Articles Comments

The Writer's Compass » Archive

When to Ask for Feedback

For some people, never is a good time to ask for feedback. Some writers don’t feel the need for input from others or at the most only one or two selected and trusted writers. Some writers feel that by sharing their work with others prematurely, they dispel the energy of writing. Other writers are anxious to get feedback, sharing their stories with critique groups, family, friends, anybody they can get to listen. The best time to ask for feedback is when you understand what you need to know to improve your work. Let’s face it, we all want to hear how someone loved our story. We want an adoring group listening as we read the lines we’ve sweated over. I used to drive my younger daughters crazy reading drafts of stories to them. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, Critiques and Feedback, The 7 Stage Process

To Self-Publish or Not

Self-publising is a big topic of conversation among writers (would-be authors and authors), agents, and traditional publishers these days. Is self-publishing vanity publishing? Is there a stigma attached? Will I ruin my chances with a traditional publisher if I self-publish? What are my chances of gaining high sales with my ebook? If I can create a book by myself, why should I hire anyone to help me? If I use the right algorithms for my ebook, can I make a fortune? Is it better to self-publish ebooks, POD (print-on-demand), or do a print run?   The answer to all of these questions is yes, no, and maybe. I know, that’s trite, but these are complicated questions with not-so-easy answers. Although I am traditionally published and have an agent, I’ve been studying self-publishng for two years. I’ve done a few … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing

CHN Expo – Torrance

If you are going to the California Homeschool Network Expo in Torrance, June 27-30, 2013, I will be speaking on teaching creative writing at 2:30 on Friday in Suite 8. I hope to see you there. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized


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. … Read entire article »

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

Writing Essentials Guest Blog

Morgen Bailey, a writer who supports writers with interviews and guest blogs on her sites, has written a guest blog for me at called “Writing Essentials.” Morgen lives in the UK and is a prolific writer. One of the things she excels at is creating a writing presence on the web. She has turned her success into a new business helping others to create their own blog sites. Her article can be found at Morgen Bailey   By the way, she has an interview with me posted at … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing

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

Be the Antagonist – Creative Writing Exercise

Be the Antagonist Creative Writing Exercise   View yourself as the antagonist to the hero in your story.   •What do you think your hero wants? •Why do you want to stop the hero from succeeding? •What are three things you will do to stop the hero from getting what he or she wants? •What do you, the antagonist, want? •How far will you go to stop the hero and get what you want? Write a few paragraphs describing: 1. Who you are 2. What the story is about? 3, Why you have to win? 4. Whether you succeed? If you would like to share, post in the comments section and email me – nancy *at* nancyellendodd*dot*com – so that I can be sure your comment does not go into the spam trap. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, FREEBIES & PURCHASE, Writing Exercises

More on Story Mapping and the 7 Stages

You Know That Hole in Your Story? You Don’t? Here’s How to Find It Using a story map is a great tool for figuring out where the holes are in your story and then developing ideas for filling in those gaps. Morgen Bailey has added a guest blog post I wrote on story mapping and the 7 stages at is … Read entire article »

Filed under: The 7 Stage Process, The Story Map

Creating Ideas for the Middle Act

Creating Ideas for the Middle Act

How do you fill in the middle? Starting your story with a great hook, the climax, and the ending are often parts of the story writers have in mind when they begin their story. When it comes to the middle, it is often a big hole in the story that stops writers from continuing. Where do writers find ideas to create the events that take the protagonist from the challenge to the climax? One of the ways … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, FREEBIES & PURCHASE, Writing Exercises

Screenwriting 101

Maybe even tougher than selling poetry is selling a screenplay. While there is nonstop television programming and movies available, how many of those are reruns? The cost of creating a movie or a new television show is high and only limited financing is available. Getting distribution can be as daunting as getting financing. But, wait! That being said, with today’s technology and new media, it is easier than ever to create your own video and get it seen by an audience on the internet. This is what I tell my screenwriting students, “Get together with your friends and do it yourself.” However, you’ll want to start with a good screenplay. This was an article written as a guest blog for Morgen Bailey and the rest of the article is posted at   … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, The Writer's Life

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

Reaching the Christian Market

This post has been moved to … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing