free resource

Resource: Realistic Travel Times

Writing Resource | Realistic Travel Times | Robin Woods | #amwriting #writingtips #writing #writingcommunity

People who don’t live in California seem to think that everyone is within an hour from Disneyland. More than once I’ve had people contact me, telling me that they were going to be in LA, so maybe we can meet up for dinner. Now, depending on where this person is in the LA Basin, drive times from San Jose (40 minutes south of San Francisco) can range from 5 1/2 hours to 6 1/2 hours.  People always seem to be shocked to learn how large California actually is.  In fact, if you were to drive from the most southern large city, San Diego, north to the Oregon border, it would take you over 11 hours on a good day with no stops.

Google Can Be Your Friend

The point I am making, is that you need to research your travel times.  It is so easy to simply Google the directions from place to place. Google will even given you travel times for car, bus, bicycle, and walking.

Google Maps

But Google Won’t Tell Me

But sometimes Google won’t work. Maybe your characters are traveling on a private jet, or maybe your novel takes place in 1850.  Here are some fantastic resources to help you:

(more…)

Resource: Oregon Backgrounds & Textures

FREE Background Oregon (1)

Escape to the Oregon Coast

Each year we hop in the car and head north to Oregon. We have relatives in several cities, and get to take in the breathtaking landscapes and partake in all sorts of outdoor activities. All of these photos were taken within a 20 minute drive of Florence, Oregon. This town is a favorite for those that live in Oregon. It offers an adorable downtown to hang out in, as well as, beaches, dunes, rivers, lakes, and forest. We try to fit in a couple of trips to the dunes on ATV’s, where several of these pictures are taken.

Sample quote using one of the backgrounds

“I alone cannot change the world

Photos are free for use with credit

(more…)

Resource: Free Backgrounds & Textures

Resource Textures and Backgrounds

Pictures of Nothing?

When I travel, I am often seen taking pictures of what must seem like random things to other people. I stand six inches from wallpaper or get down on my knees to catch the perfect angle of a fallen leaf. This summer, I visited Nevada a couple of times.  These pictures were taken in The Silver Legacy Hotel & Casino. The Starbucks barista did look at me a little funny when I took a picture of the cup sleeves, but I’m glad I did.

Here  is a sample of what you can do with these photos:

Gandhi Quote

I used a fabulous website called Canva to add the text.

Photos are free for use with credit

These pictures are free to use as long as you credit me and link to my site:
Photo by Robin Woods www.RobinWoodsFiction.com

Metal Petina 1

Metal Patina 3

Wallpaper 1 (more…)

Writing: 8 or Eight? Rules of Using Numerals in Text

8 or Eight

When writing numbers, it is sometimes tricky to figure out if you need to write 23 or twenty-three. I have compiled some rules for you that apply to almost all of the styles.

The General Rules

  1. Be consistent with your style.
    Whether you write 1800’s or 1800s, pick one and stick with it. See the rules for the style guide in which you are following.
  2. Never begin a sentence with a numeral, spell it out.
    8 criminals escaped during the prison transfer. Incorrect.
    Eight criminals escaped during the prison transfer. Correct.
    Though, it is often better to rephrase the sentence and not begin with a number.
  3. Spell out centuries and decades (unless you use the entire year).
    Prohibition during the 20’s strengthened organized crime. Incorrect.
    The flappers of the Twenties were scandalous! Correct.
    The eighteenth century was a time of change. Correct.
  4. Spell out small numbers.
    One monkey fell off the bed, leaving six uninjured monkeys. Correct.
  5. Hyphenate compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.
    Twenty-two and fifty-one
  6. Don’t mix numeral styles in a sentence. (Yes, this may mean breaking another rule, but it is better to have that consistency thing we talked about earlier).
    I walk one mile a day 14 times a month. Incorrect.
    I walk one mile a day fourteen times a month. Correct.
  7. If you have numbers next to one another, spell one out for clarity.
    The talent show had 8 8-year-olds perform during the assembly. Incorrect.
    The talent show had 8 eight-year-olds perform during the assembly. Correct.
  8. Use numerals for figures.
    1.5 gallons or 9.2 liters
    48 days
    124 canisters

Samples using the above rules

  • The plant grew five inches in a week.
  • The company had to pay five million dollars in the settlement.
  • The family lives at 808 Eight Street in a charming white house.
  • The actress earned eight million dollars for her sixth film.
  • Twenty-eight days after the accident, her cast was removed.
  • John J. Loud patented ballpoint pen on October 30, 1888. -OR- John J. Loud patented ballpoint pen on 30 October 1888.

Notes on MLA for my darling students:

  • Numbers zero through nine should be spelled out.
  • The numeral for 10 and above may be substituted.
  • John J. Loud patented ballpoint pen on Oct. 30, 1888. (You may abbreviate the names of months that are less than four letters)

Check out this grammar cheat sheet:

https://blogging.com/grammar-cheatsheet/

Sources:
Purdue Writing Lab
Grammar Girl
DailyWritingTips.com
GrammarBook.com

prompt me series by robin woods 2019

Want more resources? Check out the Prompt Me Series on Amazon.

amazon.com/author/robinwoods

Writing Resource: Other Words for Look

As I have been sifting through my edits for my current project, The Fallen: Part Two, I have been finding that I have gotten a tad bit lazy with the word look.  I compiled this list to use while editing and thought I would share it with y’all (suddenly I’m a from Texas…or just really tired). If you see words I have missed, please comment. I am happy to revise my list! (PDF at the bottom).

Happy writing!

Other Words for LOOK

Free PDF for personal use: Other Words for LOOK

Check out the resources and master lists in the Prompt Me Series here on Amazon.

prompt me series by robin woods 2019

Empower your creativity.

Writing Resource: Room Planner

Okay, so this isn’t earth shattering or anything, but it is something I find helpful when I can’t visualize something.  A few books back, I received a startling note from my editor: FIX THIS! I scanned through her notes and her confusion was a result of my room description. And, to tell you the truth, the physical room was a little ambiguous in my head–and that translated to confusion in her head.

SafeHouse1_Chap3

The safe house apartment in ALLURE (chapter 3).

Now, do you need to describe every single location in striking detail? Uh, no. That will slow the pacing down way too much (unless that is what your genre requires). I find this tool helpful when I need to picture a room and walk around it a bit before setting the scene. Do I do this often? No, but there are two main benefits: 1. You won’t give wonky description as to who is where, as I did (sheepish look). 2. You have a cool extra to post. Admittedly, it’s kind of fun too, just don’t get so distracted that you don’t write. (Yeah, I’m pointing at you, ha).

Check out the Room Planner