Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Originality: Why it’s a double-edged sword

We’ve all heard people say it. A lot of people dread hearing it and feel that merely hearing the words destroys any hope we have at making our art, or our stories, succeed.

Be Original

Yeah, you’ve heard it; don’t deny it. We all have at some point or another. There’s a problem with this phrase, though. Because honestly, who can truly define what original is? How can we go around and say “That’s original.” or “That’s not original at all.”?

Face it. True originality died a long time ago. Is that to say that everything people write now is bad? Not at all. After all, while the main concepts stay the same, it’s the portrayal and tiny tweaks that matter.

How many published books do you know, from different authors, that focus on vampires? I can name a few and know of a couple dozen. Does that mean they’re all the same and all unoriginal? Of course not. After all, it’s how the authors portray the characters that really brings them to life – vampire or not. That aside, the plots are different and it’s these tweaks that create a refreshing air of originality.

This does not mean that some stories won’t seem like others. Sure, some will. However, there is still originality left in writing and it will never fade, so long as writers think outside the box and bend the rules.

Take a risk and take the plunge. Believe it or not, even if you’re writing a book about something that you swear is unoriginal – it might not be. Keep up the writing and you might find that there’s an entirely different air of originality about.

Originality is a double-edged sword. The edge you hit just depends on how you choose to do things.

Posts may be sporadic (you may have noticed that I missed Sunday’s post) due to the fact that I’m on holiday. Fear not! I’ll be back.


Continuing On: Writings and Trials

In my earlier post, I discussed the Tutankhamun Exhibition and mentioned my fondness of Ancient Egyptian history. Aside from history, Egyptian mythology and pantheon evidently plays a large part in my interests. There is little I enjoy more than reading about their lives in the past and the tales of Egypt’s many gods. Aside from writing, of course.

To quote from my post, Journey to Ancient Depths: Tutankhamun,

The legend of Tutankhamun is an intriguing tale, in and of itself, but it is just the beginning of Egypt’s wonders. The intricate detail they placed in everything they did – the politics, religion and so much more. There is so much to learn and I eagerly spend my time doing so.

I will learn. And one day, I will portray this entrancing history in my writing.

I have ideas floating around in my mind, taunting me and waiting impatiently for me to get around to writing them. Not just about Egyptian mythology, but other tales, as well. Whereas Tales of The Forbidden and its sequels are my main priority, other novels are dying to get their turn. They are quite vicious in their antics. The most common way of distracting me from my focus is shoving so many ideas down my throat, that I can’t see past them to my dear characters of three years. Writer’s block, one could say; induced by other characters and ideas with no patience. Though annoying, it leaves me with nothing else to write. No choice in the matter.

Now, I am putting my foot down.

My beloved characters Lysire and Saria are begging for me to return my sight to their forbidden tale. Who am I to deny them? After all, characters from the sequels are eagerly (or impatiently) awaiting their chance to speak. An amazing inspiration that helped push me forward is this lovely creation.

The Main Characters of Tales of The Forbidden

Commissioned and created by the wonderful ~BlueSoulber on deviantArt.

This little gem poured intense inspiration into me and gave me only one option: Write.

I absolutely adore how the artist portrayed Lysire and Saria in this drawing and will treasure it for eternity. Seeing this brightened my day and reignited the core of my muse that I so desperately needed. Words can’t express my gratitude. I’m looking forward to lots of writing in the near future. After all, these two beauties are calling for more actions and characters from later parts of the series are doing the same.

How could I refuse?

What are the things that inspire you more than anything else? Do you have issues with too many ideas bothering you and if so, how do you stay focused on one story?


Journey to Ancient Depths: Tutankhamun

Anyone who knows me personally is aware of my intense fascination with Ancient Egyptian history. Because of this, my parents and I ventured to the Tutankhamun Exhibition in Cologne, Germany on May 21st. I originally intended to write about it shortly after getting back, but it slipped my mind. To make up for it, I will write about the day now.

The day started with a two-hour drive before we made it to the exhibition. I’ll skip the boring stuff and get straight to the exhibition. Upon arrival, we each received a small recorder and a headset. The creators numbered each section of the exhibition; pressing the number on the recorder started a discussion between two Egyptologists about the items in that section.

It started with general items and texts about Tutankhamen. From there, we moved on to two short films about how Howard Carter discovered the tomb, funded by Lord Carnarvon. It is amazing how lucky, one could say, Carter was, as he found the tomb on the last dig Lord Carnarvon wished to fund. Once can only wonder; what would have happened if he had not located the tomb then? Would we know about it now, or would it still lay beneath the desert sand, in the Valley of The Kings?

After the videos, the next part of the exhibition showed the antechamber, burial chamber and treasury of Tutankhamun’s tomb exactly how they were found in 1922. Following that came a large hall with each item from those chambers showcased, either alone or in groups of items that belonged together.

The world-wide known mask of Tutankhamun, recreated down to the smallest detail.

Throughout the time we spent there, I examined every object and listened to each part of the tape that went with them. Luckily for my parents and I, the tapes also came in English and not just in German. Not only did I see much of the Egyptian art and architecture; I learned so much about their history and the meaning behind what they created.

The God of Cemeteries and Embalming stares into your very soul.

The day took my breath away; seeing everything there was to see has inspired me for my writing and ignited my passion for Ancient Egypt and its pantheon even further. Since then, I have delved into my books on their history more often and find myself more drawn to anything that concerns them. The legend of Tutankhamun is an intriguing tale, in and of itself, but it is just the beginning of Egypt’s wonders. The intricate detail they placed in everything they did – the politics, religion and so much more. There is so much to learn and I eagerly spend my time doing so.

I will learn. And one day, I will portray this entrancing history in my writing.

What is your one historical passion that intrigues you more than anything else? Share and discuss!