If you write speculative fiction and you've thought about applying to Odyssey but are on the fence: do it.
It's worth it.
The application deadline is April 8 (that's a receive by date!). I waffled a lot while thinking about applying. First there was the fee to apply, which made me wonder if it was a scam -- it's not, if you're willing to take my word on it, but it is a means of cutting back on the number of applicants so that this very small operation isn't overwhelmed with aps to read. I also kept thinking I'd apply next year, when I was done with my MFA and had time to write and finish a speculative story. The speculative short story idea dropped into my lap accidentally (turns out I couldn't keep my genre from showing at workshop like I thought I could) and I got angry enough to apply (more on that story on that here), and the experience was wonderful. I'm so excited I didn't put it off til next year which we all know can indefinitely become next year.
This workshop is not about dissection. It does not open up your story like a frog in biology class, then walk away with the stomach gaping and the liver pinned to a board. This workshop is about surgery. It identifies the cancerous masses in your story and removes them, closes up, then starts the patient on a course of follow-up treatments. If you're not cool with someone discussing ways to fix (i.e. change) or possibly re-write your story then maybe you shouldn't apply. I've posted an entire page on my experience and assessment with the workshop.
My neighbors, however, are not gaga over the chance to learn story structure and resolve narrative weaknesses. They are batshit crazy over St. Patrick's day, Guinness, and cheap beer -- green or otherwise.
At Western Michigan University, the students take their drinking holidays very seriously.
Starting at noon when I opened my windows today, the noise and the clad-in-green-tee-shirt foot traffic has steadily increased. The party attitude would be present regardless of the weather, but the fact that the temp has broken sixty degrees for the first time in weeks helps a lot.
I'd say that it's a great time to gather real world dialog without leaving my apartment, but the dialog mostly sounds like:
Dude: I'm gonna get piss-ass wasted.So maybe not all that useful.
Girl: I've gotta be at work at five.
Dude: What? Why? Call in drunk.
I will not be going anywhere. I will be holed up inside, tolerating the noise and not getting on the road with any of them. Previous observation of antics in this neighborhood leads me to believe that by 9:30 PM the fights in the parking lot will start, yelling and/or fist fights, (usually they begin around 2:00 AM) and by 10:30 or 11:00 things will be quiet again -- not even 21 year-olds can sustain 12+ hours of intoxication and partying.
And finally some absolutely fabulous geekery and British humor. Love.