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.

Be an Ambidextrous Writer! (A.K.A On Nonfiction Writing)

This morning I had the immeasurable pleasure of writing an enormous lab write-up for my chemistry class, complete with paragraphs of dry, nonfiction-style facts about the experiment I performed on Thursday. Completely emotions-and-opinions-free, and completely devoid of personality or flair. Which I'm not used to (or particularly fond of), but still is a skill I've had to acquire for things just like this.

It inspired this short, reflective post.

If you're anything like me, you're strictly a fiction writer. It's your strong point, it's your delight, and it's (in your opinion) the best kind of writing out there. I mean, we can appreciate nonfiction as far as education and other such (boring?) things that it's necessary for. But there's really no comparison to fiction. None.

But I think, and it's been told to me by a wise english teacher of mine, that it's important to hone your non-fiction-writing skills. Kind of like football players taking ballet lessons. You've got to work out that set of muscles. Knowing how to write nonfiction well will, in theory, actually improve your fiction writing skills, and just writing skills in general. It makes sense to me.

So, you devout fiction writers out there! I challenge you. Become an ambidextrous writer! Hone your non-fiction skills, and see if it makes a difference.

I'm in the same boat.

What are your thoughts on nonfiction vs. fiction? Do you agree or disagree with all I've said above, and why? I'd very much like to know.

Best Part of Today: Hot tea. Or perhaps learning I didn't have to be at work until 4pm...
Currently Craving: More tea. 
Music Pick: "Los Angeles" by Peter Bradley Adams
I'm Reading: "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens (bleh!)
WIP: Fire [on hold!] (11,261 words) + Blink Revisions!!

Revisions, here I come!

I've never been more excited to revise!

Yesterday I got all my ducks in a row with Blink. I figured out what needs to change, what I have to do to achieve these changes, and then proceeded to do a lot of research. To say the least, it was depressing (if you read my tweet than you know it involved missing children and contagious diseases...) and left me feeling sad for the rest of the evening. Well, at least until I started watching Firefly.


Anyway, today's the day I would say officially begins the revisions. I'm pumped and ready to dive in. I don't really have a specific direction, but I know there will probably be index cards, pen-wielding, and much typing and deleting.

Sounds fun, right?

Oh, and I'm armed with chocolate and tea. That just makes it loads better. So does the rain outside. I'd say today is shaping up to be a perfect day.

So, tell me about you! What are you working on? What are you revising or drafting or editing or querying?

I'm all ears.

Best Part of Today: My chocolate. Or the rain. Or the revisions. Maybe all three.
Currently Craving: Pineapple. (I see a recurring theme here...)
Music Pick: "Je Me Perds" by Jena Lee (Oui, c'est en français! And I even bothered to find a "ç" to write that..)
I'm Reading: "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens
WIP: Fire [on hold!] (11,261 words) + Blink Revisions

Tagged! We're it!

Okay, procrastination time over! Amanda over on her totally awesome blog tagged me (us?) and I've been putting, doing this, since.

Rules are simple. I'm supposed to tag 5 people and give you 10 fun facts. But let's have a little honest moment; I'm not really a tag-you're-it sort of person. I'll give you 5 fun facts, and a handful of my favorite blogs, but there's no obligation to continue.

Does that make me a bad sport?

Maybe when Constance is next on, she'll give you the other 5 fun facts, and some of her favorite blogs. I don't want to hog the fun facts or anything. 

Without further ado!

1. I often wear mismatched socks. Not particularly because I want to or anything. I just have an incredible talent for loosing socks. Because we all loose socks occasionally...*

2. I lost my first front tooth via sidewalk faceplant while riding my bike. Graceful is my middle name. Huh. I coulda sworn it was Elisabeth...

3. I read just about every single Hardy Boys book there is. When all is said and done, you have to admit, they're endlessly more exciting than Nancy Drew!

4. I detest celery. With every fiber in my body. 

5. I may or may not have locked my babysitter out of the house. You would.

[Here's some lovely space for Constance's 5. If you so choose, Twin dear!] MAGGIE. You were supposed to write them FOR me. Hmph.


6. I lived in the Philippines for a year when I was 10, but I'm the only person in my family that hasn't been to Canada. (It's a sore spot. -_-)

7. I once slept in my swimming pool while it was floating around in my back yard (after a flood). It was Epic.

8. I owned a squirrel once. His name was Fred. I have picture proof if anyone wants it.

9. ...I was once obsessed with Twilight. >. > There were even fanfictions.

10. I played tennis when I was in public school for seventh grade. I was really bad. Like, bottom-of-the-list bad.

And now for my favorite blogs. I like Matt'sAmanda'sAuthoress'sTaryn'sLyla's, and quite a few more! Though, honestly, I don't read them half as much as I'd like. I agree with all these. ^_^

I'm learning.

