlying, pervasive importance of point of view to a story. All the elements of fiction are connected to viewpoint. The viewpoint also determines how the reader interacts with a story. Each viewpoint carries different rules; a writer must consider which viewpoint will allow him to do what he wants to do in his story. Gregory begins a discussion of the properties, possibilities, limitations, and challenges of each point of view, including third-person objective (camera view), third-person limited omniscient, and third-person omniscient; this discussion is continued in part 2. He explains the concept of psychic distance, which is critical to point of view. Controlling psychic distance and limiting shifts in psychic distance help the reader to more vividly experience the story. Failing to maintain a consistent psychic distance distracts and confuses the reader, as Gregory's examples illustrate.

Gregory Frost Gregory Frost is a writer of fantasy, thrillers, and science fiction who has been publishing steadily for more than two decades.

His latest work, the compelling fantasy duology, Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet (Del Rey Books) was voted one of the four best fantasy novels of the year by the American Library Association. It was a finalist this year for the James Tiptree Award.

The Shadowbridge duology has garnered much acclaim: Fantasy Book Critic hailed it as "one of the few must-read fantasies of the year" and Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, said, "Frost brings the charm of an ancient storyteller and the wit of a contemporary tale-spinner to this dramatic tale, effortlessly manipulating his troupe of mortals and immortals and bringing the truths and myths of Shadowbridge equally to life."

His previous novel, Fitcher's Brides, was a historical thriller that set the fairy tale of Bluebeard in 19th century New York State. Gavin Grant in Bookpage called it a "detailed chiller [that] will stay with the reader for a long time." Fitcher's Brides was a finalist for both the World Fantasy Award and the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel.

Other novels include Tain, Lyrec, and Nebula-nominated SF work The Pure Cold Light. His short story collection, Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories, was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly, which called it "one of the best fantasy collections of the year" while hailing the author as a master of the short story form. The collection includes James Tiptree Award, Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and Hugo Award finalist fiction.

His shorter work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Magazine, Weird Tales, Realms of Fantasy, and in numerous award-winning anthologies. His latest short story can be found in Poe (Solaris Books), edited by Ellen Datlow.

He is a Fiction Writing Workshop Director at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA.

His web site is www.gregoryfrost.com. He's on Facebook as Gregory Frost; on Twitter as gregory_frost; and his LJ blog, "Frostbites" is at http://frostokovich.livejournal.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2010 by Gregory Frost. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #40

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Alex Jablokov was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2010. In his lecture on how plot works in genre fiction, Alex discussed the key elements of plot and the specific requirements for plot in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In this excerpt, Alex stresses the importance of cause and effect linkage in plot. He also explains that the character's desire is central to the plot and that obstacles must prevent the character from getting what he wants. He discusses different standard plots, the challenges of openings, the role of the author as torturer of the protagonist, and how to create suspense. Alex challenges writers to view the requirements of plot not as a limitation on a story but as a way to deepen and enliven a story.

Alexander Jablokov Alexander Jablokov writes science fiction for readers who won't give up literate writing or vivid characters to get the thrills they demand. He is a natural transition for non-SF readers interested in taking a stroll with a dangerous AI or a neurosurgeon/jazz musician turned detective, while still giving hardcore SF fans speculative flash, incomprehensible aliens, and kitchen appliances with insect wing cases.

From his well-regarded first novel, Carve the Sky, an interplanetary espionage novel set in a culturally complex 25th century, through the obscenely articulate dolphins with military modifications of a Deeper Sea, the hardboiled post-cyberpunk of Nimbus, the subterranean Martian repression of River of Dust, and the perverse space opera of Deepdrive, he has come to Brain Thief, a contemporary high-tech thriller with a class clown attitude.

