Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
ourselves (and each other), listening to amazing
music, and living life epically. We present, our blog.
Prepare to be astounded.

The Art of Writing Letters (And 6,000 words!)

Happy Friday!! Excuse me while I throw a little party.

I haven't posted in a while. My apologies. I've been spending my afternoons completely enveloped in my new story. I'm sure you can relate.

I wanted to write about something I've thought of recently, about the lost art of writing letters. Once upon a golden time, in the days before technology, letters were the thing. And I mean the primary mode of communication.

People (even men!) wrote long letters to one another. They caught up this way. They formed friendships this way. Even romances. It seems, to me, like such a lovely thing to do.

Nowadays there is texting and email and about twelve different IMing programs. People call, people video chat, people Facebook message and commune through all kinds of social worlds. And then there are a few who are still committed to pen and paper, through it all.

While I'm not one of those (I've got to be honest, I hate writing by hand! There is a reason I type over 100WPM) I am definitely an emailer. I enjoy long letters, both writing and receiving. Colors and fun fonts make it all the better.

So what are your thoughts? Are you a big emailer? Do you like letters and the idea of writing them?

And while you're at it, feel free to send me one. LIZZY.SKYE(AT)GMAIL(DOT)COM. You can expect a reply.

Also, hence the (And 6,000 words!) part of the title, I wrote 6,202 words this afternoon. That makes for a total of 15,000 words in the past 3 days. I began the novel on Monday. Every day has been more exciting than the one before.

All I can say is credits to the Beat Sheet. I got me to plot. And with a plot, there is no writer's block, no lack of inspiration/motivation, no exhaustion, no what-the-heck-should-happen-next. I used to relish the endless possibilities of having no clue what happens next. I know so much better now.

The momentary exhilaration was not worth the ultimate consequences. To name a few; disorganization, weak (okay, who am I kidding?) NO plot, train-of-thought writing, etc.

I love writing.

And an I-love-writing fill-out for you, with extra sparkles and cheese:

Best Part of Today: The 6,000 words? Iced tea? Constance coming online?
Currently Craving: Pineapple.
Music Pick: "All Good Things Come To An End" by Nelly Furtado
I'm Reading: "Graceling" by Kristin Gashore (love!) + "Thirteen Days To Midnight" by Patrick Carman
WATM: Blink (20,885 words)

1 + 1 = 2 Converted

You can thank the math-centric title on my darling mother, who believes in school all year round. *sighs dramatically* :P (It's not actually that bad. I just don't like the part where I focus only on math, like now. Me + Math = Epic Fail.)

You've all heard about how Lizzy Twin has probably been abducted and replaced by aliens(aka, she's... Plotting. O_O).

I too have been converted by this "Beat Sheet" stuff. Actually... I've come to a realization. The only true reason I was a Pantser before was because I was... lazy. >.> *cough*

I have indeed checked that I am still me. I tried to ask myself a math problem, and halfway through my bemoaning the evil nature of math I promptly forgot the problem I was supposed to be solving... (Sad part? That's a true story.)

But seriously. This Beat Sheet deal is incredible. When I came up with this story idea, I had a beginning. I had... nope, I only had a beginning. I am only willing to admit that now, because now, I have an actual plot. And I wouldn't without that weird BS. (*glares* You know what I mean.)

Do I still have some kinks? Uh, yeah. But do I have as many as I did before? Heck no.

Beat Sheet = awesome. Maybe not awesome for everyone. But awesome for me and Twin. (Neither of us are aliens. I think.)

Also. I went to Six Flags yesterday. I finally went on the new Texas Giant. (There was NO WAY I was gonna try it when it was all rickety. I prefer my brain not be mush inside my skull, thank you very much.) It was really smooth, and really fun. I went on Mr. Freeze too. I've decided going backwards is even scarier than riding one in the dark. I like to be in the Know. Neither dark or backwards allow that. But somehow, backwards is worse. O_O

Twin Moment of the Day... We both have blue hairbrushes. (Which leads to: Blue = our favorite color)
On My Mind... I like side French braids. *has one now, courtesy of my excellent mommy*
Listening to... "Innocence" by Avril Lavigne
Grateful for... AC. The 104 degree heat at Six Flags yesterday made me realize how wonderful AC is. (Note: All you who complain about 85 being hot, I give you no sympathy until you try 104. -_-)
Wanting to... Go see Harry Potter 7-2
Writing... Hopeless, plotting

Showing Instead of Telling

Just a quick post about something I've been turning over in my mind lately.

