Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


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Short Update!

I swear, I don’t abandon my blog on purpose. Really.

Long story short, I ended up in the ER on Easter – well, more like at 1:30 in the morning after Easter – and one thing led to another and I just had surgery last Friday to have my gallbladder removed. Let me tell you something. Gallstones? Not pleasant. Not at all.

I’m starting to feel better now. Still dealing with a bit of pain after the surgery, but it’s a lot better than it was last week and I’m picking things up where I left off.

Pain aside, I managed to get some writing done during the past month, as you can see in that nifty word count widget in the sidebar on the right. Not as much as I’d like, but progress is progress. So, my goal for that still-untitled book?

Finish it by July 15th.

Why then? Because I leave for a week of vacation on the 16th and I know I can finish it by then. I have 7,5 weeks worth of writing and an estimated 50,000 words to go. That means a lovely 6,666 words a week until then.

Very doable.

So, that’s my goal. And I will get it done and I will blog at least once a week until then. That’s a promise.

Now, tell me, what have I missed?


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Exercise: Getting healthy!

Between writing, working, studying Japanese, and having time for myself, it’s time for me to start losing weight. Now, weight is something most people are uncomfortable talking about, but I believe that opening up and talking about it can have great benefits.

Why? Because when others know your goals, or know that you’re working on losing weight, they can help. Even simple things like moral support are of great assistance to someone with low self-esteem. Or maybe your family and friends can help you make healthier food choices.

Support, in the end, is a necessity. It makes you feel like you’re not alone and that your battle isn’t fruitless.Just Dance 4I ordered Just Dance 4 from amazon last week and it arrived today. I played the demo of its prequel before it came out and enjoyed it, which led me to buy this one. I played it for 40 minutes tonight and I must say, I could feel it working!

Aside from this, I also have some dumbbells and a weighted jump rope for exercise. My grandparents also have a treadmill; we just need to get it out of the garage.

Between these things, I’ve got a good exercise routine going. Add the fact that I’m eating more fruit and am cutting back on snacks, and I think weight loss is something I’ll be successful in.

I’m down 15 lbs already this year, and that was before all these changes. Now, I’m going to lose even more!

What I’d like to say to everyone is that, if you have a goal, no matter what it is – weight loss, writing, drawing, work-related, anything – just go for it. Get support from the people around you and don’t give up. Remember that a lot of people have achieved their goals and if they can, then so can you.

If you fight for it, you’ll make it.

Have a great week, everyone. 🙂


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Countdown: Nerves from Traveling

The National Emblem of France is backed by a f...

Image via Wikipedia

First off, let me apologize for missing yesterday’s blog. Overall, it was just one of those days, so I decided to blog today to make up for it.

That’s enough of that – Let’s move on!

The countdown. That’s right. Only five days remain before I head off to France for a month. This is about when I start to get those little butterflies in my stomach, who flutter around and send my anxiety through the roof. Not very pleasant. Not at all.

I’ve never gone to France before. Now, the first time I do go, I’ll live with a woman I haven’t met before and work full-time in a place I’ve never been.

Nervous? Maybe a little.

Who wouldn’t be?

The problem isn’t necessarily speaking French for four weeks, though that’s definitely part of it. Just all the little details together make for a big cause of stress. I’m not one who likes to get worked up over things like this, but a few raging nerves still survive.

I have my list of things to take – though books are still up for grabs – and I intend to start the packing process tomorrow. Saturday is the day I leave, so I want to get things ready ahead of time.

The woman I’ll live with does have internet, but only on her computer. I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated, but I can’t guarantee three posts per week. At the very least, I’ll make sure to post once a week.

It’s the least I can do. I’d hate to abandon this thing I’ve worked so hard to build and perfect.

Even if I don’t update often this next month, worry not.

I’ll be back.

Any tips or advice on how to lose some of the nerves, or prepare? Have you ever gone through something like this?


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Characters: Blind or Deaf?

Hearing impairment

Image via Wikipedia

Characters are essential to any novel. They bring the story to life, especially when you include their emotions and, of course, their senses.

What do they see, hear, feel, taste or smell?

Those senses are important to as, and enrich the reader’s experience throughout the novel. It’s a challenge to learn to write in a way that includes subtle hints to those five senses, but what happens when you take one away?

People are blind, deaf or mute in life, so it only makes sense that fictional characters can endure that same thing. How would you write about such a character?

One of the necessary options is to focus more on the other four senses. If a character can’t hear, go more in-depth into their other senses. It’s more complicated if the main character is blind; how can you write from the view of a blind character, in a way that is still appealing to readers?

Maybe they have a sixth sense that helps replace real sight, or maybe you include feeling the characters surroundings into said-character having a visual in mind – the way they perceive it to look.

Of the five senses, blindness is one of the most difficult to overcome in writing. Sight is a key part for any character; taking it away leaves gaps that need filling for the story to work. Without something to compensate, readers will not feel as attached to the character.

A deaf character can still see – the same with characters who lose their taste, smell or feeling, although the latter is easily one of the more difficult ones to write about.

Sight and touch – two difficult aspects to write about, when a character does not have them.

It’s hard to write about characters with only four senses, but a challenge. You can only improve by mastering it.

Have you ever written about a character who is missing one of their senses? How did it go and did it take you time to adjust? Let me know in a comment!