Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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

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Blog Overhaul: Do you see what I see?

The new year brought with it some changes for my blog! Most of them are small changes, but I figured I’d let you know about them, regardless.

This little guy ate all the stuff that vanished from my blog!

This little guy ate all the stuff that vanished from my blog!

  1. Tales of The Forbidden, Chapter One is now online and ready for reading! If you’re curious about how the novel starts or just my writing in general, that’s a great place to begin!
  2. The previously untitled dark fantasy novel that you wonderful people helped me create during my Halloween Stream project now has a (tentative) title! You can now read about Waning Moonlight! The first chapter will come as soon as it undergoes some editing. Furthermore, it’s now the first novella in a trilogy!
  3. The page for The Hunted Trilogy has been temporarily taken offline. The series needs to undergo some serious thought and plotting and until I get all that done, I figured it would be best to remove it from my website. A new header should replace the current one in the near future, as well.
  4. In the nifty sidebar to the right, you’ll see not only a progress bar for Tales of The Forbidden, but also for Waning Moonlight! Keep an eye on those to track my progress.
  5. My side-project, Survival, does not have its own page or progress bar at this point. I want to keep my website focused on my main projects. However, feel free to ask how it’s progressing!

I think that’s all the changes I’ve made so far. If I make any major changes, I’ll let you all know! Until then, enjoy the new year! I hope everything goes the way you want it to.

Is there any other information you’d like to see on my blog? Comment with your suggestions!


Tales of The Forbidden – Rewrite, Short Snippet

Hello everyone!

As drawn by the wonderful "BlueSoulber" on deviantArt.

Saria, as drawn by the wonderful “BlueSoulber” on deviantArt.

On Friday, I didn’t have any new writing to share with all of you and thus, I didn’t post my semi-regular Friday Snippets. Because of this and the fact that I did write 1,050 words yesterday, I decided to share a short snippet today. This snippet comes from the start of the rewrite of Tales of The Forbidden.

Disclaimer: This comes from a draft and thus has not yet been edited. Mistakes are possible.

“Saria, let them go.” A voice penetrated her mind. “Release them, Saria. Release them now!”

The pain-induced fog cleared and the meaning crashed into her mind. Saria closed her eyes and succumbed to the blackness. The fire’s wrath dulled and she sought out the essence. It was close, flaring wildly and shifting colors as it tortured her. Yellow, blue, green; the ball of light turned crimson as a fresh ache washed over her. She cringed and reached out until she felt the magic, felt it swell at her touch. She released it. White.

Her pain vanished and energy left her. She opened her eyes.

Feel free to let me know in the comments what you think; I love hearing from you! That aside, I hope you’ve had a fantastic weekend so far and that your Sunday will be even better!


Juggling Projects: How do you do it?

Most of you know that I finished the first draft of my novel, Tales of The Forbidden and am now in the first stage of editing. Alongside that, I am also writing its sequel, Mercy of The Forbidden.

This is proving to be more difficult than I expected.

He demands that I edit and write.

It sounds simple enough: Two projects, one editing, one writing. If I’m not in the mood to write, edit, and vice versa. Mix that with college, a part-time job, some household things, and just time to relax, and it becomes a lot more complicated.

It’s a struggle to figure out exactly how to spend my time, especially as my schedule is different every week due to varying work hours. It’s essentially impossible to have the same schedule every day.

I’ve considered trying to write a certain amount of time every day, but again, my schedule causes issues when it comes to that. Even something as simple as “Edit one chapter per week.” becomes more difficult than it needs to be.

I want to write and I want to edit, but I can’t justify staying up until 2 every day to do so, and then have to get up at 7 to start the next day. I need to find a balance, but at this point in time, I’m finding that difficult. I try and it works out well for a brief amount of time, and then something throws a wrench in my schedule.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, so let me ask you:

How do you juggle different things, yet make sure you have time for yourself?


Here, there, and everywhere!