You all have heard it before: SHOW, don't TELL. And you all know how true that remains to this day. I especially have always been aware of it in other people's writing, pointing out where more should be shown, not told.

Then I found out it was a problem in my own writing.

I think one of the easiest places to overlook it (at least for me) is in relationships and emotions. When you say "she's her best friend", it does not have the same effect on the reader if you're not SHOWING the best friendship. If you say "he was angry" it definitely won't be as obvious as if you had your character throw something across the room.

It's easy to slip into tell mode because we're TELLING stories. You might tell a hundred things that could've been shown.

So for you: what are some things you struggle with remembering to SHOW rather than TELL?

Hope you're enjoying your Saturday as much as I have. I got out in the sunshine today and soaked it up. Vitamin D must make you happy, because I'm happy. Or maybe it's still my new story idea. *squeal*

Best Part of Today: Absorbing the sunshine.
Currently Craving: Frozen yogurt.
Music Pick: "Pony (It's OK)" by Erin McCarley
I'm Reading: "Graceling" by Kristin Gashore (love!)
WATM: Plotting and preparing Blink


So, Authoress went and wrote this list of things she's thankful for. (I was on it. Being on it made me very happy. I even tweeted about it, because tweeting is the ultimate way to show your happiness. ;p)

I decided I wanted to make one too.
Writerly thankful list:
  1. I am thankful for my wonderful writer friends that are supportive whenever I need it.
  2. I'm thankful for all the story ideas I think up every day.
  3. I am thankful for all the not-teen authors out there who support teen authors, like Authoress.
Non-writerly thankful list:
  1. I'm thankful for my adorable nephews and niece, even if they may drive me crazy sometimes.
  2. I'm thankful for delicious foods...
  3. ...and the wonderful people around me who make me want to like the foods that are not so delicious.
  4. I'm thankful for chocolate. And hugs. And sunshine(not sunshine that comes with 100 degree weather, the other sunshine).
I think people should make these lists more often. So many people, myself included, are so ungrateful most of the time. So... I'm gonna add another thing to my thingamajig.

Twin Moment of the Day... We both love cats. The nice kind, not the snotty kind.
On My Mind... How to make my adorable niece Molly a happy camper.
Listening to... "Innocence" by Avril Lavigne
Grateful for... My sister. She was sort of under #3 on the second list. But she's wonderful, basically all the time.
Wanting to... Plot Unnamed Other Story.
Writing... Um... not CotL. *shifty look*

Is This the Same Me?

I wanted to blog quickly to announce a sudden and wonderful change in me.

I'm plotting.

Okay, okay, before the celebration begins, let me back up and explain a few things so you're not totally lost. Firstly, that I've given up -- okay, let's be less harsh. I've set aside Sovereignty for now because I just wasn't feeling it, and I had multiple people counsel me that if I don't love it, readers won't either. Thus, it was useless to keep pushing through. Secondly, this allowed me to do what I really wanted to do: write my new story idea!! (Two exclamation points, even!)

I recently learned a few (okay, maybe more than that!) things about my writing. Things I already partially knew but finally realized really needed addressing. One of those being plot structure, another showing instead of telling (I tell people all the time to show more than tell but I can't see it in my own writing!?), and yet another being the need for everyone to have a clear goal and motivation (that's a big one). Oh, and to make sure my main characters aren't passive.

Armed with this knew knowledge (and very determined), I read some of Save the Cat, and (with assistance, of course) filled out my first Beat Sheet. I don't know if that gets caps or not, but I gave it some.

Being a Panster (yes, caps again), this was amazingly difficult for me to jump in to. However, I think I succeeded. I now have completely plotted out my new story idea, and after some more world building and character developing, it'll be ready to write. Add a cartwheel of excitement here. If I could cartwheel. Which, I can't. *stares*

Anyhow, that's my lovely little dancing-with-excitement update. Plotting feels wonderful, especially since it all went so smoothly. I'm eager beyond words to begin this next stage of my writing journey. As usual, whenever I grow as a writer it feels like one step closer to being published. Because it is.