* This is what happens when you don't do mine for me, Twin. Learn your lesson. 사랑해**, Constance
P.S. It was really fun. I might do it again. Hehehe.

** For you non-Korean speakers, that is "I love you". For the one Korean-speaker, don't hate me if I got it wrong. O_O

Knitting + (Read: =) Procrastination

So, some of you might now I've been learning to knit. Project #1: fingerless gloves. So I found a pattern, I bought super pretty yarn, and I set to work.
Well, I'm done.

Excuse the weird placing-in-front-of-the-face-ness. My hair is chlorine-y. I was merely trying to spare you all.

And I'm too lazy to go get the camera so I can take pictures that don't require me to be in the pictures.

Anyway. There they are. I love the yarn color, but––and don't tell anyone, it's a deep dark secret––they are not the same. The first one made was too loose, so I went down a size for the next... and I accidentally made it longer. #fail

But I still loves them. Cause I made them. I shall treasure them forever. Even if eventually forever means from a distance, when they hide away in my closet.

I'm ready to make something else. Any suggestions? No? Another pair of gloves it is... (A different pattern, of course.)

In other news (it's been a while, after all), I totally am honing my procrastination skills. Not only am I avoiding doing my Latin homework (due 9 am tomorrow), I am also avoiding my English paper (due 1 pm tomorrow). Oh yes. I've got skills. Not to mention I'm avoiding lunch. I'm feeling VERY lazy today.

...The hunger is actually winning out, so I must be off.

But tell me! Do any of y'all doing creative things? Besides writing. (knitting, crocheting, drawing, making artistic piles out of rocks... etc)

Twin Moment of the Day... I've actually not talked to Twin today, so I've got nothing.
On My Mind... The nine things I need to do TODAY. O_O
Listening to... "Hallelujah" by Big Bang
Grateful for... gummy worms.
Wanting to... Eat kimbap. (Dang it, I have to make it first. O_o)
Writing... Selfish


I have something different for you all today. It's a lesson on honesty (one I've learned myself the hard way) from me to you. Take it however you want, and (hopefully) enjoy.

Beta reading. Line editing. Helping other writers with revisions. We've all done our fair share of reading someone else's work to help them along in their journey as a writer, right? Even if you haven't (yet!), this post still applies. 

When you're giving feedback on someone's novel, there is one, extremely important thing to keep in mind. This will benefit the writer you're assisting more than almost anything else, even though it might feel like that's not true.

You absolutely must be HONEST.

Look at the difference between these two responses to a chapter that's in rough shape (keeping in mind I am creating these examples right now, on the spot):

RESPONSE 1: Wow! I really like this chapter! It has a ton of potential. Awesome!!!  I can see how much time and thought you put into it. Way to go!

RESPONSE 2: Okay. Nice! This chapter has a lot of potential, and it's almost there. Here is what I suggest you think about as you revise...

Maybe that's a tiny bit of an exaggeration, but it happens! Especially depending on who's manuscript you're reading. Maybe you're afraid to criticize? Maybe they're new to the writing thing and you don't want to discourage them? Maybe you think nothing you have to say could help them?

That brings me to the second part of this post.

You must be TACTFUL.

Tactful honesty is a recipe for success. When approaching a situation where you'll be offering advice/critiques/etc. it's important to remember first off that whatever you say the author will ultimately decide to take or leave. But in order to do them a favor, you must be honest, in a tactful way. That's the very best gift you can give to them.

If you sugar-coat (I really, really liked this! It has some mistakes, but nothing you can't fix, really! I just love it. You're going to be published in no time!) you may feel like you're protecting the writer, thus helping them stay encouraged and charge forward in their writing career. But actually, you're only tying a weight to one of their ankles, slowing their progress, hindering them.

Where's the line between discouraging the writer and being honest to help them? It's very fine, but it's there. One way to be tactfully honest is to express your opinions as opinions. Ask questions, and leave things open for thought. By stirring the writer's creative juices, you're working against the discouragement factor, while working toward successful revisions and ultimately fixing the problems you see.

Look at the example below:

EXAMPLE 1: Okay. This chapter started well, but then went right downhill. You lost your pacing (and my interest) and it rambled on. I was just skimming by the end. This needs a LOT of work. It's doable, but it's a lot. You should fix A, B, C and D. Also, character B is totally unlikeable!

Before I give you Example 2, I'm going to pick out the problems with the above critique.

*It's too harsh. It's honesty without tact. It wasn't approached gently. You can be honest, and still gentle.
*The line about "needing a lot of work" (while true) is a check in the discouragement column. Know the writer!  Can they handle a comment like that? Not sure? Leave it out.
*The use of "you should" is teachy. It's imperative. Giving a writer an order about their own work is more likely to raise anger/resentment rather than consideration.
*Saying "character B is" is stating a fact. There's a big difference between "there is" and "I think" and how the writer takes each.

