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The Never-Ending Odyssey

 

Please note: Only graduates of the Odyssey Writing Workshop are eligible to be considered for this program.



A Message from Jeanne Cavelos, Director:

 
 

The Never-Ending Odyssey (TNEO) is an invitation-only, eight-day workshop exclusively for Odyssey graduates. Started in 1998, this unique program allows writing professionals and near-professionals with the shared background of Odyssey to work together to improve their skills. As we all know, the journey to become the best writers we can be is a lifelong one. If we don't constantly challenge ourselves to learn new techniques, to gain deeper insight into the elements that give fiction power, to push beyond what we have done before, then our work stagnates and dies. TNEO is designed to help writers expand and deepen their skills.

As more and more Odyssey graduates build successful writing careers for themselves, the level of writing, discourse, and critiquing at TNEO continues to grow more advanced. Your fellow graduates truly form a great resource for you.

As director, I oversee all aspects of the workshop, including the schedule, curriculum, activities, organization, and facilities.

MAIN COMPONENTS:

  • four-hour workshopping sessions held in the mornings

  • a Master Class on a particular element of fiction held in the afternoons. Each year, we'll focus on a different element, such as plot, point of view, characterization, and so on. Odyssey graduates will provide advanced, graduate-level lectures on various aspects of this element, along with exercises and activities

  • a bonus lecture by me

  • daily writing hours

  • read-aloud sessions

  • a brainstorming session, novel synopsis critique session, and Barnes & Noble story slam

  • on several evenings, the TNEO Salon Fantastique will be open for writing discussions, story dissections, and relaxing

I participate in the workshop alongside you rather than teaching it. Instead, I work closely with an Odyssey graduate who serves as moderator.

Erica Hildebrand, the TNEO Resident Supervisor, provides logistical support and serves as general problem-solver.

TNEO is a week of hard work that embodies what Odyssey is all about: the lifelong journey toward becoming the best writer you can be. You can come together with your peers in fellowship to discuss writing, to learn, to share insights, to commiserate, to encourage, to laugh, and to improve

SCHEDULE:

Dates: TNEO is generally held the last full week in July, starting on a Friday (the final day of Odyssey) and continuing for eight days until the next Saturday.

Arrival: Check-in usually begins around 3 PM Friday. All participants must arrive by 7:30 PM for the joint Odyssey/TNEO mixer.

Departure: Attendees should plan to leave by 2 PM Saturday afternoon.

EXPECTATIONS:

TNEO participants are expected to attend all workshopping sessions and master-class sessions. If you will be unable to attend some sessions, you must discuss this with the moderator before enrolling.

You are also expected to provide professional-level written and verbal critiques on all submissions of those in your group. Written critiques should be more advanced, sophisticated, and in-depth than those you did at Odyssey. Concrete, specific observations and extensive line edits are expected on every work. Feedback should be truthful and helpful.

SUBMISSIONS:

We usually split participants into three critique groups: the Short Story Group, the Regular Novel Group, and the Extended Novel Group. The Short Story Group and Regular Novel Group each contain 7-14 people, and the Extended Novel Group contains 4-8 people.

Short Story Group & Regular Novel Group: Each participant may submit three stories or novel excerpts. The total length of all three submissions cannot exceed 15,000 words.

Extended Novel Group: Each participant may submit three novel excerpts. The total length of your first two submissions cannot exceed 30,000 words. For your third submission, you may submit the remainder of your novel, up to a length of 80,000 words.

Manuscripts must be turned in before TNEO begins, because participants need to critique some, if not all, of the submissions ahead of time. We will be workshopping three or four submissions per day (as opposed to two on most days at Odyssey), so if you want to eat or sleep during TNEO, you need to get most of your critiquing done in advance. Most TNEO participants complete all of their critiquing ahead of time and have a much more enjoyable and useful week because of that.

Failure to meet one of the submission deadlines means a participant foregoes the opportunity to have one story/novel excerpt critiqued. All deadlines will be firmly enforced. Deadlines are usually around these dates:

  • First submission due: April 12

  • Second submission due: May 12

  • Third submission due: June 10

All attendees are required to submit at least one piece. Submissions should not be first drafts; they should be as strong as you can make them on your own, so you can profit the most from the feedback you receive. So get writing! [Insert whip crack here. :) ]

All TNEO participants have the option of submitting, in addition, a novel synopsis. Novelists are strongly encouraged to do so, since the Novel Synopsis Critique Session should provide them important insights that may not be possible in the regular critique sessions. The synopsis is due MAY 12 and must be under 2,000 words.