I hope you've all had at least half the amazing Thursday I did.

If you feel like sharing, I'd love some feedback. Do you plot? Have you used Beat Sheets before? Tell me about your experiences with them.

Best Part of Today: Plotting. The thunderstorm. How about plotting during the thunderstorm??
Currently Craving: Sleep. Sleep. SLEEP.
Music Pick: "Sticks and Stones" by Jason Reeves
I'm Reading: "Graceling" by Kristin Gashore
WATM: Plotting and preparing Blink (yes, that's only a working title :P)

CotL & Ertob

This is going to be wonderfully disconnected, and not just because it is midnight.

Okay. Mostly because it is midnight.

I'm writing this because my body can't decide if it wants to sleep more than my brain wants to write, so I'm giving them a chance to war.
Yeah. That didn't make much sense to me, either.

I haven't actually started writing City of the Lost yet, but while I was writing up this, I totally came up with how to start. So I'm pretty excited. I still can't decide whether I should stick with what I'm familiar with (1st person POV) or try something new (3rd person POV). I feel like this is one of those stories that works either way, so it's totally up to what I'm in the mood for. I'm leaning towards 3rd, because it shall be new and exciting. But I just don't know...

On the road trip front, I found a friend to drag along with me! Her condition? We go to Wyoming. *insert blank look here, with a touch of astonished confusion* Wyoming? Really? I'm sure it's a gorgeous place, but it's sort of... out of the way, considering the rest of our destination picks are in New England or on the way. *shakes head* Mayhap I can convince her to go to Wyoming with me another time. If not... Well, I'll make her drive most of the way. xD

Also, the road trip now has a name: Epic Road Trip o' 2013. Shortened to ERTo13, or Ertob.

Sleep is winning out, for sure. It has nothing to do with the fact that I migrated into a laying-on-my-side position. *shifty look*

Anyway. Sleep won the war. I'll write tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it so much! :)
Sleep well, y'all.

Twin Moment of the Day... We're both the tallest girl in our immediate family! *bright smile*
On My Mind... Why the friend that IS willing to roadtrip with me is so random that she wants to go to Wyoming, of all places.
Listening to... "A Boy Like That" from "West Side Story"
Wanting to... Sleep. And write.
Writing... CotL, brainstorming/"plotting"

For Pantsers: Getting Out of the Rut

As some of you may know if you follow my Twitter, or if you're my Twin (*cough*), I'm in a stuck place with my WIP. It's not a fun place to be at all. It consists of having no idea what you want to happen next, a growing dislike and lack of interest in your story, and zero motivation to open Scriv (or Word, if you're still stuck in the past like that) and write. Oh, and it's an issue mostly found within the pantser circle. That's me.

So, after lamenting on Twitter, I received some great advice from this lovely writer here. She referred me to this link, Lesson 4, which I think she might have even written herself. In any case, it was exactly the leg-up I needed to get back in the saddle.

Now I'm back on track. Or some kind of track, anyway. I have a Google Doc open that looks something like this:

Basically, under that pretty purple text, I'm going to list anything and everything I could think of that could push my story forward. It can be the most random little idea to the concrete plans I've had since my WIP was born. I'm just going to write it all down.

And when I'm done I can pick whichever one appeals to me most and would help push the story forward. Maybe I'll use if I just can't decide. But whatever I end up doing, I will have a list of ideas to re-stir those creative juices in my brain. Which is all I really need, anyway.

Lesson learned: If you don't have an outline (pantser!), you need some kind of organized list of ideas to keep you on track. You might not use half of them, but the point is they're there when you need them.

I wish I'd done this a while ago. I would have saved myself days of grief.

While this isn't the revolutionary Here's-How-To-Never-Be-Stuck-While-Writing-Again blog post, it is an excellent tip, I think. I haven't even made my list yet but I already feel the fog clearing. I'm confident this is the answer I've needed. Who knew it would be so simple?