Alex has a day job: he is a marketing executive for a financial services firm. He does his writing during the mornings, and on weekends. It took him several years to figure out how to get any writing done at all, particularly since he hates getting up early and hates working on weekends, but has somehow managed it.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2010 by Alex Jablokov. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #39

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Ginjer Buchanan, editor-in-chief of Ace and Roc, was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2009. In her lecture on how to get published, Ginjer explained how the book publishing industry works. In this excerpt, Ginjer provides tips on how to create and execute a smart submission strategy. She explains that there are no magical shortcuts. First, you must write a novel to completion. Next, target your submissions. Find other authors writing in the same sub-genre, find out who their agents and editors are, and target your submissions to those people. Ginjer stresses the importance of selling yourself and your work to the agent or editor, and of knowing what is happening at the different publishing houses. Ginjer lists resources that provide information about the publishing industry. She also describes what belongs in a query letter and what doesn't, and what you should include with your submission.

Ginjer Buchanan Ginjer Buchanan was born in Pittsburgh, PA. She earned a Sociology degree from Duquesne University, and a master's in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She was employed as a social worker in Pittsburgh for two years, and then moved to New York, spending 13 years working for a foster care and adoption agency. She eased into the publishing world in the '70s by doing freelance work for various SF publishers, including a stint as consulting editor for the Star Trek novel line at Pocket Books. In 1984 she accepted a job as a full-time editor at the Berkley Publishing Group (now part of Penguin USA). She has had several promotions over the years, the most recent in January of 2007, when she was made editor-in-chief of Ace and Roc, the SF/F imprints of Berkley and NAL. She acquires and edits mostly in those genres but also has several mystery, horror, historical fiction, and non-fiction pop culture writers on her list.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Ginjer Buchanan. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #38

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Carrie Vaughn served as writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2009. In her lecture on goal setting and building a writing career, Carrie discussed important strategies that can help writers to persist and succeed in the publishing industry. In this excerpt, Carrie discusses the insanity of the publishing business. She explains that many writers are discouraged by setting unrealistic goals that deal with issues beyond their control. She suggests that writers instead set goals only about those things they can control, such as how much they will write, what efforts they will make to improve, and how often they will submit their work to markets. Those things that writers can't control, such as whether a story will sell, whether a story will sell to a particular publisher, whether it will receive an award, whether an agent will represent a novel, should be separated from goals, so they don't needlessly frustrate and discourage the author. By setting reasonable goals and focusing on what can be controlled, writers can build their skills, work through the tough times, and make progress toward achieving those things that can't be controlled. Carrie explains how goals and habits kept her from giving up on writing and led to her eventual success.

Carrie Vaughn Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times Bestselling author of a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Publishers Weekly said that "Vaughn's universe is convincing and imaginative." Kitty and The Midnight Hour, the first book in the series, has over a hundred thousand copies in print. The seventh novel in the series, Kitty's House of Horrors, was released in 2010. She's also published many short stories in various anthologies and magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and is a contributor to George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards series.

Carrie graduated from the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop in 1998 and was excited to return as an instructor. "Once I was but the student. Now, I am the master." Oh, and she's also a big Star Wars fan. But she really does have a Masters in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She credits the intensive Odyssey experience with helping her cross the great divide between unpublished and published, and with setting her firmly on the road of professional writing, with the skills she learned and contacts she made.

A lifelong science fiction fan and reader (her parents both read science fiction), Carrie worked the traditional series of day jobs for about twelve years before turning to writing full time. She survived her Air Force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado, where she lives in Boulder with her dog, Lily, and too many hobbies. Visit her website at www.carrievaughn.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Carrie Vaughn. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #37

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Lori Perkins was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2003, where she worked with students, critiqued manuscripts, and lectured on what agents do and how they do it. In this podcast, Lori explains why the importance of agents has increased and how agents currently fit into the publishing industry. Agents now do the job editors used to do. Most publishers no longer read the slush pile, so agents are left to do that, discover the promising new writers, and help them get their manuscripts into shape. Editors have little time to work with developing writers on manuscripts these days, since they spend most of their work day attending meetings and acquire 20-75 books a year. Editors wants agents to provide manuscripts in publishable shape and are willing to pay more money for them. Lori describes the different types of agents, the traits to look for in an agent, and the best way to get an agent. She gives advice on query letters and on where to find good information on agents. She also explains how not to approach an agent.

Lori Perkins The L. Perkins Agency is a New York-based literary agency with 4 staff agents and agents in 11 foreign countries, as well as Hollywood affiliates.

