Assignment #1: Intro to Novel Writing

… finally getting around to writing that novel

This is the first assignment in the course INTRODUCTION TO NOVEL WRITING offered by The Writer’s Workshop • The class is taught by Jana Harris • The text used for this class is The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray 
 • October 21, 2020 Assignment 1

ASSIGNMENT 1: Write a 500-word profile about yourself. I’d like to know who you are and how you express yourself in prose.

In 1988, I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in English Literature. For a fifth year, I enrolled in creative writing classes where I wrote a short story about dump dogs. The joy of writing this story propelled my vocation as a waitress ever onward. For a decade I attended a plethora of writing classes. I began at the UW Extension in the screenwriting program and rolled into their creative writing series. My teachers included Stewart Stern, Scott Driscoll, and David Downing. I attended ongoing classes with Pricilla Long, Rebecca Brown, and Brenda Peterson. The latter gave me the opportunity to do research for author Linda Hogan. I assisted in the editing and wrote an essay for their anthology. “Radioactive Tumbleweeds” appeared in the The Sweet Breathing of Plants originally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. During this time, I attended many of the mainstays of the 1990s Seattle writing community: Hugo House; PNWC; Centrum; and the timed writing sessions organized by Robert Ray at various Seattle cafes.

In 2001, I moved to Buffalo, NY on a whim. Buffalo is where I was born and where my extended family lives. My brother opened a local tavern where I assisted as manager and barkeep. During this time, I expanded my writing opportunities by learning how to code websites. I acquired more digital skills including photography and editing images for websites, e-marketing and social media. (see my latest website).

I am a stay at home mom. About that …

I met my husband in Buffalo. We reassembled the house he had stripped down to studs. I endured many miscarriages until I secured one biological son who is 14 and adopted another son, now age 8.

During these years as a stay at home mom, I have primarily written for blogs, some personal essays and an occasional homily for my church.  A sample of my published work along with the publishing credits are on my blog: Talking Iguana.

While living in Seattle, I started a novel in Pricilla Long’s class. It is a fictionalized version of my tween years. My father is a retired special ed. teacher. In the seventies, he established a school in the Trinity mountains and worked primarily with troubled teens. As a template for my novel, I used the fairytale of “The Three Sisters” which is one part Grimms, one part Onieda Legend, and one part Petticoat Junction (a 60s sitcom). The novel is a coming of age story similar to the ones I grew up reading: The Outsiders, Lord of the Flies, and The Pigman where teenage issues drive the plot and narrative.

Since my youngest son was diagnosed with ADHD, I have been drawn more and more into writing this novel. Many of the characters arrive at the fictional school because of their special needs. My hope is to write a young adult novel which can hit its literary marks, be driven by its characters, and offer a great read.

This class is funded by a generous endowment to my writing by my mom. She also edited the final draft of this assignment. She continues evermore to raise me up.

Share This Story

about author

Lesa Quale Ferguson

Writer + Picture Taker ^ Image-Maker & Design Web-ber #Ma

I don't have a newsletter YET!

I will be inspired to write one if I get enough email addresses.

talking iguana logo

Talk to Me!

Wanna talk to the Talking Iguana? Email.