I'd love any comments. Any tricks in particular you use? What do you think of this one? Are you a pantser or a plotter? 

[EDIT: I would like to take a moment to say that this did not work for me, ultimately. I ended up giving up Sovereignty entirely and turning to Blake Snyder's "Save The Cat" for answers. I found mine in the beat sheet, which I have been thriving with since. I am currently at 30k in a brand new novel, of which I am TOTALLY immersed in. Thank you. /rantover]

Best Part of Today: A WIP mini-breakthrough!
Currently Craving: Green tea. Chilled.
Music Pick: "Lithium" by Evanescence
I'm Reading: Re-reading the beginning of "The Deed of Paksenarrion" by Elizabeth Moon 
WATM: Sovereignty (drafting) + plotting for new book  (<= no more distractions, please!)


The last two days, I was visiting my sister Karin in Galveston. Now there are a few things you should know about Karin. First, she's seriously OCD about some things. She has everything in an order. Her clothes, her scarves, her shoes. Not to say they are actually organized(she makes enough mess for five people), but she wears them in a particular, randomized order. Even her hairstyles have an order. And woe to the person that dares to try and change up her order.

I was mad at Karin for something she had done earlier in the day that was totally violating and totally something only Karin would do––something I will disclose only over my dead body––so when I realized how much she freaked out when I started putting her scarves out of order, it made my day. I spent like, ten minutes standing by the hanger with the scarves and sliding them around as she watched in horror.

I'm not gonna lie, I enjoyed making her squirm. Very, very much. *has a mean streak*

Today, I'm at my other sister's (Kirsten) house, currently babysitting my two nephews and niece. Both a blessing and a curse, considering they are all adorable, but really fussy from our five-hour drive last night (we got here at 3:30am).

These are double; first are from Friday, when I actually wrote the above, and second are today's.

Twin Moment of the Day... Neither of us are so good with other people's blood/wounds.
On My Mind... Which of my friends would be willing to roadtrip with me.
Listening to... Mom and Karin converse about wrinkly clothes.
Wanting to... Roadtrip. :P
Writing... CotL, brainstorming/"plotting"

Twin Moment of the Day... Our Mollys. :)
On My Mind... Tea
Listening to..."Happier" by A Fine Frenzy and my nephews arguing about a game.
Wanting to... Work on CotL
Writing... CotL, brainstorming/"plotting"

Classical Music

Because I've been particularly enjoying it today, I wanted to do a quick post on classical music. This is one of those because-I-can posts, not particularly a wow-this-is-useful or such-an-insightful post.

Below I've listed a couple of my all-time favorite classical songs. If you ever have a minute to listen, I hope you will. You won't be disappointed. This is some of music's finest.

1. Moonlight Sonata Adagio Sostenuto ~ Ludwig Van Beethoven
This song is one of my all-time favorite pieces of classical music. It's such a beautiful, emotional piece. I always imagine things when I hear it.

2. Waltz of the Snowflakes - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Being a ballerina (even one who's currently taking a break) it's natural that my favorite composer in the world is Peter (or Pyotr) Tchaikovsky. There's nothing like Nutcracker. NOTHING.

3. Lacrimosa Requium - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Though admittedly a darker piece of music, it's still so gorgeous there aren't words.

4. Swan Lake Waltz - Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky
Again with Tchaikovsky. Swan Lake comes in close second to Nutcracker. I adore this song.

Even if you got nothing out of this post, I enjoyed making it. Nothing like a little culture. Hehe!

Anyway, I've added something new to my fill-out. See it below.

Thanks for reading!

Best Part of Today: The beautiful breeze after much humidity.
Currently Craving: It's still ice cream.
Music Pick: "Dance of the Little Swans" by Tchaikovsky (again!)
I'm Reading: Re-reading the beginning of "The Deed of Paksenarrion" by Elizabeth Moon 
WATM: Sovereignty (drafting) + plotting for new book

A Little World Building

Just a quick update in WIP-land.

This afternoon I sat down with full intentions to write. Right now I'm drafting a novel called Sovereignty, as you might or might know from the bottom of my posts. The other day, as you probably also know if you've been keeping up with this blog, I was going through old story ideas to hopefully find some jewels.

