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Q&A with novelist and JB teaching artist Nishant Batsha

Love the Ideas That Appear Along the Way: Q&A with Nishant Batsha

If you’ve resolved to get your story idea on the page this year, novelist & teaching artist Nishant Batsha is here to help! Next week, Nishant leads writers in How To Tell Your Story, a three-session virtual writing workshop where you will learn best practices for getting your story from idea to page, then workshop your stories in a supportive learning environment.

How and when in the writing process do you decide on the genre or form of a story?

Writers like to speak of the craft of writing by taking metaphors from craftwork and grafting them into the act of teaching writing. I’ve been a hobbyist woodworker, though raising two children under three has kept me away from my workbench for the past few years. It was—and if I’m lucky, will be again—a good hobby for a writer: the rough physicality, the attention to detail.

In this case, turning to the ideas of Yanagi Soetsu may help. He helped spearhead a philosophy of Japanese folk art, and focused primarily on “objects born, not made.” For me, genre and form aren’t conscious decisions—they are simply born as such.

We’re so excited to read your forthcoming novel Mother Ocean Father Nation. As we think about how ideas become stories in your workshop, what was the idea that first sparked the writing of your novel?

There can be so many origin stories for a novel. Rather than talking about a singular idea, I’d like my students to be comfortable with the idea of continuous revision. With Mother Ocean Father Nation, the original idea did not greet me in the end. I wrote three and a half manuscripts over the course of a decade before I reached this book—that’s over 1,000 pages of material, just sitting in a folder on my computer!

In the long run, one must be open to and willing to love the ideas that appear along the way.

Can you leave us with a writing prompt inspired by your workshop?

It’s not necessarily a writing prompt, but I find that writers at the beginning of their journey have yet to find a rhythm to their writing practice. Establishing a routine is incredibly important. Asking yourself a series of questions may help you find that routine: what does your ideal room look like? Is there music, or is there silence? What’s happening outside your window?

And most importantly: what do you need to find yourself on the page?

How To Tell Your Story with Nishant Batsha meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (starting Jan. 10) from 7:30-9 PM on Zoom, and is open to writers of all genres & all experience levels. Class size is limited, so register now to save your spot. If you would like to participate but there’s a financial barrier, limited scholarships are available! Just email info@justbuffalo.org with the subject line “How To Tell Your Story Scholarship.”