HOUSING AND FACILITIES:

TNEO is held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, one of the top liberal arts colleges in New England, which has a beautiful campus. Workshopping sessions and lectures are held in air-conditioned classrooms, and we have access to the air-conditioned computer lab, library, cafeteria, and coffee shop. Food can be purchased on an item-by-item basis, just as at Odyssey.

You should check with the moderator for information on housing, since it may vary from year to year. Usually, TNEO participants are housed in two-bedroom apartments on campus at Benedict Court. Benedict Court is made up of buildings #34-38 on the campus map. They are not air conditioned, but they have 1 1/2 baths, an eat-in kitchen with stove and oven, a living room, and high-speed Internet connections. Each participant will receive a linen package that includes sheets, a pillow, pillowcase, blanket, hand towel, and bath towel.

For those who prefer more luxurious (and air-conditioned) accommodations, we reserve a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn & Suites. TNEO participants should ask for the special Odyssey discounted rate.

If you plan to arrive at TNEO a day before the workshop begins or stay a day after, you may stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites at the special rate.

Also, if you have someone dropping you off or picking you up, that guest may stay at the hotel at the discounted rate. As in previous years, no guests are allowed to stay in the college housing.

If you have any questions regarding Saint Anselm College, please contact the moderator or me, not the college.

ENROLLMENT:

If you are interested in attending and you have not received an invitation from me, or you have lost your invitation, you may contact me for more information. The enrollment deadline is usually around MARCH 28.

Shortly after the enrollment deadline, you'll be informed whether you will be in a single or double room. We'll do our best to accommodate your requests.

COSTS:

Unlike Odyssey, which charges separate fees for the workshop and housing, TNEO combines these into a single fee. In addition, the TNEO fee includes our opening night dinner and our closing night dinner. The costs change each year, but as an example, the costs in 2011 were as follows:

  • $660 for a double room

  • $520 for a single room

  • $380 if you plan to live off-campus

Once the moderator informs you whether you'll be in a single or double room, you should submit payment. Checks should be made out to Odyssey and sent to P.O. Box 75, Mont Vernon, NH 03057 by APRIL 12.

CONCLUSION:

Attending TNEO is a great way to gain new insights and perspectives on your writing, to build new momentum, and to make some great friendships. To get the most out of TNEO, you need to begin planning--and writing--now. Those deadlines aren't far away.

I hope to be seeing you and reading your latest work this summer!

COMMENTS FROM TNEO PARTICIPANTS:

From the 2014 Participants

"TNEO is like a family reunion where all your relatives are brilliant, strange, and in most cases--a little twisted. It's like coming home to a group of people who know why you want so badly to write that perfect scene or get that character arc to reveal a bit more. And not only do they understand, they help make your dreams come true--help you figure out those murky characters, tie in floating plot points and so much more. TNEO is a wonderful community of writers who've helped me stay in touch with the thing I love to do--write."
--Olivia Do

"TNEO was like taking my sick book to the book doctor. I now have the hope and medicine to make my book well."
--Natalie Sage

"It continues to surprise me that I can show up at TNEO and be wholly honest about the writing problems I'm having, and can get help from people genuinely interested in improving their own and each other's writing. Jeanne's way of setting up the workshop allows for us to be constructive + productive. There is no posturing and no intimidation. It is a completely safe space, and moreso than any other workshop I have ever been a part of. Moreover, I know that it will always be like that--at every Odyssey & every TNEO. It's just the nature of this workshop."
--Samantha Weiss

"TNEO was another great experience--my fifth one. Lots of great critiques and feedback, lots of 'graduate' classes, and lots of other great activities."
--Larry Hodges

"Fantastic master class this year and wonderful insights."
--Rita Oakes

"TNEO was a great writing experience, a coming together of passionate genre writers to share ideas and improve each other's work. Come and re-immerse yourself in the exhausting and exhilarating Odyssey whirlwind for one more week . . .!"
--Chris Kelworth

"TNEO keeps the writing process vital. Unlike other skills, writing requires continual revelation and renewal. Writers need this challenging atmosphere to maintain their skill, their vitality and their relevance in a rapidly changing world."
--Gerald Warfield

"I've had a story, an important story, locked inside. This year I discovered what it is and learned how to tell it (I hope)."
--Rich Bradford

"What I love about TNEO is joining like-minded and creative people for a week of adventure in learning. The other aspect I love is the amazing sense of community and belonging. TNEO is a bit like going home."
--Holly Stoj

From Participants of TNEO 2013 and earlier TNEOs

"All Odyssey graduates who went away with a sense of purpose and focus will benefit from the wonderful atmosphere of TNEO. It brings renewal and inspiration to speak and share with other authors who have had the common experience of Odyssey.