The agency represents approximately 150 clients in such diverse areas as romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries and thrillers, as well as popular culture nonfiction.

Since its inception in 1999, the agency has had 8 books on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Lori Perkins can be reached at lori@lperkinsagency.com

Lori Perkins writes a blog about agenting at agentinthemiddle.blogspot.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2003 by Lori Perkins. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #36

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As writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2009, Carrie Vaughn provided a week of great lectures and worked closely with students. In her lecture on suspense, pacing, and the delivery of information, Carrie discussed various techniques authors can use to create suspense and control pacing, and the role that information plays in both of these elements. In this podcast, Carrie discusses the importance of drawing out key moments, creating emotion and expectation. Slowing down at the right places can help you generate suspense and manipulate the reader. Carrie also explains how the order of information determines the emotion and effect of the story. Changing the order in which you reveal events, or the place at which you reveal a piece of information, can completely change the impact of the story. Carrie differentiates those situations in which withholding information can provide a big payoff, and those in which withholding information alienates the reader. She also stresses that information can make the reader worry, which is good. Even better can be providing information but leading the reader to misinterpret it, so understanding only comes later. The expectations of the reader can also be used to create suspense. Does the reader expect the character will survive the story unharmed? Or is the reader terrified that the character may not survive? Playing with reader expectations can be more effective than just surprising the reader. Carrie also discusses some common mistakes writers make in creating false suspense.

Carrie Vaughn Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times Bestselling author of a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Publishers Weekly said that "Vaughn's universe is convincing and imaginative." Kitty and The Midnight Hour, the first book in the series, has over a hundred thousand copies in print. The seventh novel in the series, Kitty's House of Horrors, was released in 2010. She's also published many short stories in various anthologies and magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and is a contributor to George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards series.

Carrie graduated from the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop in 1998 and was excited to return as an instructor. "Once I was but the student. Now, I am the master." Oh, and she's also a big Star Wars fan. But she really does have a Masters in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She credits the intensive Odyssey experience with helping her cross the great divide between unpublished and published, and with setting her firmly on the road of professional writing, with the skills she learned and contacts she made.

A lifelong science fiction fan and reader (her parents both read science fiction), Carrie worked the traditional series of day jobs for about twelve years before turning to writing full time. She survived her Air Force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado, where she lives in Boulder with her dog, Lily, and too many hobbies. Visit her website at www.carrievaughn.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Carrie Vaughn. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #35

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Carrie Vaughn was our writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2009, where she delivered a week of lectures, participated in workshopping, and worked one-on-one with students. Her experience as an Odyssey student turned bestselling writer was invaluable to students. Her first lecture of the week covered matching the right idea with the right length. In this podcast, Carrie explores the importance of being able to write pieces at all lengths, and how to distinguish a short story idea from a novel idea. She suggests that considering the reaction you want from the reader is key to understanding the appropriate length. Are you looking for a quick, sucker-punch-type reaction or a more complex, resonant reaction? Another way to find the right length is to consider the core idea of the story and how many scenes, characters, and plotlines you need to illustrate the idea. Carrie also explains how you can manipulate length, turning a novel idea into a short-story idea, if you can't come up with short ideas, or turning a short-story idea into a novel idea, if you can't come up with long ideas. She also discusses ideas for series or sagas. Carrie uses her own short story, "A Hunter's Ode to his Bait," as raw material for turning a short story into a novel. You can read her story here, if you'd like to play along.

Carrie Vaughn Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times Bestselling author of a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Publishers Weekly said that "Vaughn's universe is convincing and imaginative." Kitty and The Midnight Hour, the first book in the series, has over a hundred thousand copies in print. The seventh novel in the series, Kitty's House of Horrors, was released in 2010. She's also published many short stories in various anthologies and magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and is a contributor to George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards series.

Carrie graduated from the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop in 1998 and was excited to return as an instructor. "Once I was but the student. Now, I am the master." Oh, and she's also a big Star Wars fan. But she really does have a Masters in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She credits the intensive Odyssey experience with helping her cross the great divide between unpublished and published, and with setting her firmly on the road of professional writing, with the skills she learned and contacts she made.

