Mr. DeDakis

For the past several years, I've been a Writing Coach, Manuscript Editor, and Writing Workshop Leader.

Some of the places where I've taught:

Politics & Prose Bookstore - Washington, D.C.
The Writer's Center - Bethesda, Maryland
The Muse - Norfolk Virginia
The Loft - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Write-by-the-Lake Writing Retreat - University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Callanwolde Fine Arts Center - Atlanta, Georgia
The Ireland Writing Retreat - County Donegal, Ireland
Hugo House - Seattle, Washington
The Chautauqua Institution - Chautauqua, New York
Princess Cruise Lines - Coral Princess Panama Canal cruise, 2013
The Himalayan Writers Workshop - Nepal, March 2020


A Knife In The FogBradley HarperQueens Gambit
Testimonial - Bradley Harper

I encountered John DeDakis at a seminar he held in Nashville in 2015. I'd rewritten my novel eighteen times by the time we met and been turned down by about forty agents. John took me under his wing and after extensive revisions over nine months I was able to acquire a west coast agent. Five publishers bid on my book and we finally settled on a two-book contract with Seventh Street Books. My debut novel, A Knife in the Fog, was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel (one of five finalists out of fifty-five nominations), and the audiobook won Audiofile Magazine's 2019 Earphone Award in the category of Mystery and Suspense. Knife won Killer Nashville's 2019 Silver Falchion Award in the mystery category.

Knife has been acquired by a Japanese publisher and as of this writing is being considered by a UK publisher. One movie production company has considered it. They finally said no, but the book is in play.

My second novel, Queen's Gambit, is scheduled for release on September 17, 2019. The audio rights have already sold for a significantly larger advance than what I got for book one.

I credit John with getting me to this level of success at least two years quicker than I'd have done on my own, if at all. He let me write my book, pointing out what worked and what didn't, and why. I think the most important thing he did for me was to help me find my voice, and to trust it. I have directed friends of mine who aspire to become successful writers to seek him out. His advice is practical and clear; the results speak for themselves.

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"Loved your workshop! Really good overview for a true newbie to think through all aspects, from organization, to the writing process, to getting published. Just what I was looking for. I'm excited and feel better equipped with the tools/big-picture approach to actually get something written instead of just having ideas linger around in the back of my head. Thank you for steering us and keeping things interesting and on topic, and for providing such an encouraging and positive atmosphere."
~Workshop Participant, The Writer's Center, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

"I really like your editing style. You always explain 'why' for each change, and it makes me reconsider the reader's point of view. That notion alone has improved my writing."
~Becky de la Vega, Nashville

"I feel inspired to write. I'm leaving today with a host of new exercises to try, and a path to follow towards actually completing a novel."
~Workshop Participant, The Writer's Center, Arlington, Virginia

"I so liked the way you demystified the process of writing a novel, and the organization you bring to the process. Writing a novel now seems doable, not overwhelming. This was terrific! A day well spent. Stimulating discussion, useful and engaging lectures, super useful exercises. You are a good teacher!!!"
~Debra Glass, Workshop Participant, Politics & Prose Bookstore, D.C.

"Thoroughly enjoyed John's fun and very informational workshop. I'll look for future ones!"
~Melanie Bourne, Workshop Participant, Politics & Prose Bookstore, D.C.

"Thanks for being an engaging and approachable instructor! I was really nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I had a great experience."
~Seher Vora, Workshop Participant, The Writer's Center, Bethesda, Maryland

"Your class just might have been a life-changer for me. I feel as if I have a goal now. I have never in my life read my work aloud. I hope you will accept this as a testament to your teaching, and to the non-judgmental atmosphere that you established in our class. It felt safe, a rare occurrence."
~B.H., Workshop Participant, Chautauqua Institution

"You have a wonderful way of interacting with the class as a whole and with individuals. You are tactful, encouraging, and helpful. Thank you."
~Lauren Fine, Workshop Participant, Chautauqua Institution

"You have a gentle way of telling the truth, and telling it in a way that students can hear."
~Quincy Erickson, Workshop Participant, Chautauqua Institution

"I'm very happy I invested in myself. You've given me a new pair of eyes that will forever guide my writing, like whoa!"
~Carly Kryzer, Minneapolis

"John DeDakis's workshop on novel writing is great! He's a good listener and is very responsive to questions. He had many practical tips, good writing exercises, and an encouraging and supportive atmosphere."
~Carol Rhees, Washington, D.C.

"I really appreciate all the tips and encouragement during the class. It was my first ever writing class and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The camaraderie, patience, and humor made for a very comfortable and inspiring environment. I never thought I would actually take a writing class and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I'll look to take more in the future."
~E.K., Washington, D.C.

"As a former journalist, John DeDakis's style and communication were clear; his analysis/critique of my writing exercise was helpful. I had fun while absorbing a lot of worthwhile and helpful tips for getting my writing back on track."
~Workshop Student, The Muse, Norfolk, Virginia

"The workshop was a positive and safe environment that really helped with my confidence as a writer. It encouraged me to continue writing."
~Joyce Pfeiffer, Workshop Student, Write-by-the-Lake, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Fantastic tips and techniques -- I had a couple breakthrough moments today and feel very energized!"
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"Well structured. Useful. Achieved quite a lot in one day. Helped me gain strength to move forward."
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"I found the courage to let go of my writing perfectionism. Your class nourished my creative soul. The networking, the friendships, the encouragement were incredible. You're a great teacher and I love your teaching style. Thanks for all the encouragement and support!"
~Yvonne Bergendorf, Workshop Student, Write-by-the-Lake, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Definitely inspiring! Loved the editing tips and writing exercises."
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"It helped me get past a mental block or hurdle that was keeping me from writing."
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"You gave concrete tips that answered many questions I had about the novel-writing process. Before, I felt completely adverse to the idea of marketing, but your concrete tips made me feel that it's not nearly as difficult as I perceived."
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"An excellent and highly worthwhile class."
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"Great overview of the process from start to finish with great practical tips for getting through each aspect. The day went too fast!"
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"I feel so much more knowledgeable and hopeful about the writing process. It was just a wonderful overview in a short period of time -- and fun, too!"
~Workshop Student, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

"The day went by too quickly. Sparked a new novel idea while I was sitting here. Excited to go home and write."
~Workshop Student - The Writer's Center, Bethesda, Maryland

"John DeDakis is a great mentor."
~Workshop Student, Write-by-the-Lake, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Well done, John. A very enjoyable and useful class for me. You're a considerate and delightful teacher."
~Patrice, Workshop Student, Write-by-the-Lake, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"I came into class without an idea for a book and left with several characters, a general plot, and renewed enthusiasm for writing. Thank you, John." ~Workshop Student, Write-by-the-Lake, University of Wisconsin-Madison