"Reboot, renew, refocus--TNEO inspires."
--Vern James

"Who can sleep with spot-on feedback like this?"
--Arthur "Buck" Dorrance

"The subtext master class at TNEO 2013 was exactly what I needed to fix and improve the novel I workshopped this year. My group helped me brainstorm some wonderful ideas and variations to make the causal chain stronger and my protagonist more sympathetic."
--Colleen Robbins

"The critiques are great, the master classes are great, the numerous other activities are great, and you get to spend nine days immersed in writing with other writers. I can't recommend it enough."
--Larry Hodges

"I earned a B.A. in English from one of the top universities in America and have attended numerous workshops and graduate courses over the years. Odyssey and TNEO did a better job of teaching story craft and writing fundamentals than any of my previous experiences. If you want to continue honing your craft, extend your networking in the writing community and develop life-long writerly friendships then TNEO will be a worthwhile investment in time, energy and money."
--Robert Sojka

"My brain has been battered, bludgeoned and jellified by sheer awesome."
--Robert Pickering

"TNEO is something I look forward to all year. This was my sixth TNEO, and the best workshop so far. The St. Anselm campus is a perfect setting for this workshop. I look forward to the day that I will be able to move to New Hampshire after I retire. Jeanne is a wonderful and caring person. St. Anselm is fortunate indeed to have her experience and knowledge."
--David Stier

"TNEO allows graduates to return for a 'refresher' and reconnect with the Odyssey community."
--Adria Laycraft

"The sleep deprivation is totally worth the incredible feedback, comments, + critiques, and the knowledge acquired."
--Calie Voorhis

"If you love Odyssey & found the process of lectures & critique helpful, you're going to love TNEO just as much. The TNEO master class provides a community of amazing writers (Jeanne included) who work together, teach each other, and provide so much inspiration and ideas that you will go home with a full mind."
--Olivia Do

"The subtext master class was revelatory. I was able to see and address deficiencies in my writing, not just in the story submitted for critique, but in my body of work."
--Rita Oakes

"Delve deeper into the mysteries of writing. Sometimes I felt like I was learning secret weapons! Terrific extension of the Odyssey experience!"
--Gerald Warfield

"I have met the enemy and he needs more subtext."
--Robert Cutchin

"Attending TNEO helped strengthen my writing in so many ways. I identified problems and overcame them. I met new friends. I would recommend it without a doubt."
--Andrew J. Cooper

"This year's TNEO was charged with Odfellows wanting to learn, pitching in and getting it done! Can't wait to apply what I've learned."
--Ed Heiland

"I need to be around writers, and TNEO allows me to do just that."
--P. Matthew Kimmel

"You know it's a good writer's workshop when you go home exhausted and exhilarated. You know it's a great one when you can't wait to get to the keyboard--not only to create new words, but to email new friends."
--Calie Voorhis

"I learned new techniques, found where my writing worked well (and where it didn't) and left more energized than I have been all year."
--Richard Bradford

"I came here hoping for inspiration to fan the embers of creativity that Odyssey kindled last year. I leave here ablaze."
--Tanith Korravai

"There is something about critical mass. Getting this number of writers together who know what they are doing is exhilarating!"
--Gerald Warfield

"I've done a lot of workshops. TNEO is one of the very best--writers lifting up writers. It's totally positive and totally great."
--Bob Sojka

"I thought nothing could do more for my writing than Odyssey did.  I don't know if TNEO did more, but it definitely did new.  So much helpful brainstorming, so much re-solidifying of forgotten Odyssey principles.  So much drive to write write write.  This week has been exactly what the wizard ordered!"
--Meira Marom

"TNEO gives some of the structure a writer's life often lacks: deadlines, consequences for not finishing, and great, well-trained readers to critique your fiction."
--Eileen Wiedbrauk

"Never has sleep deprivation been more fun!"
--Arthur "Buck" Dorrance

"If it hadn't been for TNEO, I would continue to work on an unpublishable novel. Here I shaped it into something that works."
--P. Matthew Kimmel

"TNEO is a great refresher not just for my writing, but for my life.  The lessons we learn here--taught patiently by Jeanne and by our colleagues--apply to all facets of a writing career.  I enjoy the chance to learn and teach in a supportive atmosphere along with the top-notch graduates of Odyssey."
--Ellen Denham

"TNEO is a master class available only to graduates of Odyssey, an experience enhanced by one's background and by anticipation of a future populated with the excellent writers who have become part of you at TNEO."
--Gerald Warfield

