What is the title of your class?
What’s one thing you hope your students will take away from the class?
I hope they’ll take away a first draft of a complete novel, but if not, I expect they will have a clear map (not necessarily an outline!) for how to proceed, as well as some energy and excitement about the adventure ahead.
What sorts of writers will you be reading/assigning in class? Why?
I encourage students to find their own role model since I expect to have writers working in many different genres. Besides, it would be really crazy to expect them all to read the same novel at the same time they are writing a novel within only one month.
Can your students connect with you on social media? If so, how?
Are any of your works online and available to the public?
You can find some articles about writing and writers on my website. You can also hear me reading from the introduction to my book-in-progress, My Year in Flowers, here. A longer recording of one of the essays in that book, “Portraits of Plants,” is available as a podcast from Jack Straw. You can buy a few of my books online: Slow Time by Waverly Fitzgerald, a nonfiction book about natural time, and four humorous mysteries (the first is Dial C for Chihuahua) under the name Waverly Curtis.
What’s your teaching philosophy?
I believe you learn by doing, so my goal is to have my students write as much as possible. It’s good to make mistakes, which is one reason writing a novel in one month, especially your first novel, is a brilliant idea! I try to set up a structure and give assignments that will allow writers to pursue topics they’re passionate about with enthusiasm and permission.
What advice do you have about getting into the habit of writing regularly?
Externally imposed deadlines. Another reason I love NaNoWriMo. And the Hugo House fundraiser 30/30. Also contests, collaborations, journals that only accept submissions once or twice a year, reading events with other authors, grant and residency applications, writing groups, etc.
What are you working on right now? Where did the idea come from?
Finishing up the fifth in a series of humorous mysteries featuring a talking Chihuahua. The idea came from my friend Curt Colbert (who I write with under the pen name Waverly Curtis) and my daughter’s bigger-than-life chihuahua, Pepe. When I’m not writing novels, under a deadline imposed by our publisher, I’m revising the essays in my nonfiction book, My Year in Flowers.
What’s your favorite word in the English vocabulary?
It’s different every day. Today I will nominate “insinuate.” It practically creeps under your skin when you say it.
Let’s talk writing inspiration—what’s the No. 1 thing that drives you to write?