A lifelong science fiction fan and reader (her parents both read science fiction), Carrie worked the traditional series of day jobs for about twelve years before turning to writing full time. She survived her Air Force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado, where she lives in Boulder with her dog, Lily, and too many hobbies. Visit her website at www.carrievaughn.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Carrie Vaughn. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #34

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Jack Ketchum was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2009, where he lectured on crafting strong openings, worked with students, and critiqued their stories. In this podcast, Jack discusses what the author needs to accomplish with the first sentence, the first paragraph, and the first page. Jack explains the importance of getting the reader emotionally involved immediately, by providing information that is intriguing and draws the reader in. He explains different strategies the author can use, such as making the reader laugh, creating questions in the reader's mind, or creating suspense. He also explains how to choose the right details for the opening. By presenting the class with a series of strong opening sentences from various stories and novels and studying what makes them intriguing, Jack reveals some of the subtle and powerful qualities of strong openings.

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 eleven novels, four of which have recently been filmed—The Lost, The Girl Next Door, Red and Offspring. 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.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Jack Ketchum. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2010 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #33

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Jeffrey A. Carver was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2009, where he lectured on Story Structure: Conflict and Plot. In this podcast, Jeffrey explains the importance of structure. Structure supplies the skeleton for your story; without it, your story becomes a jellyfish. But structure is more than the organization and skeleton. It gives your story its purpose, movement, life. Jeffrey discusses the different components of structure and how they interact with each other. He especially stresses the interaction of plot and character in the structure, and explains that to discover plot, one must discover character. He offers various techniques for creating structure, from outlining in advance to discovering and recording it as your write. He also provides a checklist to help you examine your structure after you have a draft, so you can discover weaknesses and make necessary changes.

Jeffrey A. Carver Jeffrey A. Carver is the author of sixteen science fiction novels, including Sunborn (Tor Books, November 2008). Prior to that, his most recent books were Battlestar Galactica: the Miniseries (a novelization), and Eternity's End, a grand-scale epic of conflict and mystery in the far future, which was a finalist for the Nebula Award.

His novels Neptune Crossing, Strange Attractors, and The Infinite Sea began his series known as The Chaos Chronicles, a hard science fiction series which continues with Sunborn. Science Fiction Chronicle named Neptune Crossing one of the best science fiction novels of the year, while Kirkus called Strange Attractors "dazzling, thrilling, innovative...probably Carver's best effort to date." Periodically he returns to his Star Rigger universe (Star Rigger's Way, Dragons in the Stars, and others), a favorite haunt for readers.

Carver's writing involves elements of both hard science and psychology, and is character-focused while exploring possibilities for science and technology in the future, including nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and the possibilities for travel (and both contact and conflict) among the stars. His novels and stories explore not just technological but moral, ethical, and spiritual challenges for tomorrow.

In addition to writing, Carver teaches. In 1995, he developed and hosted an educational TV series, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing—a live, interactive broadcast into middle school classrooms. Reaching into schools across the U.S., the show encouraged student writers to stretch their imaginations and learn the basic skills of storytelling and writing. Much of that teaching is now free online for aspiring writers at writesf.com. He also teaches regularly at the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf, Vermont, and at the Ultimate Science Fiction Writing Workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the fall of 2009, he taught SF writing at MIT, as well.

A native of Huron, Ohio, Carver is a graduate of Brown University, with graduate work in marine resources management at the University of Rhode Island. He has been a high school wrestler, a scuba diving instructor, a quahog diver, a UPS sorter, a technical writer and developmental editor, a private pilot, and a stay-at-home dad. He lives with his family in Arlington, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and The Authors Guild. For more information, visit his website at starrigger.net.

Several of Carver's novels (and some short stories) are available for free download as ebooks at http://www.starrigger.net/Downloads.htm.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Jeffrey A. Carver. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #32

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Patricia Bray was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2009, where she lectured about the uses of the sidekick in fiction. In this podcast, the second of two parts, Patricia explains how the sidekick's characteristics can balance those of the protagonist, or contrast with those of the protagonist. She discusses the requirements for a good sidekick, and describes how the sidekick's character arc can complement or contrast with the protagonist's character arc. She explains the difference between a sidekick/protagonist story and a story with multiple protagonists. She also lists some of the very useful purposes a sidekick can serve in a story, such as making your protagonist more believable, providing an embodiment of the protagonist's motivation, and serving as the external conscience of protagonist. She also reviews the various mistakes an author can make in creating a sidekick. Patricia discusses sidekicks in short stories as well as novels, and explains when you might want to use the sidekick's point of view. You can find part 1 of Patricia's discussion of sidekicks in Podcast #31.

