Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

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


Word War Adventures: Time to Catch Up

I’ve blogged about word wars before in my post Battle of Words: Word Wars. This time, I’ll mention it again, because these wars are helpful in racking up a major word count and finishing projects.

Word Wars

Image by xeeliz via Flickr

As some of you know, I hadn’t touched my novel in a good three or four weeks. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and change that as my deadline looms ahead.

Just last night, after a couple of word wars with my friend Elisa, I ended with 2,400 words added to my novel. As you’ll see in the nifty progress bar on the right of my page, that helped me jump quite a bit closer to my goal.

With word wars planned all the way ’till Friday, I expect to catch up and end with some major words to deal with. The end is so close, I can taste it. I put one scene behind me; one scene that held me back and kept me away from the upcoming final climax. Now, just a little more separates me from it. Just a few more scenes and the final battle will erupt in a flurry of swords and magic and other amazing things that will light up the pages.

After that, it’s a straight stretch to the finish.

With the help of these word wars, both Elisa and I near the end of our projects. Together, we will carry out our goals. Together, the end is nigh.

We will both make our deadlines.

What are your best ways to keep yourself writing?


Motivation: The Final Push

Finishing a project: The dream everyone has. Having the chance to say “I did this” and show others proof of your achievement. Who doesn’t want that honor – that opportunity?

Tales of The Forbidden has been my project for almost a year now. It’s time to finish it. I chose December 31st as a deadline for a reason; so I could close off this chapter of The Forbidden Series and move on to the second of four books. 2012 marks the start of my serious adventure into writing.

Finishing ToTF by December 31st will make it the first novel I ever finished and will let me learn from the strenuous writing process this past year.

A friend's show of support; Nakaya de Jong, also the designer of my Twitter background and Facebook page. Click for the animation.

Starting 2012, I want to focus on writing more. Two novels per year. Six months per novel. This, of course, only consists of first draft writing, not the editing process. To do this, depending on final word count (between 85,000 – 95,000 words), it would entail 3,250 – 4,000 words per week – say 3,500 to go for the average.

500 words per day. That is doable, and my schedule allows for more writing during spare time, so I will not need to stress about it.

I hope this schedule works for me. Getting more content out and halting my procrastination: I’ve longed to push past that for ages.

Before that happens, I must finish my current project. I have an estimated 15,000 words left and 27 days. 555 words per day. It hits close to what my new target will be, after the holidays. Aside from that:

With support from my friends, finishing should be a breeze!


Excitement: Do you look forward to writing?

I do. Or, I am now and have been for the past few days, since I started my National Novel Writing Month adventure. The fact that writing is going so well is making me have much more fun during the real writing process. I’m looking forward to writing, instead of eventually opening the document and staring at a blank page. National Novel Writing Month

I’m on a roll. Chapter Twenty-One is complete and, look at the right of this page. See that progress bar? I have officially passed the 60,000 words mark!

This excited feeling is new. The last time I felt it was when I started developing The Forbidden Series back in September, 2008. Even then, it was nowhere near as wonderfully enigmatic as now.

I am enjoying writing and am pumping out words that are not only high in quantity, but also quality for a first draft. I am falling in love with some of these scenes. Things are falling into place and I’m loving it.

This self-made NaNoWriMo goal may turn out as the best decision I’ve ever made.

Here are my daily word counts so far for the month of November!

Day 1: 325
Day 2: 1,380
Day 3: 1,310
Day 4: 2,318
Day 5: 1,000
Day 6: 2,381

Total: 8,714

And to hold you lovely folks over, here’s another snippet of what I’ve written in Tales of The Forbidden!

“Saria, go to the throne room. Wait for us there.”

Confusion flickered across her face. “Why –“

“If the person sees you too soon, we cannot be sure what will happen. As far as they are concerned, you are a traitor. Let us judge the situation; you will see the person when we bring them before Lysire’s father.”

“You are a distraction,” her mind translated Aziel’s words to. A quick shake of her head chased away the thought and she allowed herself a nod. “Very well.”

It sounds like things are heating up, doesn’t it?