Well, I did. And I managed to string together said jewels to make a necklace. In plain english: I have my next story mapped out.

I'm a pantser, but that doesn't mean I don't plan sometimes. I detest plotting when it must be done. My weakness IS plotting, generally. But I think I have something special here, and I'm so excited about it. Thus, I was excited to do some work on it today and start answering those questions now instead of later, when all I'll want to do is write it.

All that to say, I ended up spending this afternoon world building for my new novel. The one I'll write just as soon as I'm done with Sovereignty.

So, for the comments, do you ever multitask? How many novels have you worked on at a time? Perhaps some are in your head?

I think I might go practice my guitar now. I'm learning a new song. I'll just go ahead and put this in-the-process-of-being-learned-song on my Music Pick for today.

Until next time!

Best Part of Today: Getting some super good plot work done.
Currently Craving: Ice cream. In the WORST way.
Music Pick: "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson (lovely song on guitar, truly)
WATM: Sovereignty (drafting)

Poll -- For Writers: Do YOU like Grammar?

Let's get one thing straight about me: I've never, ever liked grammar. Yes, I know just how important it is. I've heard stories and seen with my own eyes just how far back lack of grammar knowledge can set you as a writer. Thus, this post is not to say don't learn grammar. I'm simply wondering how many writers share this opinion. How common is grammar-hate amongst the people whom you'd think would love and use it most?

That being said, I figured there's no better way to find this out than a poll.

Bear with me! I know these are very vague answers and there are all different levels of grammar feelings. Everything from passionately detest it to (*cough*insanely) adore it. Just pick the one that describes you best.

EDIT: Well, the poll is finished. CLICK HERE to see the results. I think most writers agree that they like grammar. I have to say that my friend Andre summed it all up here. Grammar is necessary and wonderful and I like how it works and what it does for a book. However, I don't like the learning process of it and how it becomes like Algebra at times. All the memorizing and the terminology and the diagrams translated in my brain to BAD. Thoughts? Just comment on this post. I'd love to hear.

Love of Language

As I wait for my Peach Pizzaz tea to cool, and think about whether or not I should eat food, I've decided something: I want to own a Ragdoll cat & a Sheltie. Actually, that's not accurate. I've known that for a while. I've just re-decided it.

I've also decided that I have entirely too many languages I want to learn. Right now I'm studying Korean. I'm not very far, but it's really interesting. I watch Korean tv shows sometimes (with Eng subs), and I love it when I hear them say something and I'm like, "OH, I UNDERSTOOD THAT!!!" It makes my day.
But I want to learn several other languages, too. Irish and Esperanto are at the top of that list––obscure choices that I'll never get a chance to practice––but the list encompasses French, German, Japanese, and maybe even Spanish or Russian.

So I think language-learning might become my new hobby. I mean, maybe not. It's no picnic, as studying Korean has taught me, but it's pretty darn fun.

Anyone here know any of those languages? *smiles at Twin and her French*

Twin Moment of the Day... We both have only two cousins! (That doesn't count removed/second cousins)
On My Mind... Foreign languages, the learning of
Listening to... Flogging Molly's "Drunken Lullabies" and thunder (YAY! RAIN! *looks out window* ...Oh. It's gone. Curses. Yay, thunder... -_-)
Wanting to... Meet someone who has invented a device that can make me learn a language in a week. :P
Writing... CotL, brainstorming/"plotting"


My thoughts aren't deep like Twin's.

I've been thinking about traveling today. I was depressed the past few days, and when I'm depressed, eventually my mind turns to travel; I want to leave Texas, visit somewhere new and exciting.

I'm not depressed anymore, but I'm still pondering travel. I'm 16. There's no way my mom would let me go traveling on my own. But I still can't think about anything else besides buying a car. I mean, I'm not the type that would just up and leave, but I am a daydreamer. I can't help but think about getting away.

I don't think this is just me. Deep down, a lot of people have wanderlust. It's in the blood, and sometimes the need to follow the wanderlust becomes pretty strong.

That's one of the main reasons I write. If I can't go see the places and things I long to see, the next best thing is to write about them.

What about you? What do you find so inspiring that it influences other parts of your life?