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 Regency romance and epic fantasy, Patricia has had her books translated into Russian, German, Hebrew and Portuguese. She is a two-time co-chair of the Southern Tier Writer's conference, and her articles on the writer's craft have appeared in numerous publications, including Broadsheet, Nink, STARbytes, and RWA's Keys to Success: A Professional Writer's Career Handbook.

Patricia lives in upstate New York, where she combines her writing with a full-time career as an I/T professional, ensuring that she is never more than a few feet away from a keyboard. Her latest novel is The Final Sacrifice, the concluding volume in The Chronicles of Josan, which was released by Bantam Spectra in July 2008.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Patricia Bray. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #31

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In her lecture at Odyssey 2009, Patricia Bray explored the role of a sidekick in fiction. In this podcast, the first of two parts, Patricia defines a sidekick and explains the inherently unequal nature of the hero/sidekick relationship. Giving examples that illuminate the long literary tradition of sidekicks, Patricia identifies the genres that tend to have sidekicks and the differences between a protagonist's sidekick and an antagonist's sidekick. She explains why sidekicks are necessary in some stories and novels and the specific ways in which they can be used.

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 Regency romance and epic fantasy, Patricia has had her books translated into Russian, German, Hebrew and Portuguese. She is a two-time co-chair of the Southern Tier Writer's conference, and her articles on the writer's craft have appeared in numerous publications, including Broadsheet, Nink, STARbytes, and RWA's Keys to Success: A Professional Writer's Career Handbook.

Patricia lives in upstate New York, where she combines her writing with a full-time career as an I/T professional, ensuring that she is never more than a few feet away from a keyboard. Her latest novel is The Final Sacrifice, the concluding volume in The Chronicles of Josan, which was released by Bantam Spectra in July 2008.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2009 by Patricia Bray. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #30

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In her lecture at Odyssey 2004, Catherine Asaro explained how to develop a scientific "What if?" for your story. In this podcast, she covers some of the challenges of getting the science into your science fiction. Too much detail may bore readers, while insufficient detail may leave readers skeptical or confused. Catherine suggests various ways to introduce scientific exposition in your stories while keeping the reader tense and interested. Maintaining scientific accuracy may at times seem limiting to your story, but it may actually force you to be more creative and come up with exciting solutions. Science can also help you to extrapolate and figure out what your futuristic world would really be like. Catherine provides various examples and explains how to develop your novum in a scientifically accurate way, taking into consideration the consequences of that novum.

Catherine Asaro Catherine Asaro is a writer, scientist, and dancer. Praised for her ability to mix hard science fiction with character-driven stories, she has a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard. Among her many awards, she has received the Nebula for her novel The Quantum Rose and her novella "The Space-time Pool." Catherine currently has twenty-four novels out. Her most recent fantasy is The Night Bird (Luna 2008). Her latest science fiction book, Diamond Star (Baen 2009), is about a rock star in the future. The paperback of Catherine's book The Ruby Dice was also released in 2009. Her next book, Carnelians, will be out from Baen in the next year.

In April 2009, Starflight Music released the soundtrack for the book, a CD also titled Diamond Star, by the rock band Point Valid, in collaboration with Catherine. The CD presents songs from the book, with three additional works by Hayim Ani, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band. After Point Valid dispersed to college, Donald Wolcott joined the project as the pianist for Catherine's vocals in concerts and at science fiction cons.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2004 by Catherine Asaro. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #29

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In her guest lecture at the 2005 Odyssey workshop, P. D. Cacek debunked some of the alleged "rules" about writing. In this podcast, she covers a series of such "rules," explains their limitations and inaccuracies, and provides the more complex truth. For example, writers are often advised to limit the number of point-of-view characters in their novels to three. That's an arbitrary number and certainly not the best choice for every novel. While it is true that an author should think carefully about POV, and keep the number of POV characters to a minimum, the author must write what the story needs. Writers are often told to use complete sentences and correct grammar. That is not always the best option for a particular moment or scene. But the author needs to know the rules of grammar before breaking them, so that when he does break them, he does so mindfully and for good reason.

