Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Can you feel the love tonight?

Or, yesterday eve, as they say in my novel.

Day four of my self-planned challenge for National Novel Writing Month, namely finishing the first draft of Tales of The Forbidden. As you’ll see on the right of this page, the nifty little progress bar is filling up and the percentage is rising.

I’m even ahead of schedule! On Day 4of 1,000 words per day, I’m meant to have 4,000 words. Instead, I have 5,333 words. Not too shabby. This gives me something to fall back on if I miss a day, or don’t quite hit 1k one day. Still, why stop now? Tomorrow, it’s back to work for another 1,000 words!

My own work. Created using "Inkscape"...

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I wrote a whopping 2,318 words today, successfully completing Chapter Twenty. Here are my daily NaNoWriMo word counts for the interested among us:

Day 1: 325

Day 2: 1,380

Day 3: 1,310

Day 4: 2,318

I blew that bad start away, didn’t I? Let’s continue this and see how quick I can complete the draft! Once it’s finished, I’ll let it sit for a little while – two weeks or so – and then buckle down for some heavy editing. Well, a general read through and small edits first, and then a second time with heavier, more intense edits. This story will feel my wrath as I tear it apart and turn it into something shiny and new.

To end this off, here’s a little snippet of today’s words for any interested readers. Romance is in the air and finally in my novel, too. Introducing sub-plot!

“Father,” Lysire began, pausing until the king’s attention was on him. “You have often told me that I must focus on finding someone to care for.”

Understanding sparked in the older man’s eyes, quickly suppressed by a serious gaze. “This is not the time to focus on that, Lysire.”

“What if it is already too late to turn back?”

Saria’s eyes widened slightly as realization smacked her in the face. The princess of Cavor and the prince of Eteria. Together. Change loomed ahead for their kingdoms – especially should they regain Cavor from Haral’s incapable hands. If she and Lysire maintained their relationship, what would become of the two kingdoms?

King Theodor kept silent and Lysire said nothing as his father glanced from Lysire to Saria. “Does this have to do with what Jezil informed me of yesterday eve?”

Saria nearly choked on her drink. Oh no. He didn’t –

And cut! Let me know what you think. Editing is still required, but general opinions are most welcome and gifted with little ribbons and sweatshirts for the cold season. Until Sunday, all!



Word Count: How high can you go?

Word count. Something that is important to any story. Some people go for daily word counts, others for weekly word counts. In the end, no matter the pace, getting the words down is the key to writing any story.

Some people only write a couple hundred words per day and others can knock out a whopping 10k. As long as writing gets done and the words make it to paper, then who can judge by the amount?

This brings me to National Novel Writing Month. A challenge to push writers to their limits and try to write 1,667 words per day, for a whopping 50,000 in a month.

I’m participating, though not going for the 50k. My goal is to finish my novel, Tales of The Forbidden, for which I expect to need a rough 30,000 words total. 1,000 words every day.

I’ve put two days behind me and am at 2,222 words – right on track. Here’s hoping this writing pace keeps up and that, at the end of the month, I’ll have a completed first draft!

That would be one book (of that series) down, three more to go! We’ll see how it turns out. Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What are your goals and how are they panning out so far?


What difference does a detail make?

Details. These little buggers are what meld the separate parts of stories together and turn them into a whole. Not only that. They help other things – even those not related to writing.

Imagine that. A word common for all.

A few weeks back I mentioned the change of my saying, “I’ll try to write today.” to “I’m going to write today.” Believe it or not, such a simple change made all the difference. If I sit down and intend to write, I get it done; not always much, yet words hit the paper. That’s all that matters.

I recently discovered another such detail. Due to my absence from work until the 26th of October, most of this month’s hours were scheduled into the last six days of the month. Where I normally work once or twice per week, I now had 31,5 hours packed into six days unrelentingly. Six days of college, followed by work.

It has halted my writing, but with National Novel Writing Month just around the corner, I’m not worrying about that too much.

Initially, the idea of spending so much time at work terrified me. What if I got overworked, what if I got sick? So many questions and, of course, the physical labor this job calls for. Then, I realized something and this small detail has helped me through three of the six days.

It’s just work.

I go to work, do my job, and then go back home.

So what if something happens? This small difference has completely thrown my old perspective out the window and changed my mentality. For the first time, I don’t dread work, knowing I’ll be physically and mentally exhausted afterwards. On the contrary, these past three days have passed without any form of physical or mental exhaustion.

Maybe working full-time in France helped that. Either way: The small change and the working experience have banded together to help me. The next three days have longer hours and still my fear vanished – gone.

Remember, the smallest detail can make all the difference.

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Write or Die: Goals

My earlier blog was the last thing I wrote. I haven’t written anything for a good two weeks, if not more; this is something I want to change. Fighting to keep up with college, work and general life makes it difficult to find time to write properly. However, I came to the conclusion I need to make time, instead of wait for it to come to me. If I keep waiting, I’ll die before it finds me.

I intend to use National Novel Writing Month as a base for my writing. There’s no beating around the bush: I failed this November, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. Maybe I need to start with a smaller goal and work my way up. As long as I get some words down on paper, it’s an improvement. To help along the way, I’ll be setting a daily word count for myself.

1,000 words.

While I’m sure I’d be able to write more, I don’t want to overdo it and the last thing I need is for my writing to feel like a chore. I’ve learned from experience that when a battle to get words down begins, my muse and my will implode. I need to prevent that from happening. A very doable daily word count and not pushing myself too hard – it’s the ideal situation to get myself into gear.

With a four-day weekend ahead of me, freed from college and work, it’s the perfect time to get it started. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be on a roll and write more than I intend to. If that’s the case, it’s an added bonus; one I will gladly embrace.

With the prologue and three chapters of my novel finished, I don’t want to give up. I’ve spent too much time developing this story, this series, to do that. September 30th, 2008 is when I started writing this idea. A lot has changed since then and after many writer’s blocks, rethinking the overall idea and planning, I’ve finally gotten it to a point where I’m happy with it. Now, the time has come for me to get more written – to expand the 8,247 words I wrote for the first chapters.

This word count will help me reach my goal.

This word count will help me finish the first book and allow me to move on to the second.

This word count will help me live.

Do you have any experience with writing goals? How do you prefer to write: With goals, or just as is?