That’s where my mind has been this week. Except “everywhere” doesn’t include Tales of The Forbidden or Mercy of The Forbidden.

I really need to work on that.

You all are my witnesses; I will write tomorrow. Yes? Good. Tomorrow, after class, I will write. No excuses. None whatsoever. No getting distracted by other things, nor suddenly having the urge to clean and completely reorganize my bedroom.

If that’s not procrastination, I don’t know what is.

Part of my problem is that between class and work, I don’t do anything. I can’t seem to push myself to write that hour, or two, or three that I have between those two separate things. I need to work on that and it is a work in progress; I just need to remember to try – to push myself.

I will try.

These drafts, whether written or unwritten, cannot escape from me.

They won’t escape from me.

Ignore the fact that this blog is technically about fifteen minutes late. Namely, it’s Thursday already, for me.


Writing: What preparations do you make?

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, everyone has their own technique when it comes to writing. Whether someone writes on the fly, creates detailed outlines, or has some style stuck between the two – every way is the right way. No matter what you do when you write, if it feels right, then it is right.

English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engra...

Image via Wikipedia

I tend to create very basic chapter outlines, when it comes to my novels. However, that isn’t a fool-proof method.

For Tales of The Forbidden, I had basic outlines for the first twenty chapters, but wrote everything without a guideline after that.

For Mercy of The Forbidden, I’m hoping to finish the basic chapter outlines – even if I do not follow them exactly, as I didn’t with the first book.

The outlines I make leave much to be desired. For an example:


Josephus seeks out Damien and asks for protection for his daughter. After his wife began sensing the presence of her former allies in their area, they have begun to fear for their daughter’s safety and wish for her to be safe, even if they are not.

An agreement is made between them.

Despite being very basic, it gives me the main idea and from there, I write the prologue or chapter accordingly. Sometimes, other things come up and I move things to later, or include something entirely different, so chapter content may vary from the outlines by the time I finish the book.

Even so, the basic idea is there and the outlines help me to have a rough idea of where I need to go with my writing.

Primarily, the outlines are a dull afterthought in my mind when I write; small details that keep me on the bare path that gets expanded on as the book goes on.

What works for me might not work for you. Feel free to share your experience when it comes to your writing process and the preparation that goes into it before you begin the real novel-writing. Or short stories and poetry, for that matter!

Share your technique and let’s exchange!

Don’t forget about my current giveaway! It ends Sunday! Click here to learn more.


Editing: Choosing when to start

Almost a month has passed since I finished the first draft of Tales of The Forbidden and since then, I haven’t even opened the document. I chose not to for a specific reason – to distance myself from the characters I spent a year with, the trials I endured with them, and the twists and turns in the plot that I laid out for them – the words I weaved.

Many writers say to take a break from the draft after finishing it; I concur.

When you first finish a draft, you’re exhilarated, high from the rush and perhaps even sad that it’s over. Many writers want to whip the draft into shape as quickly as possible and dive into editing straight away.

That makes it easy to overlook mistakes.

Distancing yourself from your first draft is the first step to disconnect yourself from your characters and the world you created. That way, when you dive into it headfirst after your break, you look at it with fresh eyes, from the view of a reader, or an editor – someone who is rediscovering an old tale, something you have a vague recollection of in the distance shelves of your memory.

Editing with this fresh view allows writers to spot mistakes they would have been too blinded to see otherwise. Plot holes, no matter how small. Typos, sentence structure, grammar, wrong word usage, and every other little thing that shows up when you’re powering through words to get that first draft on paper (or a screen).

This is the reason I delayed my start of the edits of Tales of The Forbidden to February 1st.

Choosing that date gave me a month to relax and focus on other things, to use some of this much-needed time for myself and some fun things, like catching up on some reading and videos games.

But, fear not! In just ten days, I will begin edits and get into writing the sequel, Mercy of The Forbidden.

Let’s get this show on the road.

Don’t forget about my current giveaway! There’s one week left to enter. Click here to learn more.