P. D. Cacek The winner of both a Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award, P. D. Cacek has written over two hundred short stories, appearing in such anthologies as 999, Joe Lansdale's Lords of the Razor, Night Visions 12, Inferno and the inaugural YA anthology of horror fiction from Scholastic Books, 666:The Sign of the Beast.

Although probably always considering herself a short story writer, Cacek has four published novels, just completed a fifth, Visitation Rites (a good old-fashioned ghost story) and has started writing plays — two so far, The Last Daughter and The Stories Teller . . . neither of which are horror.

A native Westerner, Cacek now lives in Fort Washington, PA . . . in a haunted house across from a haunted mill.

When not writing, she can often be found either with a group of costumed story-tellers called The Patient Creatures (www.creatureseast.com), or haunting local cemeteries looking for inspiration.

You can visit her web-site at www.pdcacek.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2005 by P. D. Cacek. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #28

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This is part 2 of a two-part podcast. You can find part 1 in Podcast #27. In his guest lecture at Odyssey 2003, Bruce Holland Rogers discussed narrative theory and the importance of structure. In this podcast, Bruce explains his own use of structure in flash fiction and continues his fascinating list of various structures that can work well for short stories and very well for short shorts. These include the story in which a character has an epiphany; the ethnographic story; the story that parodies a familiar short document; the story of a character interacting with another and changing direction; the story that's like a picture that can be interpreted in two ways; the traditional story that is compressed; the story of thesis, antithesis, synthesis; the ellipsis that relies on the reader's knowledge of the form, so he can fill in what's missing; the suspense story predicated upon unusual attitudes or activities that puzzle the reader; the logical progression from an absurd premise; the story in which the thing that never happens, happens this one time; and the story that subverts an expected strategy or structure. Bruce discusses the requirements and goals of these various structures and provides examples from his own work.

Bruce Holland Rogers Bruce Holland Rogers has a home base in Eugene, Oregon, the tie-dye capital of the world. His fiction is all over the literary map. Some of it is SF, some is fantasy, some is literary. He has written mysteries, experimental fiction, and work that's hard to label.

For six years, Bruce wrote a column about the spiritual and psychological challenges of full-time fiction writing for Speculations magazine. Many of those columns have been collected in a book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (an alternate selection of the Writers Digest Book Club). He is a motivational speaker and trains workers and managers in creativity and practical problem solving.

He has taught creative writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois. Bruce has also taught non-credit courses for the University of Colorado, Carroll College, the University of Wisconsin, and the private Flatiron Fiction Workshop. He makes frequent appearances at writer's conferences. He is currently a member of the permanent faculty at the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, a low-residency program that stands alone and is not affiliated with a college or university. It is the first and so far only program of its kind. Bruce offers an annual subscription to his short stories, emailing out a story to subscribers every three weeks for a mere $10. You can find out more at www.shortshortshort.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2003 by Bruce Holland Rogers. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #27

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In his guest lecture at Odyssey 2003, Bruce Holland Rogers discussed narrative theory and the importance of structure. Structure can provide a story with unity and can give an author direction. In this podcast, Bruce explains his own use of structure and provides a fascinating list of various structures that can work very well for short stories or short shorts. These include the fable or parable, the expressionistic story, the fairy tale, and the character sketch. Bruce discusses the requirements and goals of these various structures and provides examples from his own work. This is part 1 of a two-part podcast. For more structures and examples, listen to part 2 in Podcast #28.

Bruce Holland Rogers Bruce Holland Rogers has a home base in Eugene, Oregon, the tie-dye capital of the world. His fiction is all over the literary map. Some of it is SF, some is fantasy, some is literary. He has written mysteries, experimental fiction, and work that's hard to label.

For six years, Bruce wrote a column about the spiritual and psychological challenges of full-time fiction writing for Speculations magazine. Many of those columns have been collected in a book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (an alternate selection of the Writers Digest Book Club). He is a motivational speaker and trains workers and managers in creativity and practical problem solving.

He has taught creative writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois. Bruce has also taught non-credit courses for the University of Colorado, Carroll College, the University of Wisconsin, and the private Flatiron Fiction Workshop. He makes frequent appearances at writer's conferences. He is currently a member of the permanent faculty at the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, a low-residency program that stands alone and is not affiliated with a college or university. It is the first and so far only program of its kind. Bruce offers an annual subscription to his short stories, emailing out a story to subscribers every three weeks for a mere $10. You can find out more at www.shortshortshort.com.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2003 by Bruce Holland Rogers. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #26

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At Odyssey 2005, Allen M. Steele lectured on building a world's environment. In this excerpt from his lecture, Allen takes writers through the process of creating a believable, realistic world, using the setting from his "Coyote" novels as an example. He explains how to use scientific discoveries as a basis for setting, and how to use real-life locations as inspirations for your imaginary land. He talks about common problems in invented settings, such as the homogeneous world and the habitable planet that has no atmosphere-generating volcanoes. From designing the solar system to the geography of the planet to the plants and animals, Allen covers the important elements necessary to creating an entire environment. If the author does it correctly, he can create a setting that "sucks the reader's eyeballs out of his head and pulls him into story."

Allen M. Steele Allen M. Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his B.A. in Communications from New England College in Henniker, NH, and his M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. His novels and short fiction collections include Orbital Decay, Labyrinth of Night, Oceanspace, Chronospace, The Last Science Fiction Writer, and the "Coyote" series—Coyote, Coyote Rising, Coyote Frontier, and, most recently, Coyote Horizon.

His work has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in many anthologies. He was First Runner-Up for the 1990 John W. Campbell Award, and Orbital Decay won the 1990 Locus Award for Best First Novel. He's won two Hugo Awards ('96, '97), two Locus Awards, four Asimov's Readers Awards, the Analog AnLab Award, the 1996 Science Fiction Weekly Reader Appreciation Award, and 1998 Science Fiction Chronicle Readers Award as well as the 1993 Donald A. Wollheim Award and the 2002 Phoenix Award. Steele serves on the Board of Advisors for the Space Frontier Foundation.

He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife Linda and their two dogs.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2005 by Allen M. Steele. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #25

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In their guest lecture at Odyssey 2008, Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman discussed the many differences between writing a novel and writing a short story. In this podcast, Delia and Ellen explore how the opening of a novel differs from the opening of a short story. What must the beginning of a novel do, what can it do, and how much space does it have to do these things? Ellen and Delia list the elements that should usually be established in the opening chapter. They also explain that many novelists don't know the right opening for their novel until they reach the end. Thus, it's very important to keep pushing ahead, rather than to get bogged down rewriting the opening chapters. Ellen and Delia discuss the difficulties of getting through a first draft and offer valuable advice on how to make it to the end. They also explore some of the things that short stories can't do and novels can.

Delia Sherman Delia Sherman was born in Tokyo, Japan, and brought up in New York City. She spent much of her early life at one end of a classroom or another, at Brown University where she earned a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies in 1981 and at Boston University and Northeastern, where she taught Freshman Composition and Fantasy. Her first novel, Through a Brazen Mirror (Ace, 1989), was an Ace Fantasy Special. In 1990, she was nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer. Her second novel, The Porcelain Dove (Dutton, 1993; Plume, 1994), won the Mythopoeic Award. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. She made her debut in the world of children's literature with short stories in The Green Man and Faery Reel (edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow) and Firebirds (Viking, 2003). Her first novel for children is the urban fantasy Changeling (Viking, 2006), with sequel The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen due out in 2009.

Delia has been a judge for the Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Novel and the World Fantasy Award, served on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and is a founding member of the Interstitial Arts Foundation.