"An invaluable resource for Odyssey alumni.  TNEO will provide you with the expertise, camaraderie, and painful epiphany you need to continue on your artistic journey."
--Hannah Strom-Martin

"TNEO showed me what kind of writer I might become and helped set me back on that path."
--Rich Bradford

"TNEO is an invaluable resource.  A place where committed writers can hone their skills and make new friends.  The college atmosphere of Saint Anselm is an island of tranquility--perfect for this very rewarding time.  I look forward to TNEO.  Always!"
--Dave Stier

"This was my first TNEO.  I came to get feedback, energize my writing, and meet new Odfellows.  I got everything I'd hoped for, and more.  There's no doubt that TNEO will be part of my future strategy to keep myself motivated and growing as a writer.  I am, for the first time in many years of post-academic life, an enthusiastic alumna.  Rah! Rah! Sis-boom-bah!"
--Lorraine Heisler

"TNEO gets better every year, and I had numerous light-bulb moments this go round.  It really is a great way to get re-energized and tackle deeper writing issues."
--Rita Oakes

"TNEO provided me with the deadlines I needed, and perspective on the stories I couldn't figure out how to fix.  Collectively, the Odyssey alumni community has tremendous knowledge and can be a powerful resource, especially in such a constructive setting."
--Samantha Weiss

"Faster paced and more in-depth than Odyssey, my first TNEO this year was extremely valuable.  It built on what I had learned at Odyssey and allowed me to recognize the progress I had made, as well as sparking story ideas."
--Colleen H. Robbins

 "As a full-time teacher, it's tough for me to stick to a steady writing schedule.  Each summer, TNEO offers me the joy of reconnecting to my writing.  I review what I've written during the year, sharpen my editing skills with critiques, and develop the momentum to write again during the long fall, winter, and spring months when I am bogged down with days of parent/teacher conferences and nights of grading papers and planning lessons.  The fellowship with TNEOers encourages me to keep writing, and their work inspires me to do my best.  TNEO is a great way to continue your Odyssey experience for far less than the cost of a good vacation.  Try it!"
--Jim Hall


"I went to TNEO expecting a refresher course in some things I need to be reminded of and a kick in the butt to get me inspired to do more writing. I got all that, and so much more that I'm afraid I'm addicted. I didn't think anything could top Odyssey. I was wrong! In the short space of a week, I believe I made progress as a writer, learning to pay attention to technical issues I hadn't considered before and getting great feedback from others to help me fix things in my novelette that needed fixing. I became a smarter critiquer, partially due to the fact that we got the manuscripts ahead of time and I could read something, sleep on it, and really consider why something did or did not work for me.

"Because of everything I learned at Odyssey last summer, I came into this workshop at a significantly higher level as a writer. This allowed me to take advantage of new ideas and techniques beyond what I would have been able to do last summer. I haven't done as much writing as I would have liked since Odyssey, but I was relieved to find that the lessons I learned still stuck, and I wasn't making many of the same old mistakes. Now my attention has been called to lots more mistakes I didn't even realize I was making, so next year I'll be even better.

"The people were wonderful and I enjoyed getting to meet Odfellows from different years. Many participants gave lectures or plot dissections which helped me consider different ways to approach plot. I gave a lecture on Christopher Booker's The Seven Basic Plots which forced me to go through the long book in greater detail than I had before. Yes, I learned things I hadn't on the first read, well, skim, of the book.

"In summary, TNEO is a wonderful thing and I would have been insane to miss it."
--Ellen Denham

"TNEO provides me with a yearly focus on my work.  It becomes a goal to write for and provides an audience for my precious but unfinished work.  The atmosphere during the workshop is rigidly professional, but also very kind and helpful.  I look forward to it all year."
--David Lowrey

"I found the material presented in the afternoon lectures to be extremely helpful in a very immediate way with my writing. Most of the information covered new ground, even when based on books that I've already read. I left TNEO feeling like I knew more than when I'd come. I also felt renewed in my desire to write well, and inspired to work harder when I got home. In fact, the first thing I did when I got home was write out my TNEO goals and then create a one-year plan to achieve them.

"The caliber of critiques from Odfellows far exceeds those that I've received in any other critique situation. The short story critiques were thorough, honest, but always constructive. My stories are guaranteed to be better as a direct result of the feedback at TNEO.

