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The Writer's Compass » Entries tagged with "writing"

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

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

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

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

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  http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/guest-post-screenwriting-101-by-nancy-dodd/.   … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, The Writer's Life

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

More on Creating Characters

More on Creating Characters

Mike Angley, award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy interviewed me for his blog. Much of the conversation had to do with developing strong characters, as well as some other thoughts I hope you will find interesting. Check out the interview and more about Mike and his trilogy at http://childfinder.us/?p=3822. Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out Sylvia L. Ramsey’s “Thoughtful Reflections” blog with our interview at http://wwwthouhtfulreflections.blogspot.com/search?q=dodd. Sylvia has some interesting questions … Read entire article »

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

Article in Writers Digest

Article in Writers Digest

Be sure to check out my article, “Put Your Novel On The Map,” in the Writers Digest magazine January 2012 issue. The article has an interesting graphic representing a structure map and access to a free map Writers Digest created as a giveaway. … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, The Story Map, Writer's Digest

The Short Story Ending

The Short Story Ending

Writing short stories poses unique challenges. How do you tell a story that is engaging, in fewer words, with less room for character development? One of the key elements to writing a great short story is ending the story with an impact, a punch, something that brings it home as to what the story is all about. In other words, a moral to the story, an answer to a dramatic question, or a dramatic question that … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing

Finding True North

Finding True North

Drawing by Jamie Hansen. When I started writing, I wanted to figure out for myself what I was missing and what I was doing wrong. I figured a good writer shouldn’t always need to rely on feedback from others to get the story right. Not that feedback isn’t extremely helpful, sometimes you really need outside objectivity. The problem was in relying too much on outside feedback. How do you know when you have it right? You don’t always. And … Read entire article »

Filed under: About Writing, The 7 Stage Process

Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

Writing Exercise This writing exercise can be found in Chapter 4 of The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages. You are enjoying yourself on a cruise ship when an unexpected storm comes up and a wave washes you overboard. You manage to cling to a life preserver that went over with you and finally float to a small deserted island. You remain alone on the island as the days and weeks and months … Read entire article »

Filed under: Writing Exercises

Writer’s Digest Interview

Writer’s Digest Interview

To read more of the following excerpt go to: http://writersdigest.com/article/writers-compass-interview/ Continued at http://writersdigest.com/article/writers-compass-interview/ … Read entire article »

Filed under: Writer's Digest