EXAMPLE 2: This chapter began with promise, but I felt it went downhill after that. I had some issues with the pacing; I felt like it was rambling, especially toward the end. Is there a way you could make A happen faster? I would do B and C to fix this. Also, I didn't like character B. I feel they came off like [words] and I had trouble sympathizing because of [words]...

And on it goes. See the difference? Words like "I felt" and "I suggest" make a world of difference. You are being honest about your reactions/feelings/opinions, but you're not preaching it at the writer. You're merely offering your advice, your two cents, your help. And if you come about it in a humble, tactful way, it will be endlessly more effective.

Ultimately, it's up to the writer what to take or leave. You can only do so much. But your (tactful) honesty is ultimately only going to help them along in their writer journey, whether they decide to miss out on that or not.

LESSON LEARNED: Don't be afraid to be honest!

To conclude this post, I'll leave you with some questions. Have you ever struggled with being honest? Have you ever been too rude/preachy? Have you had negative reactions from someone whose work you were critiquing? What lessons have you learned from your personal experience with helping other writers revise their work? 

Best Part of Today: Being with TARYN!!!
Currently Craving: SLEEP. A solid 10 hours. (Yes, I said 10!)
Music Pick: "Shooting Star" by Scarlet Division
I'm Reading: Why, nothing! (Or maybe I'm just procrastinating to begin my english lit required reading...)
WIP: Fire (11,261 words)

Taryn's visiting!

Copyright (c) WyndyDay Photography
Okay, first I'd like to start off with a big, round apology. I've been such a bad blogger for the past-- what? two weeks? And I'm sorry. Each time I tried to think of something, nothing came to mind. Like, at all.

It's all tied in to my I'm-17-and-suddenly-absolutely-nothing-is-clear-in-my-life (which includes many of my own personal opinions, thus robbing virtually all my blog post ideas). I won't burden you with a list of excuses, I'll just move quietly on to the point of this post.

*clears throat*

By this time tomorrow, I will be talking to Taryn Albright FACE TO FACE.

Long story short, Taryn is among my favorite people I've met online since Authoress asked me to help out with Write On!, and she just happens to attend a college four hours away from me. Even more luckily, she just happened to get a ride with a friend to my town. So, way sooner than I'd ever have dreamed, I GET TO MEET HER!

I'll take this moment to squeal and clap and toss confetti in the air, since that just about sums up what's going on in my head.

Let the countdown begin!!

And just because it's been a while, how are YOU? Anything exciting in your life this weekend? Do share. I'm all ears.

Best Part of Today: The nip in the air. Hurry up, fall!
Currently Craving: Change. And a challenge. And hot chocolate.
Music Pick: "Up In Flames" by Icon For Hire
I'm Reading: Authoress' novel 

Pssst... have you followed ME on Twitter yet? I have my very own => @DancinTravelbug
WATM: Fire (11,261 words)

Another Blog Award!!

Last time, Maggie Twin got to pass on the awesome Liebster award. Now it's my turn to pass on the Roaring Lion Blog Award, presented to us by Gracie.

Isn't it pretty? She made it. I mean, yeah, it looks like it's... yawning... which... isn't very fierce... But it is clearly a lion, and sometimes yawns sound like roars! (They certainly do when they're coming from my brother...)

Anyway. I digress.

Gracie said "Twin Moment" is... "...a blog by two teens (Lizzy* and Constance) who are cool.  Their blog layout is awesome, they like classical music, and they're really sweet. :)"


*beams* Granted, Twin listens to more classical than I do, but I won't turn down wonderful music in any form.

Now. To pass it on. Hmmm.

1. Truth, Justice, and Other Stuff by Amanda. Seriously. I love this blog. It never fails to make me chuckle... and she's sort of pretty darn smart; always says something worth hearing. Not to mention, she's also got a twin! ...Though... hers is real. :P

2. Lyla Lee(or is it Lyla Writes?) is by a fellow Texan, Lyla(or Naseoul). I haven't been following her very long, but her blog is on my short list of blogs to check frequently. It takes a lot to get on that list. Now, she's gotten three blog awards recently, but I think she deserves this one too.

3. I can't forget Gracie! I Am Writer... Hear Me Roar! has three things going for it. First, she's a writer. Second, she's funny (I like funny; can you tell?). And third, LIONS. BABY LIONS, even. Need I say more?! Oh, and she's uber creative. I mean, I wouldn't think to just make my own blog award to give out... would you? So yeah, basically, awesome.

There are a TON more amazing blogs out there... but it's 1 AM and it's been a week since I got some decent sleep. So. If you want to read any more, scroll down and check out the Blogs We Like section on right. It's not an all-encompassing list of blogs we love, but it's a start.