"I always get more out of TNEO than I hoped for.  I learn new skills, gain confidence that I'm making progress, and make new friends.  One of the best things about Odyssey is that TNEO becomes available."
--Maggie Della Rocca

"The brilliance of TNEO is that it's a post-graduate, peer-driven experience.  We benefit from the process in ways we'd never have expected.  We receive insights from the most unsuspected sources. All we have to do is be receptive, and not ego-driven." 
--Larry Taylor

"As a full-time management consultant, I rarely have the time to write as much as I'd like.  Since I attended Odyssey, my interest in transitioning to a writing career has never wavered, but I've recognized the timing for such a move may not be there for me now.  Still, I've been working in the spare time I can find on two fantasy novels, and TNEO offered me the opportunity to re-connect with other Odfellows while getting practical and helpful feedback on what I have written.  Where other writing workshops just wouldn't be possible because of the time involved, the week-long TNEO is something that even a busy professional can schedule.  The week will be every bit as involving and challenging as you remember Odyssey to be, but it has provided me with the lift I needed to revise and improve my work.  If you've been thinking about returing to TNEO after a several-year hiatus like me, I encourage you to join us next time. You'll be glad you did!"
--Thompson Parker

"And the beat goes on.  TNEO picks up where Odyssey left off: learning through lectures, critiques, writing sessions, and discussions.  The master class lectures build upon Odyssey's foundation.  The critiques are stronger because everyone is more experienced and can complete them before TNEO.  It's energizing and informative to talk about writing with others who share your passion.  For me, attending next year is a no-brainer."
 --Dave Hendrickson

"The brainstorming session at TNEO 2008 provided me with my first short story publication."
--Dave Stier

"Hardcore Odfellows come to TNEO.  For short story work in particular I always know I'll receive valuable critical feedback from stern constructive eyes, and the special alchemy of these dedicated Odyssey grads is always revitalizing."
--Erin Hoffman

"TNEO is Odyssey's grad school.  Come in with your stories, get feedback, bounce around ideas.  Go home renewed and ready to keep writing."
--Ronya F. McCool

"If you need a workshop to focus your efforts and give your goals immediacy, TNEO can do the trick.  You'll get critical feedback and learn more about story through critiques than you might realize."
--Jason S. Ridler

"TNEO is a vehicle for catapulting your writing to that next level, where focus is paramount to any eventual successes."
--Ed Heiland

"I haven't written in some time, and TNEO was a great way to get me back into it.  The critiques were first class."
--Jeff Lyman

"TNEO is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other writers while expanding your repertory of writing tools and receiving the same professional level of critiques that made Odyssey so valuable.  The best part of TNEO is the camaraderie--those extra conversations and connections you can make with other writers in your genre."
--Victoria Witt

"I love coming to TNEO.  It's a great way to gain high-level feedback and insights on my novel, and to mesh with other writers.  It's also a wonderful break from real life!"
--Abby Goldsmith

"The opportunity to workshop a substantial chunk if not an entire novel, was an overwhelmingly positive experience.  The level of detailed feedback and opportunities to discuss problematic areas and brainstorm solutions is like nothing else."
--Rita Oakes

"I liken Odyssey to a journey of discovery through writer's hell, not for the timid or uninspired would-be author.  TNEO is also a journey of discovery, but through heck, accompanied by a fellowship of writers and friends that make the trip one of camaraderie and personal growth as a writer.  I've been to six and plan to return."
--Robert Cutchin

"I come to TNEO for the community as well as the critiques.  It is amazing and gratifying to see people progressing as writers from year to year.  I feel buoyed up by their support."
--Michael J. DeLuca

"To be surrounded by so many talented and committed writers, all trying to help each other improve their craft, is an experience I'll never forget.  And one I eagerly hope to repeat."
--Peter Simonson

"Not having been an English major, Odyssey gave me the fundamentals to start putting the pieces of my writing together to get it to a professional level.  However, post-Odyssey life has a way of interfering in your progress and, despite having notes to reference, it's hard to keep learning and growing your writing skills and career.  For me, this TNEO revitalized my drive . . . and I am leaving one week later with a plan and a set of practical tools that are going to keep me writing and help me hone my skills.  I was incredibly impressed with the talent, intellect, and passion of my fellow Odfellows.  The critical and helpful feedback has given me new perspective into my own stories and prose--and I'm never going to be able to look at the flaws in my writing the same way again.  On Monday I wasn't able to see that my protagonist had no goal--he was a pawn.  By Friday, it became so obvious I had to laugh at myself.  I feel like this TNEO has given me a real chance to turn my stories into a realistic writing career."
--Joseph Berwanger

"I came expecting camaraderie and critiques and found in addition professional-level master classes and inspiration."
--Scott T. Barnes

"TNEO was a wonderful chance to recharge the writing batteries, just being around so much energy and talent.  The fact that folks helped fix my writing makes it even sweeter."
--Jeff Lyman

 





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