I’ll be back Wednesday to post updates on how this writing adventure is progressing. Here’s hoping it continues this way; after all, I’m almost three days ahead of schedule!


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?


Life in France: Day 19

Day 19, October 12

I am absolutely busted, tired, exhausted and just want sleep.

Work was fine. I finished what I needed to do by 14:30 and they allowed me to just browse online and stuff. Instead, I decided to take the productivity route and grabbed my USB-stick, gettingt some writing done on my new story. I wrote from 14:30 until 17:30.

After that, I went back to the apartment, made dinner (there’s nothing like some pizza!) and was talking to my friend, Elisa Michelle. She needed to get some editing done and planned on two hours of editing. With that, she decided to challenge me to write another 1,000 words in the same amount of time.

Image via

Instead, I ended up with 1,446 words, combined with the 1,755 from the afternoon.

That makes for a grand total of 3,201 words today.

My brain is now fried and I need sleep.

Because of this and lack of other interesting things today, I will cut this blog fairly short. After all that writing, even this blog seems like it’s taking forever.

All I need now is my bed, sleep and dreams. Good sleep. Without characters bothering me.

When do they ever listen?


Life in France: Day 18

Day 18, October 11th

As Melanie said yesterday, she showed me where the mall was today and we got groceries. It wasn’t even a five-minute walk and yet I ended up searching unsuccessfully for an hour yesterday. How that happened, I don’t even want to know.

I will banish the memory to the deepest depths of my mind. No more thinking about that embarrassment.

Let’s see. After shopping and having dinner, I decided to write and made a discovery. Look at these two sentences:

  • “I’m going to try to get some words down.”
  • “I’m going to get some words down.”

The first line is what I’ve always said up until now. “I’ll try,” and then nothing happens. I sit there, intending to write at some point during the day, but it never gets done.

The second line is what I decided to say today. It’s a small difference, but for the mentality, it helps. And boy, did it help with the real writing process.

I chose to work on this new series I started. After finishing the first chapter, I got to work on the second chapter, wrote a section and then took the unfinished short story that inspired this series and did some editing to it, to make it better and fit the true idea.

progressbar, progress bar

Image via Wikipedia

All in all, in writing, rewriting and editing, I gained 2,069 words. I’ll add a progress bar in the near future, once I create an actual page for the series and all that fun stuff. Don’t worry – it will come soon!

I’m hoping this small change will help my writing habits and spur me onwards, so I get stuff done quicker. If you want to know how it’s going before then, just ask; there’s plenty of ways you can contact me, as listed on my Contact Me page.

Now, off to have some delicious fruit and relax for the rest of the evening! Night, really. It’s 11:15 pm.

Tune in tomorrow for more!


Goal Accomplished: The Magical 50k

The title says it all. After the rough challenges of getting past difficult scenes and moments I came to dread, 50,000 words now sit neatly in a document. The progress bar shows a new level of, well – progress. 35,000 words are left until the estimated end of my novel. A measly word count compared to 50,000. Together, they will merge to become the first draft of Tales of The Forbidden.

I’m ecstatic just thinking about having a completed novel!

Once finished, I won’t have much time to relax. I intend to dive right into writing the second novel of the series, Mercy of The Forbidden. After a short break, I’ll also get into the editing process of the first book. Turn this mistake-infested disaster into a real book. All this in between college and a part-time job.

I’m the type of person who tends to work better when I get pushed; when I have limited time. If one day, I have nothing planned, I’ll say, “I’ll write today.” and it will take much more effort to get myself to write. When I have a lot to do, I jump from task to task. Done with class and two hours left until I need to work? I’ll write – use the time available to me. For me, it’s the best way to do things.

Don’t be fooled. I can get a lot done on days I don’t necessarily have plans for. It’s just a matter of getting myself into gear and starting. Once I start, I don’t stop until I feel I’ve gotten enough done.

The first step is the hardest.

That step of my novel is behind me – now it’s time to finish it.

I also now have a Contact page for my blog. If you want to contact me outside of WordPress, that’s where you will find out how!

How do you work best? When busy, or when you have little to do?