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The Writer's Compass » Becoming A Writer

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 way the other person responds tells you how they took it, regardless of how the … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Featured

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 who want to be writers. One criticism wipes out a dozen praises. You measure time by the … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Critiques and Feedback, The Writer's Life

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 pm,  and “Seven Stages of Revision” 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Writers of Kern, Bakersfield – Workshop … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Writer's Digest

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 »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Writer's Digest

Author Services, Middle-men, and Scammers

The publishing world had been turned upside down. As a writer you have many options for finding and getting your words in front of an audience. BUT it’s not that simple. The biggest problem for authors is that more than ever they have become the buyer of author services, the middlemen, and scammers. What traditional publishers were expected to do, writers are now doing for themselves. This means that instead of the services traditional publishers were expected (or thought to provide), would-be authors now have to find and pay for. The biggest problem is that traditional publishers were interested in making money off the authors by selling their books. The author services/middleman/scammers have little to nothing invested and therefore little to no interest in whether your book sells. These service providers make … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer

JOIN ME AT GLAWS 2013

The Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference occurs this weekend at Los Angeles Valley College in L.A. Click here. I will be on one panel and then presenting the following workshops: Friday, June 14, 3:15-4:15 pm “The Short Story Market” a short story panel Saturday, June 15, 4:30-5:30 pm “Creating Imagery from Cultural Metaphors for Screenwriting and Novels” Sunday, June 16, 11:15-12:15 pm, “Traditional and Indie Publishing” Looking forward to seeing you. Stop by my table with your book and I’ll sign it, or buy one there. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Writer's Life

Is It Really Writer’s Block?

I was staring at a blank page and I had nothing. That’s not quite true. I had notes on 5×8 cards, I had my ideas for the scene, I had the chronology of events for the scene, I knew my characters. And still, I sat on my bed, staring at a blank computer screen. I had to ask myself, what’s wrong here? I don’t believe in writer’s block, so what is keeping me from at least typing the notes I’ve already hand written. It was simple. I was sitting on the wrong side of the bed. No, really. I write in bed, for one reason because my legs are short and they dangle, which is uncomfortable for long periods of time, so I like my legs propped and the bed is the best … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Writer's Life

New Review of The Writer’s Compass

Thank you to “A Wandering Mind” for taking time to explore The Writer’s Compass and post about it on your blog.  https://awanderingminddotme.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/the-writers-compass-a-review-part-1/ … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Story Map

Finding Time to Write – 4 Tips

Finding Time to Write – 4 Tips

It doesn’t get easier. If it’s not planned for–it just doesn’t happen, unless you are in the “habit.” How do you get in the habit? Find the time of day when you can most avoid interruptions. If the baby wakes up at 6:10 am, then 6:00 am is not a good time to choose. If you are perpetually late to work because you can’t get up on time, then you probably won’t get up early to write. If Aunt … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Writer's Life

Coming Soon – Private Consultations

As per popular request, in May opportunities will be available for private video consulting on a fee ($50) per hour basis. Prior to that I will schedule free 15-minute sessions (1 free session only). Sessions will be available from 7:00-10:00 pm PST, Monday thru Thursdays, If one of these sessions interests you, please email me at nancy {at} nancyellendodd {dot} com to let me know which session you are interested in and a preferred time. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Critiques and Feedback, FREEBIES & PURCHASE

Writers Lost in Need of Finding

Yesterday I spent time with a friend, who is a writer, helping him rewrite an article. The problem was that a national magazine had asked him for an article about an ordeal he had faced with his health. When the magazine editor got the article from him, they reassigned it to another writer to rewrite according to the magazine’s “style.” My friend hated the rewritten article. It no longer had his voice, although written in first person, and because the person the magazine assigned didn’t know my friend or talk to him for more details, the new writer had made up dialogue and events to serve the story’s theme rather than using the facts. My friend felt he had two choices. Rewrite the article or pull it and refuse to allow the magazine to publish it. He had already analyzed what … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Critiques and Feedback

The Writer’s Compass Video Presentation

September 15, 2011, my 45-minute lecture at the Pepperdine Payson Library was videotaped and can be accessed for free here. http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/nancy-dodd-the-writers-compass/id499064657 … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, FREEBIES & PURCHASE, The 7 Stage Process, The Story Map

New Audio Interview on Writing and the 7 Stages

Wise Bear Media Audio Interview Quinn Barrett, author of Invisible Snow, interviews me on writing and the 7 Stages for an audio podcast which can be found at: http://www.wisebearbooks.com/2012/01/26/podcast-nancy-ellen-dodd/ http://youtu.be/LMDq9LDdkfw http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wisebearbooks/2012/01/26/meet-nancy-ellen-dodd-author-of-the-writers-compass January 26, 2012 … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The 7 Stage Process

Bringing Your Inner Writer to Life

Bringing Your Inner Writer to Life

January 6, 2012, Edie Crabtree wrote a review of The Writer’s Compass in the Newport Beach Independent, highlighting the book as an amazing tool for aspiring writers. “A very well mapped out book, ‘Compass’ covers every topic necessary to see a writing project through to completion, including simply setting time aside to write, and not letting the distractions of everyday life keep us from fulfilling our goals,” Crabtree says. The review and additional insights into the book can … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Writer's Life

New Year’s Approach to Writing

New Year’s Approach to Writing

Donna Renzulli, author of the children’s book “Dangerous Reading,” posted an interview with me on her blog “A Writing Primate” as an inspiration for New Year’s resolutions for writers. http://awritingprimate.com/2011/12/30/nancy-ellen-dodd-author-of-the-writers-compass/. Below are the questions she asked: Tell us what you mean by developing a “mind-set” for writing, and how important is it to the creative process? You equate story-telling with building a house: foundation, adding structure of walls and roof, the flooring, painting and adding designer touches. Elaborate for us … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Becoming A Writer, The Writer's Life