In a discussion on Goodreads, author Susan Shell Winston asked if I'd started writing my epic science fiction series before attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop, and if the workshop changed my ideas about it.
Great question! Yes. I wrote the original drafts of Book 1 and Book 2 before I'd ever heard of Odyssey, and before I learned proper grammar. I just wanted to tell a good story. Despite excited beta reader reactions, my amateur manuscript gathered a solid wall of rejections from agents and publishers. So I went to Odyssey in hopes of networking enough to get my manuscript read. Plus, I was a fan of that year's writer in residence, George R.R. Martin.
During Odyssey, I learned so much, I added two new goals. I would: a) scrap those novel drafts and do a complete rewrite from scratch, and b) hone my short story craft and aim for at least one pro sale, since that credit might catch a literary agent's attention.
It took a few years, but I've accomplished both those goals. Sadly, I'm still working towards my original goal of getting a literary agent or major publisher to read the manuscript of Book 1--the rewritten 2x version. This ongoing quest has led me to co-found novelist groups, complete additional novels in my series, and gain a lot more practice at storytelling and writing. At this point in my life, I feel capable of either accomplishing what I set out to do, or indie publishing a complete six-book series that will appeal to a broad range of readers.