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The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft

Published by Writer’s Digest Books

June 2011

How to Write the Story You Want to Tell in 7 Stages

Book Cover
The Writer’s Compass

Just as surveyors use a compass to map the known world, The Writer’s Compass teaches writers to use their intuition as an internal compass to create their story map. This book simplifies Aristotle’s elements of good writing into easily applicable concepts. Each stage focuses on a major story weakness such as structure, characterization, and creating tension. Through thought-provoking questions, The Writer’s Compass trains the analytical side of the brain to be creative and to write the story the writer wants to tell—in 7 stages.

Throughout my life, other than my faith and my children, there has been one constant: I love writing. I love teaching writing. I love talking about writing. I love sharing writing with others.

Now, after nearly three decades of grappling with learning to write well and learning to write in many formats, The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages is my way of sharing what I’ve learned with other writers. The Writer’s Compass comes from the culmination of hundreds of classes, workshops, seminars, books, and two master’s degrees in writing.

In the book you will find:

  • Diagrams on the elements of good structure
  • Diagrams for creating story maps
  • The 7-Stage development process
  • Picture maps
  • Exercises and questions to help you develop ideas
  • Examples of screen, television, and playwriting formats and how they differ from novels and short stories
  • Motivation to start writing
  • Ideas about living as a writer

I’ll be happy to answer comments entered in the Comment Section. Click the link under the date at the top of each post.

The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages, published by Writer’s Digest, will be on bookshelves June 2011. Currently it can be purchased at the major and many independent book sellers around the world. Below are a smattering of links to some of the book sellers. This list is neither exhaustive nor is it a recommendation or guarantee of the service provided by any of these sellers. If you sell The Writer’s Compass and would like to be added to the list, please let me know.


Writers Digest


Barnes & Noble



Powell’s Books


Amazon UK










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