Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


4 Comments

What’s your favorite color? + New Design Coming!

Random question? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it’s an unimportant one.

Everyone has preferences about everything; books to read, movies to watch, things to see, people to hang out with and so much more. Colors fall into that same group. There are so many colors and shades – there’s something for everyone.

obsession

obsession (Photo credit: bunchofpants)

Colors can represent so many things. A lot of people connect yellow to happiness, blue to sadness, green to nature, and so on and so forth. Added on to that, colors can inspire and what better thing is there than inspiration?

What’s your favorite color and why? Let me know in the comments!

Why am I bringing this up now? Because my blog will undergo a slight redesign in the very near future – as early as tomorrow. Colors are going to change and a new blog header is in the works. Want a hint?

It focuses on The Hunted Trilogy and will have much more earthy tints.

I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am!

Advertisements


9 Comments

Flash Fiction Month: Why is it useful?

Most writers are familiar with National Novel Writing Month. If you’re not, then let me explain. During National Novel Writing Month,which takes place in November, writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in only thirty days. That’s 1,667 words per day.

Flash Fiction Month follows a similar, yet vastly different concept. Whereas in NaNoWriMo you focus on one story, during FFM you focus on multiple. Thirty-one, to be exact. One for every day of the month of July. And guess what? That means that it starts today.

English: My own work. Created using "Inks...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirty-one flash fiction stories, each up to 1,000 words in length, written in July. A challenge at least as difficult as NaNoWriMo.

I highly recommend that writers try it out. Why? Well, here are just a couple of ways that Flash Fiction Month can help you grow as a writer:

  • Character Development: You have much less time to portray the characters and make the readers care about them. You have to use the limited word count available to you to make them care. If you can do that in short stories, then it’ll be a skill you can transfer over to novel-length works.
  • Plot: Short and concise. Bare basics. Beginning, middle, end. Nothing more, nothing less. Creating a story that has all these aspects in under 1,000 words is a wonderful challenge. It will help you practise plotting a story arc that works.
  • Ideas: This is one of the most useful aspects and yet so many people forget it. So, you wrote a kick ass flash fiction story, but your muse isn’t satiated. Your muse wants more. The idea starts expanding and suddenly – it turns into a novella, or a novel, perhaps even a series. Many ideas start small, but given the right conditions, can grow into something more.
  • Writing Daily: Many authors struggle to keep up their writing. Inspiration avoids them, life interferes – somehow, something always manages to come up. Flash Fiction Month teaches writers to write every day, even if it’s as little as fifty words. Writing daily is a huge step in finishing your projects.
  • Details: With a word count as small as 1,000 words, the amount you can use for details is limited. It teaches writers to show only the essential details. We care that her hair is brown and her eyes light grey. We don’t care that her hair is slicked back perfectly except for that one strand that won’t cooperate, but that she normally wears her hair in an elegant bun with strands framing her face and falling to her shoulders. In a novel, explaining that once is acceptable; it gives readers a better idea of what the character is like. In a short story, unnecessary details should be left out.

But, what matters most, is that this project and others like it give writers a chance to do what they do best – write.

Will you be participating in Flash Fiction Month? What is your opinion of it? Share in the comments!


2 Comments

Friday Fortune #9 – Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Friday Fortune #9

Welcome to the ninth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I have a question for all of you that I always wonder about, since it’s so different for everyone who does anything artistic.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

For me, it’s almost everything around me. From nature, snippets of conversations I hear on the street or at the grocery store, at work, at school; there are so many situations that can offer inspiration. A single sentence or even a word can create an idea within the crevices of your mind.

There are other things that give me inspiration. Other books, movies, television shows. There are so many things and it’s astounding how inspirational such simple things can be.

Share your inspirations in the comments! What do you get the most inspiration from? Do you have any stories you could share about things inspiration has granted you?

Let me know!

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition ten of Friday Fortune.


12 Comments

Friday Fortune #8 – How do you choose what to read next?

Friday Fortune #8

Welcome to the eighth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I have a question for all of you, that a friend of mine brought up the other day.

How do you choose what to read next?

An unopened fortune cookie

If only we could open one and have the title of our next read pop out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All readers know the dilemma. You just finished a great book and are glowing from the joy of it all, until that amazing sensation fades and leaves a hollow area within you. That’s when you realize, it’s time to move on to another book.

But, any self-respecting reader generally has more books stored away on their shelves or in their e-readers than they can read in one go. Perhaps alphabetized by author names, or book titles. On the other hand, maybe you have them organized by genre – perhaps even both. But that generally doesn’t help an avid reader select which pages to devour next.

You just read book XYZ in a series? The logical choice would be to start-up the next book, but do you want to speed through the series, or savour it by not reading it all in one go, and instead reading other books between those in the series?

Selecting books in a challenge. Figuring out what to read next always seems to be an impossible task. I know that, for me, books by my favorite authors tend to get read before other books – regardless of what order I bought them in. But for choosing books in general… I’m not sure I have a set way I go about selecting my next read.

What about you?

Do you have a strategy when it comes to choosing your next book? Share in the comments!

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition nine of Friday Fortune.


2 Comments

Progress: How does it make you feel?

Progress. You have a project that you’re dying to work on. Something that keeps you up at night, plagues your thoughts and pokes you with annoying cries for attention.