So! Rules for this Roaring Lion award are as follows:

1. When you receive the award, post the picture! It's a very pretty lion that could either be yawning or roaring or both. Instant winner.
2. Pass on the award. I don't care how many people, as long as you do it. :) 
3. In case you haven't figured it out, if you receive the Roaring Lion Blog Award it means that you are awesome.

So. That's that. Thanks again, Gracie. ^^
Night, all!

Twin Moment of the Day... We'd both like some change.
On My Mind... My bed has a load of clean clothes on it; I'm contemplating sleeping on the floor.
Listening to... my growling stomach.
Grateful for... the RAIN! And the dropping temperatures. We're down to 90s and 80s, people!! :D
Wanting to... sleep.
Writing... Selfish

Growing Up

I think the title just about sums it up.

Life's been a bit rocky lately. I'm not sure when it isn't during the teen years, but in particular I've been feeling some of the not-so-pleasant sides of being 17. Maybe it's just me as a 17-year-old. Maybe not. All I know is I'm ready for it to be gone, or resolved, or... something.

I'm restless. I feel like a young bird just teetering on the edge of the nest. There's a long drop below, but blue skies ahead. Some days I feel ready to just jump out and fly, to get on with my life! Then others I'm not sure if I'm ready. Am I mature enough? Would that be stupid? Do I have the funds? The support? What do I want to do? What's the direction God's leading me in?

It's frightening. It's bittersweet. It's exciting. Exhilarating. Tempting. Sad. So many things. And honestly, it doesn't help to be female. Because let's face it, being a girl is just hard, period.

When I close my eyes and ask myself what I see in the future -- my life's future -- my answers change almost every day. There are the concrete facts; I will be writing, I'll be a mommy, I'll have a blue Toyota Corolla. And then there are the ones that hang in the air. Some days I'll be going to college. Others I'll be dancing, and choreographing my own Nutcracker show. And still others, on those gray, rainy days, I'm stuck in a job I hate, living a life I know I never want to. Keep in mind those are specifically on gray, rainy days. It never lasts long. I'm all about reaching for the stars, really.

I know in time, I'll do all the things I want to. I have a firm mind to. But what about now?

I'm not really sure what I'm wanting to get out of this post. Maybe I just wanted to share. Maybe I'd like some advice. I'll take anything.

If you've been through this, does it get better? What did you do? I can't afford to travel or to start horseback riding classes (which somehow feels like it would help). I can't afford to do much except work, write, and enjoy life as I can.

Okay. Here's an especially happy fill-out to lighten up the tone of this post. Thank you for reading. Hopefully I'll be more sparkly next time.

Oh! And it's official. I've ditched my anonymous name (much as I love it!) for my real one. Making the change from "Lizzy" to "Maggie" all over the internet is harder than you'd think.

Best Part of Today: The rain!! It's been SO dry.
Currently Craving: Change.
Music Pick: "Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble (He fixes EVERYTHING!)
I'm Reading: "The Near Witch" by Victoria Schwab
WATM: To Save Them (11,401 words) + new idea... don't ask

Caught Between Two Worlds

Ah, that title sounds tragic.

It's not.

Let me explain! Don't just run off. Goodness.

I started college classes, right? I'm doing them through dual enrollment (also known as dual credit).

So far, I'd say the classes are wonderful. I really would. They're fun and I like my professors, for the most part.

...Problem is, I'm only 16. I've never been crazy social, and that age difference (Yes, at its least it's an overwhelming 2 years *eye roll*) between me and all of my classmates is... daunting, despite it not being that much of a gap. Basically, I don't talk to people, and I just feel totally out of place.

At the end of the day, I don't feel in place with people closer to my age, either. Most of the time my friends are a little older than me... and so this year they all went off to college. I'm one of a few people that is neither college-age nor junior high-age. And it's lonely.

But! I have all sorts of wonderful people online. *cough* Twin, Canadian, Taryn, TEO, etc. *cough* So it's not tragic. It's just a fact. I'm sort of caught between two worlds. And I don't actually mind.

Anyone else feel like they're caught between two worlds, because of age/school, or otherwise?

In other news, the writing is... not going as fabulously as one could hope. Classes started this week, so I was oomph-less at the end of the days. But I'm already getting into a groove, so that should change. I still love my story. *hugs*

Aaand tell me how you're writing is going!! ^_^

Twin Moment of the Day... Neither of us like or understand American football's existence.
On My Mind... Why aren't my Jedi mind powers bringing the rain clouds to East Texas? Why??
Listening to... nothing, unless you count a squeaky fan.
Grateful for... AC. So much. So much love for the AC. *coos at it*
Wanting to... eat some picante sauce-cream cheese dip. It's basically yummy incarnate. ^^
Writing... Selfish (: