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Writing Novel Serials

I just finished listening to 4 audiobooks by the same author. The author had written other books and over time 4 of her novels were about this character. I had listened to the second one a couple of times and liked the character, and thought I liked the author. I pulled together these 4 to listen to consecutively. I could barely get through them. There was so much repetition it made me nuts. I think she took huge sections and just copied them into the next book to explain stuff that happened in the first book. Eventually, I just started forwarding through those sections. I also couldn’t believe what a disappointment the character turned out to be. She became very illogical. She was a Superior Court judge, after years of being a … Read entire article »


“Writers need to put skin in the game…”

…and money. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’d already had a bad day when I read that comment initiating a LinkedIn post by a neophyte publisher. Not only did she make egregious errors in her post, but she insulted writers at our basic level. When she received a response commenting on her misuse of words, you could almost hear her giggle as she noted that she always gets those words mixed up. Never mind the misspellings and poor grammar she used. Yes, you will find misspellings and grammatical mistakes in my work, but I’m not putting myself out there as a publisher or offering to copyedit anyone. So I lambasted her–and later discovered that she’d removed the post. But … Read entire article »

Put the Reader into the Character’s World

Writing Exercise By showing your readers what the world around your characters look like you accomplish at least two things: You help the reader feel they are part of that world, watching up close and personal. You show the reader who the character is by the details they notice and therefore what is important in that world to the character.   How do you know which details to show? In part the genre you are writing in will help you to decide which details to use. In a mystery you will show things that are clues or red herrings to lead away from the clues. In a horror story you might show gruesome details. In a romance, the details will tend … Read entire article »

Creative Writing 101

My Writers Digest University class starts a new 12-week course on Thursday, October 23. If you’d like more information, or to register for the class, go to I hope to read you there! … Read entire article »

Master’s Workshop: “5 Keys for Fixing Your Story”

September 27, 2014 WC2 Masters Workshops – 3 One-Day Masters Workshops with Art Holcomb, Ace Antonio Hall, or Nancy Ellen Dodd, Los Angeles Valley College, CA Nancy’s Workshop: “5 Keys for Fixing Your Story” Frustrated by your progress? Wondering if you’ll ever be able to figure out the problems so you can get your story published or produced? The goal of this class is to teach you 5 Keys that will help you figure out what you are trying to write about and how to write it in the best way you can. The 5 Keys covered are: Where are you in story development? Which voice should you use? How do you punch up the characters? How do you figure out where to … Read entire article »

Insight into the Writer’s Workspace

If you would like insight into a writer’s working space and thinking, The Writing Nut does a weekly column on this topic. On July 9 she featured Nancy Ellen Dodd, with pics of the space.   … Read entire article »

IWOSC Workshop

This morning from 10:30 to 1:00 I will be at the IWOSC meeting in Culver City at the Veterans building, conducting a workshop on Story Mapping. Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for an interactive 4-week workshop. … Read entire article »

Great Writer’s Conference

One of the best writer’s conferences around is the GLAWS Conference at LA Valley College June 27-29. Check it out at The curriculum for the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference is unique in that it offers individual tracks for Aspiring, Active and Accomplishedwriters in an inspirational and educational, progressive stream of learning.   It allows you to participate and learn at a comfortable level with other writers of similar interests and disciplines. You may jump from one track to another at any time, or over a period of days, experience as many as you can. Its your choice! Genre Workshops/Panels: You may also attend workshops and panels on specific genres, including: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Murder Mysteries & Thrillers, Memoirs, Romance & Chic Lit, Poetry, Self-Help … Read entire article »

Conventions of the Screenplay

For those of you interested, tomorrow starts my 8-week online screenwriting class, “Conventions of the Screenplay,” through Screenwriters University. See the full description at: … Read entire article »

Join Me at the Upcoming Conferences

GLAWS – February 8-9, 2014 The Greater Los Angeles Writers’ Society – Genre LA Los Angeles Valley College San Miguel Writer’s Conference 2014 – February 13-17 Conference on Creative Writing at Pacific – June 20-22 University of the Pacific – Stockton Campus … Read entire article »

Writing Dialogue

Good dialogue can be difficult to write. One of the exercises that I recommend is to go places where people are gathered and sit and make notes on what they say, how they say it, and what they leave unsaid. You’ll notice that by the tone or by what is left unsaid, you can tell what the dynamics are between two people. Body language helps get the message across. “Yeah, you’re so smart.” What did I mean by that? My tone and body language will tell you if that’s a compliment or an insult. Since the reader can’t see the speakers, you can add body movements that correspond to the dialogue to give more meaning. Also, the … Read entire article »

Starting New Online Class

I am teaching a new Writer’s Digest 12-week session, “Creative Writing 101,” starting October 17, 2013. If interested, go to the following link for more information: … Read entire article »

You Might Be a Writer if…

You might want to be a writer if… Your dinner conversation is about your latest plot. Your characters are your best friends. You pitch to three agents who all want the completed manuscript–that you haven’t written yet. You insist all your family and friends read this draft, even though they’ve already read the last three drafts–so they can compare and tell you how much better it is. You have a quote for every occasion from the brilliant dialogue of your characters. You have a million story ideas until you sit down to write. You are working on your 27th draft and still don’t know how to fill in the middle You have 38 rejections and counting. The only people who understand you are others … Read entire article »

Available Classes

For those of you asking where they can take a class from me, here are a few of the classes and workshops I have scheduled. Writer’s Digest University Online – “Creative Writing 101” August 22 thru November 14. This is a 12-week course. Screenwriter’s University (part of Writer’s Digest) – “Conventions of the Screenplay: Formatting, Dialogue, Imagery and Genre” August 29 – September 19. This is an 8-week course. Writer’s Digest West 2013 Conference – “The Writer’s Compass: Using Story Maps to Build Better Fiction” September 29, 9:00-9:50 am. Conejo Valley Writer’s Group – October 12. GLAWS Digital Author and Self-Publishing Conference – October 12-13. Conejo Adult School – 2 classes over 2 Saturdays, October 19 & 26, “The Writer’s Compass” 9:30 am to 12:30 … Read entire article »

Can You Really Become a Writer?

Read my blog posted on the Writer’s Digest website and find how you can go from a wannabe to a writer. … Read entire article »