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.
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:
I used a fabulous website called Canva to add the text.
I haven’t offered a free resource in a little while. so here is my latest offering. Often writers forget to incorporate all five senses, make sure you include taste and smell, in addition to what your characters touch and see. Here is a cheat sheet to help you add sensory details involving the most overlooked senses.
Finding good resources that are truly free can be exasperating. I can’t tell you how many times I have clicked on a link claiming to provide something free, but they weren’t actually free. All of these resources are free–no email address required!
Formatting a Manuscript: How to format your manuscript article by Jodie Renner . This will save you (and your editor) time and frustration.
Spacing:How many spaces after a period? Okay, so this isn’t an actual resources, but it will provide you with information about how to space your manuscript.
Book Interior Template: If you are going to be formatting your own book, save yourself hours of grief and write directly into the template. KDP has a wonderful set of free templates (my publisher even uses them). Make sure you choose the size that is standard for your genre. I use the 5.5 x 8.5 template for Young Adult Lit.
Book Cover Template: Generate a free Photoshop book cover template. You need to know how many pages your book will be in order for the spine to be the correct size.
Fonts: Make sure all of the fonts you are using are free for commercial use. Font Squirrel is one of my favorite sites because they are all “free for commercial use.” I also love dafont.com, but you need to be careful, shareware is not always free for publishing/commercial use. If you would like an author checklist that includes fonts to avoid, check out my post, “New Author Checklist: 10 Things to Do.”
Postcard Template: If you would like to make postcards using PhotoShop, then you can download free templates from UPrinting here. They have lines for trim areas, etc.
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).
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.
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).
Naming characters can be a difficult task. Sometimes they just come to me, and other times I search and claw and bang my head against the keyboard (figuratively, at least). I want the name to not only feel and sound right, but also to convey some sort of meaning (at least most of the time). I’ve been guilty of trolling names site for so long that I use up all of my writing time (I would never procrastinate).
Favorite Free Resources
Below are some of my favorite sites for finding names for characters:
Behind the Name: First Names: Give your novel more depth by choosing names carefully. Find out about the etymology here.