As an editor of books and anthologies, Delia's continuing quest is to get more of the kind of fantasy she likes out to readers. She has been a contributing editor for Tor Books and has co-edited, with Ellen Kushner and Don Keller, the fantasy anthology The Horns of Elfland (Roc) as well as the Bordertown punk-elf anthology The Essential Bordertown with Terri Windling. She has edited Interficitons: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing (Small Beer Press, 2007) with Theodora Goss and Interfictions 2 (Small Beer Press, 2009) with Christopher Barzak. She teaches SF and Fantasy writing whenever she can at Odyssey, Clarion, and workshops at regional and national science fiction conventions.

Delia lives with fellow author and fantasist Ellen Kushner in a rambling apartment in New York City. She is a social rather than a solitary writer and can work anywhere, which is a good thing because she loves to travel, and if she couldn't write on airplanes, she'd never get anything done.

Ellen Kushner Author, performer and radio personality Ellen Kushner hosts and writes the national public radio series Sound & Spirit. Her newest novel, The Privilege of the Sword, won the 2007 Locus Award for Best Fantasy novel, and was nominated for the Nebula and the World Fantasy Awards, as well as being a Tiptree Honor Book. Her first novel, Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners, was hailed as the progenitor of the "Mannerpunk" school of fantasy. Her second novel, Thomas the Rhymer, won both the 1991 World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award. With Delia Sherman she co-wrote The Fall of the Kings. Her short fiction has appeared in The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, and, most recently, in Coyote Road and Troll's Eye View.

Her spoken word performances include The Golden Dreydl (with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, on Rykodisc CD), which was published as a children's book by Charlesbridge in 2007 and appeared as a play ("The Klezmer Nutcracker") at New York's Vital Theatre in 2008.

She has also taught at the Clarion Workshop, the Cape Cod Writers' Workshop, and the American Book Center in Amsterdam. She is a founding member of the Interstitial Arts Foundation. She lives in New York City with Delia Sherman and a recently-unpacked suitcase or two.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2008 by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #24

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In her guest lecture at Odyssey 2008, literary agent Jenny Rappaport provided so much useful information that we've chosen to make a second excerpt from her talk available as another podcast (for her first excerpt, see Podcast #23). In this podcast, Jenny explains how to write a strong query letter. Jenny first discusses what a query letter shouldn't do and what information shouldn't be included. You can find an example of what Jenny considers a bad query letter on her blog, here: http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/huh-or-plot-does-not-make-sense.html (you need to scroll down). Jenny explains the importance of a strong hook to open a query letter and reads examples of weak hooks and strong hooks. The query letter then needs to establish the novel's conflict and get the reader engaged with the main character and the plot. Jenny discusses how to describe your novel--what makes a middle grade book, a young adult book, or an adult book--and whether to compare your book to other books.

Jenny Rappaport Jenny Rappaport is the owner of The Rappaport Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. She has previously worked at Folio Literary Management and the L. Perkins Agency. Jenny attended Carnegie Mellon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She is a 2002 graduate of Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp. Her nonfiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her microfiction in Thaumatrope. She is currently working on a novel in her free time.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2008 by Jenny Rappaport. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




PODCAST #23

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In her guest lecture at Odyssey 2008, Jenny Rappaport gave her assessment of the publishing industry and explained how an author can break into publishing, navigate the changing marketplace, and survive. In this podcast, Jenny explains step-by-step how to get an agent: how to write a strong synopsis; the best strategy for sending queries to agents; how to get your work into the hands of as many agents at once as possible. She also discusses what to do when an agent says she wants to represent you: what to look for in a representation agreement, what fees you should agree to, and how to form a positive relationship with your agent. How important it is to get an agent? What can an agent do for you, and what can't an agent do? Jenny describes the various publishers and imprints currently buying fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She also discusses how well the various genres are selling, the cyclical nature of genres, and how the genre of a work influences a publisher's decision whether or not to publish that work.

Jenny Rappaport Jenny Rappaport is the owner of The Rappaport Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. She has previously worked at Folio Literary Management and the L. Perkins Agency. Jenny attended Carnegie Mellon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She is a 2002 graduate of Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp. Her nonfiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her microfiction in Thaumatrope. She is currently working on a novel in her free time.

The text of this recording is copyright (c) 2008 by Jenny Rappaport. The sound recording is copyright (p) 2009 by Odyssey Writing Workshops.




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