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The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages
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The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  176 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Map out your idea and finish your story in 7 stages!

This book will show writers how to develop their ideas into a finished novel by working through it in 7 stages, while learning how to mapping out their story's progress and structure so they can evaluate and improve their work. It teaches writers to visualize their story's progress with a story map that helps them see all
Paperback, 217 pages
Published June 29th 2011 by Writer's Digest Books (first published May 31st 2011)
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3.85  · 
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 ·  176 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Aug 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012, writing
If you've never heard any writing advice and have never ever read any other book on writing, you’ll find The Writer’s Compass moderately helpful. If you have read elsewhere or even so much as passed by the open door of a classroom where a writing course was being held, this book is completely worthless. Trust me: you already know more than Nancy Ellen Dodd offers. Save your money and your time.

Before I delve into my passionate dislike of this book, let me speak of the good.

The cover is awesome,
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book no doubt has a lot of valuable information. The author covers both classic and modern approaches to creative writing and provides a step-by-step formula for crafting a story.

It wasn't clear to me when purchasing this book that the writer was, predominantly, a scriptwriter. This influenced the tone of the book immensely and made the concepts less accessible/ useful to a novel writer. The first few chapters, also, were irritatingly introspective with lots of information about the author
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nancy Ellen Dodd has a wonderful approach to writing using the seven step formula in "The Writer's Compass". Her approach to writing uses an easy to follow structure with several visual cues and questions in a way that's organized and engaging - choosing to blend techniques such as mindmapping and plotting details in tables with the different facets of one's story (characterization, plot, etc.) She also gives helpful suggestions and draws from her own experience and education in the explanation ...more
Andrea Judy
Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Some good tidbits but it didn't seem to say anything new or helpful enough to warrant a home on my permanent bookcase.
Daniel Cunningham
This book is actually closer to 2.5 stars.

I was looking for something like a (semi-)graphical model for layout a story, something like a story outline but in a "map." The book provides that... but not with any insight or detail beyond what I could probably come up with myself, having now read 2 books on writing (including this one): a three-box/act structure and then some illegible 5-10 word summaries for the 8 or 10 or 14 rise and falls of the overall "rise" in action/tension/etc.

I was hoping f
K. Counihan
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Whole How to Write a Book Demystified

The whole process explained in plain English. Especially good for those that are stuck at a certain point in the writing process. Just look up in table of contents what you are stuck on and review it. Very useful book. I found solutions in this book that were not in my other 300 writing books.
Toni M.Ed.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Great lucid help for the Christian writer.
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book combines the collaborative efforts of a multitude of writers and workshops dealing specifically with screenwriting. Hence, it's sort of a cliff-notes to writing your first draft, along with the elements you need to keep the re-write process going. However, it's also presented in an almost maternal, or nurturing manner to help the budding writer get through the road blocks leading to living the writers life.

I have read many screenwriting books, taken courses, and attended workshops, and
Carolyn James
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
The Writer’s Compass is a comprehensive book promising to walk you through the stages of writing your novel from the first idea to sending it to a publisher. Overall there were some good parts, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. TWC asked a lot of questions to the writer to make sure you are being as comprehensive as you can be, but I wouldn’t use it to look back and forth to between every single stage of the writing process. Instead I took it as a book that offered some good tidbits of advic ...more
Jeffrey Cahhal
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book

Bought this book for her class on Writer’s Digest University, but have to say that I really enjoyed it. I did feel that some points (or steps) were a little on the brief-side, but as with most books on writing, most of it we have see and heard already elsewhere. The book is well presented and organized logically.
D.H. Hanni
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Learned a lot of ways to help me think more about my writing especially as I get ready for NaNoWriMo. Won't know if it was useful stuff until well after but I'm feeling really confident based on what I read. This book is good for people who like a more structured approach to writing or who are desiring to become more structured and organized in their writing.
Oct 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have very mixed feelings about this book on the craft of writing. I love the idea of the 7 stages and the ways to diagram/pictorialize the structure of the story. But I couldn't rate it higher than just a LIKE and I'm not sure why.
Biblio Curious
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
A good introduction to writer's craft. It covers the basic aspects of writing fiction in various styles: novels, screenplays or theatre scripts.

I'd recommend this for its fool proof style. It's a compass that covers each stage of writing with exercises and methods for examining your work.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The author did a great job laying out the steps and providing thought provoking, helpful questions to ask while crafting one's story. I look,forward to reading more of this author and re reading this book.
As someone who knows NOTHING about fiction writing, I found this book very helpful in getting the basics down.
Mel Walker
This was the textbook for a writing class I took. The class was insightful and a big reason was because of this book.
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