Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Why are characters so difficult?

Excuse me while I do a bit of ranting.

I wrote in my previous post about distractions and how, these past few days, I’ve been distracted by Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX. Now, I wrote that sometimes distractions are good, because they can refresh your mind and inspire you. That’s exactly what playing these games is doing for you.

Now, however, let’s move on to difficult characters. In particular Kieran and Avalyn, the characters shown in my blog header.

Mind you, I don’t necessarily mean difficult to write. No, I mean when I’m incredibly inspired to write, but then they’re incredibly forthcoming stubborn and absolutely ridiculous and secretive when I want to actually write.

Honestly, can’t I have immense inspiration and ideas at the same time? Apparently not.

I managed to write a few paragraphs just now (It was like pulling teeth, I tell you!), then hit a wall. I’m hoping to finish this chapter after writing this. I can’t be more than 200 – 300 words away from the end of the chapter!

Part of my problem’s most likely that I quit mid-chapter and stopped writing for two weeks. Once I get through this chapter and can start the next one, I imagine writing will become easier again.

Until then, however, I’ll keep pulling teeth to get these words written.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Let me know in the comments!


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Distractions: Good or Bad?

The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes.
– Kingdom Hearts 1

It’s inevitable. Every now and then, something shows up that will distract you from your goals. For me, that’s happening right now (although I yanked myself away from it to write this blog post).Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX

Most people say distractions are horrible, but I beg to differ. I believe that every now and then, you need to be distracted from everything else. Allowing yourself to stray from your path for a while can relax you and even inspire you. That’s why my current distraction is one I welcome with open arms.

Today I got the limited edition of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX in the mail. I’ve had that game pre-ordered for at least three months and I’ve eagerly awaited the release for even longer than that.

For me the Kingdom Hearts games are incredibly inspiring. An inspiration boost is just what I need for my writing, so I’m allowing myself to indulge a bit. The next few days will include much video gaming, but in the long run, it’s not a waste of time – because it’s fun, it relaxes me, and most important, it inspires me.

I know that after just a few hours of playing this amazing game, it’ll recharge my inspiration and will increase my desire to write. And that’s exactly what I want.

What are things you do to relax or to find inspiration? Share in the comments!

Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

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Review: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I love Disney movies and love good RPGs. I’ve played games like Final Fantasy for over a decade and I’m always willing to spend time playing a good game. The Kingdom Hearts series never fails to keep me entertained. I got Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance for my birthday and have played it a lot these past few days. I just finished it last night. So, what better way to share my opinion than through a review? Here goes.

Played on: Beginner Mode.

Didn’t: Beat optional bosses, get 100% collectibles.

This review focuses mostly on the story, gameplay, and characters.

Kingdom Hearts 3DRating: 4,5/5 stars

This game does something fans have waited for, for years – it advances the plot. After several games that include spinoffs and prequels, fans have been anxiously awaiting Kingdom Hearts 3. While this isn’t that, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, we get to play as both Sora and Riku. This is reminiscent of Chain of Memories, but in contrast, the fighting style is more in-tune with other Kingdom Hearts games. I enjoyed playing as both characters and it was a lot of fun to see Riku’s side of things. He’s an interesting character and it’s obvious that over the course of the past games, he has developed quite a bit as a person.

We get to see a lot of old characters and enjoy the journey through various worlds that are new to the Kingdom Hearts series. The amount you can see in these worlds, and the amount of treasure you can find, is astounding. There are some sneaky places with hidden treasure chests and it’s a lot of fun to hunt them down and to try to get that treasure percentage per world up as high as you can get it.

The gameplay is smooth, the fights are fun, and I adore the dream eaters. It’s cool and creative and I admit, I probably spent more time than I should have training them – and yet I only used a handful of different ones. I’ll need to expand my team more in my next play-through. The drop system was surprisingly less of a hassle than I thought it would be; I got used to it very quickly and didn’t have much of a problem with it.

The story amazed me. I’m not ashamed to admit that my jaw dropped several times during cut-scenes and I may have also squealed during some. The plot drew me in and as it developed, my dislike of some characters grew, as did my admiration for some of the other characters. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance opens a lot of doors for future installments in the series and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress.

One thing that bothered me was that the game was shorter than other games in the series. It’s not a huge problem, but it was something that felt very obvious to me. In most other Kingdom Hearts games, you visit each world two times. In this game, that wasn’t built into the plot (for obvious reasons). It’s still a great game and I’ll play it again. I finished in 21,5 hours – and keep in mind that was on Beginner Mode, without fighting optional bosses, and without 100% completion. More like 52%, actually.

I’ll be playing through it again on Normal Mode soon and will aspire to collect everything I possible can then. Something tells me that it’ll take me a bit longer than 21,5 hours, next time.

Half a star knocked off for length, but otherwise, this is a brilliant game and I foresee myself having a lot more fun with it in my future! Definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of the series.