Go away, you might think. I have other things to do!

English: Werewolf, by Rodrigo Ferrarezi Portug...

Werewolf, by Rodrigo Ferrarezi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But deep down, you know that once you start working on that project – writing, drawing, or something else entirely – it’ll feel great. Werewolf’s Lair is such a project for me. After far too long of dawdling and procrastinating, whether purposely or due to other things that needed doing. Regardless, the moment I started working on it again, I felt a wave of relief and pure joy.

Nothing compares to that feeling. That was yesterday. Between yesterday and today, I added 4,518 to Werewolf’s Lair and more will be joining those tomorrow! Now that I finally started and got back into the groove, things are falling into place magnificently. Suddenly, there are connections between scenes I look forward to writing and some of them are much closer than they were before.

From one scene to another; the connections are forming and the path is smooth and problem-free. I love that sensation, when things just fall into place without a hint of trouble.

Whenever I get around to writing, I write. It’s getting started that is always the problem. Procrastination at its finest. Once I push past it, it releases its hold and vanishes. As long as I make sure not to let up, it won’t return. That makes the writing process much easier.

At this rate, Werewolf’s Lair will easily be finished by August 31st, the deadline I set for it. Moreover, I could finish it a month early! We’ll see if that happens, but at the very least, I won’t miss the August 31st deadline!

So far, I love how the book is turning out. It’s better than I could have predicted, but we’ll see if that opinion is still the same once I get to the editing process. That process always changes everything so quickly that it’s insane.

But that’s a post for another day. I’d rather not think about that until I get to that point. Until then, I’ll be shooting 10,000 words per week!

The end of Werewolf’s Lair, here I come!

How do you feel when you make progress? What do you feel you’ve made the most progress on? Share in the comments!


7 Comments

Video games: Why can writers learn from them?

Most people have played at least one video game before. There are so many different types of games, and my personal favorites are RPG’s. Why is that? Because they have amazing plots and wonderful characters, in-depth worlds and overall, that ties together to make a great game.

And story.

All of the things that make a great RPG, make a great novel.

I would recommend taking a look at a couple roleplaying games. There are popular ones that fit all the above, such as the Final Fantasy series, or lesser known series, such as the Persona series, particularly games three and four. Of course, there are plenty of other games that are great when it comes to everything I mentioned above, but these are two that I would personally recommend.

Let’s take a deeper look at similarities between games and books, shall we?

  1. Characters
    Characters are one of the most essential parts of any book. The readers follow along their story and live through their trying journey with them. Readers feel their emotions, their pain, and all the sorrow life puts them through, as well as the joy. In games, characters change over the course of the game as plot points are revealed. They develop. In books, that is what writers must create: Developing characters who readers enjoying following and root for.
  2. Plot
    Another important part of any novel is the plot. What happens? The protagonist finds out that they’re the last in the line of mages, bad guys come after the main character to kill him/her or force him/her to help them in their quest to take over the world. Base plotline. Throw in some trials along the way. An epic battle, the death of the character’s best friend; all these things bring life to the tale and make readers even more attached to the character. Games often do this well.
  3. Worlds
    So, you’ve got your mage, your bad guys, and your sidekicks. What else? Paint a picture for the readers. Now that you have essentials that are in the world, you need the world itself. What is the history of this world? For example, how were the mages wiped out? While mentioning specific historical events, tell readers about the world. Is it filled with lush forests, scattered islands, or dangerous deserts? Let readers know the more intricate details, even things like social structure in their society. These details tie everything else together.

So, the next time you intend to play a game, take a more mindful look at these aspects. You’ll be amazed what you can find and learn from video games, that you can turn around and use for writing your novel, short stories, or plays.

After all, there’s a reason the video game industry needs writers.

What do you think about the ties between video games and books? Is there any game you would recommend for the above-mentioned points? Share them!


2 Comments

Friday Fortune #6 – What is your childhood favorite?

Friday Fortune #6

Welcome to the sixth edition of Friday Fortune!

What is Friday Fortune? On Wednesdays and Sundays, my posts are generally serious and focus on specific aspects of writing or even life in general. Fridays are here to mix it up a bit. On Fridays, you’ll be surprised with giveaways, free snippets, general questions, and so much more! If you have any suggestions for questions I could ask or things I could do; let me know so we can make this interactive!

This week, I wanted to ask you all about your childhood favorite(s). What do I mean?

Every person has something they absolutely loved as a child and maybe even still do. A favorite book, a movie or show that you watched nearly every day, or in general, one of your favorite things to do. That’s what this week is all about.

What was one of your favorite things as a child, and do you still love it?

Cover of "The Lion King (Disney Special P...

Cover via Amazon

Mine, for movies, is rather cliché. The Lion King was one of my favorite movies as a child, and still is. Another favorite movie was/is The Little Vampire. Those aside, I loved the book Green Eggs and Ham, and favorite shows included mostly anime: Dragonball Z, Pokémon, Beyblade, and, in particular, Yu-Gi-Oh!

But that’s enough about me. Share your old and potentially current favorites in the comments! I’d love to hear about things you enjoy.

Tune in next week for whatever I have up my sleeve for you in edition seven of Friday Fortune.