Okay, maybe that was sort of deep, if somewhat disconnected.

Twin Moment of the Day... (some days this may not be filled out; it happens)
On My Mind... Other places
Listening to... /watching The Book of Eli
Wanting to... Travel
Writing... CotL, brainstorming/"plotting"

Keeping The Passion

Happy Wednesday!

It's beautiful and sunny right now. As I sit by a large window, my heart is content. I love days like this. I love summer, basically.

Today I'm embarking on a particularly fun quest. As some of you know by my tweet, yesterday I was backing up all my word docs I've ever had in my life. It's well over 300 and I'd say more than half are beginnings of novels, false-starts, half-finished projects, and ideas.

Aside from being really fun, I'm hoping to gain something useful out of this venture. Like, a story, for example. Maybe a story idea I wrote back in the day. Before it was about publication and having the next Awesome Story. While thinking about that, I figured it would make a good blog post.

Think about when you started writing. If you're anything like me, it was a while ago, and you did it for fun. You did it because you wanted to tell stories. (It's okay if that's not you... you still began somewhere because wanted to write, yes?) Think about your first ideas. Who inspired them, or what inspired them. How you thought (and might still think) they were the coolest ever, and how you believed you could do it.

Okay, maybe that's not you at all. But I think most writers have a kind of honeymoon, usually when they first start, where it's all about the story, and the act of writing it out. A time when it's fun and it's an experiment. Everything you try is something new for YOU, because you're only just starting.

I think that kind of thinking and that attitude open doors for inspiration. You get things done. They're not perfect, but you're thinking! There's no pressure about what's been done or what's not acceptable. You haven't learned that yet. You're just writing and you love it.

It's that passion, I think, that is at the root of some of the best books out there. When you're writing because you want to. Writing because the possibilities are endless. Writing because you must. How can you not be successful?

As I remind myself today, I hope to remind you too. Keep the passion in your writing. 

Sure, it might be about publication. You might have your dreams to become a vet riding on your book deal, like my friend Mad. You might be like me with colorful visions of your book on NYT bestseller list, and of your stories making it to the movie screens in theaters around the world.

However, it never hurts to lift the pressure. Write and enjoy it. Stay passionate. Keep dreaming.

That's all I have.

Best Part of Today: A cup of green tea.
Currently Craving: A brownie.
Music Pick: "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy
WATM: Sovereignty (drafting)


Hey. I'm Constance. The other Twin. :)

Instead of sleeping, I'm writing this. Go figure.
So, now that I've been suckered into starting a blog by Twin (the only person that could have succeeded in suckering me into such a thing)... I have to blog...? Whaaaat? -_-

I'm not so good at the whole daily thoughts thing, so I'll post just whenever. And about whatever happens to be on my mind. Be afraid.

Today, on my mind... is chocolate. I want chocolate. And I know where some is, too. It is only a matter of getting my paws on it. *insert insidious, genius plotting here*

Now, I sort of love Twin's fill-in-the-blank thing, so I'm going to do one too.

Twin Moment of the Day... We were both running late this morning
On My Mind... Chocolate
Listening to... The AC battle the 100+ degree heat outside
Wanting to... Sleep
Writing... CotL, brainstorming/"plotting"

What To Expect From Me

Hi there.

This is my first post as Lizzy, and I figured I'd use it to go ahead and brief you on what to expect from me on this blog.

I've made the switch from blogging personally on this blog, to this one. I like the idea of sharing a blog with Twin lightyears better than having my own. This is still technically a personal blog, except you'll get awesome x2.

This means I'll be doing exactly the same -- only 2x in awesome -- on this blog, as I ever did on Swords & Keyboards. I'll post whatever I want and whenever I feel like it.

Hopefully, it'll be of some use. At the very least, entertainment.

Thanks for reading!

And yes, my little fill-out is back:

Best Part of Today: Remembering this blog.
Currently Craving: Tea. Badly.
Music Pick: "V.I.P" by Big Bang
WATM: Sovereignty (drafting)

For future reference: WATM = Work at the moment, as in what I'm writing.

Welcome Post


Welcome to our new blog.

It's still under construction.

Come back really soon.

I promise you'll want to.