Book Review: The Writer's Compass, by Nancy Ellen Dodd

I recently came across yet another writing book to add to my collection. It's called The Writer's Compass, by writer, editor, and teacher Nancy Ellen Dodd.

This is a comprehensive book on the craft of writing, that breaks the story down into seven stages. Dodd takes writers through the process of creating a story map to guide them from the beginning, through the middle, and to a satisfying end.

With a mountain of writing books available, it's difficult for writers to weed through the piles of potential instruction. Thankfully, Dodd offers information on her blog and website that can help make the decision easier.

First off, what will The Writer's Compass give you? Dodd's post lists the seven stages the book will bring writers through. And check out How to Write the Story You Want In Seven Stages.

Is Dodd's idea of a story map something that will be valuable? Find out in her post: What Can a Story Map Add To My Writing? For a more detailed explanation, check out Turning the Story Map Into a Picture Map.

And if you're working though your plot, don't miss Mapping the Elements of Good Storytelling.

Read an excerpt of the book where Dodd explains the use of foreshadowing. She shares both bad examples and good ones.

And here's an interview with Dodd on the Writers Digest site.

And so my library grows. How about yours?


  1. Sounds like an interesting one~ thanks for the links!

  2. I would really like your post ,it would really explain each and every point clearly well thanks for sharing.

  3. I sometimes wish the good writing books would stop getting published. It takes a toll on my wallet!


  4. Hi, Debbie:
    My writing resources library is also growing by the stacks, but I am only too happy to study the craft. Thank you for pointing us to this particular book. Am checking out the links you referenced now. :-)

    Be well.


  5. This looks good; I'm tweeting this, bec/we were talking about writing books on one of the chats.

  6. Debbie,
    Your post was a very pleasant surprise. Thank you for sharing the information about my book. I see you are a homeschool mom as are two of my daughters so I'm currently working on homeschool guidelines to accompany the book.
    Best wishes, Nancy

  7. Janette: I hope you enjoy this one!

    Pamela: Thanks for the tweet! Is the discussion on a particular hashtag?

    Nancy: I'm so glad I came across your book! I'm thrilled you'll have guidelines to go along with the book. I teach writing to homeschoolers, so that will really come in handy!


  8. Debbie, I just added "10 Tips for Home Schooling" for those who are using The Writer's Compass. It is a download with a blank diagram of a structure chart included.

  9. Thank you so much, Nancy! I'm heading over there now.


  10. oh this is a very informative
    post! i actually enjoyed reading
    this - very well explained too. thanks, this is very useful!
    Great information..
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  11. You're welcome, Aisha. Thanks for stopping by!




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