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.

My Thoughts on Hunger Games

With March sneaking up fast, and the advanced movie ticket sales blowing Twlight's out of the water, I've been overdue to blog about The Hunger Games, both the books (all 3 of them), and the upcoming movie. So, here's my Hunger Games story.

I first read The Hunger Games in late 2009, I think it was. My first impression was how ugly the cover was, and my second, that I probably wasn't going to like it. This was because, in general, I don't like post-apocalyptic stories of any kind, so the bit on the jacket-flap about being set in the "ruins of North America" made me skeptical.

The first few pages actually didn't hook me right away. In all honesty, if it weren't for the line where Gale hints at his feelings, I might have even put it down. Not permanently, of course, but put it down all the same. I didn't. From the reaping on, I was grabbed (and dragged) by the throat through this breathless, non-stop story that left me gasping for air, and for more.

I read Catching Fire as soon as I could get my hands on it, and was left gasping, and even growling, a second time. Only this was worse, because Mockingjay wasn't out yet. So I tried to put it out of my mind, and obsessed whenever it found its way there anyway. I squealed over the cover when its image was released -- such a pretty shade of blue! -- but to be completely honest, at this point, I was anxious to read for Peeta and Katniss. All I really wanted to know was if Peeta would win her over. If everything would be okay between them.

At long last, Mockingjay was released, and it was mine. I curled up in a squishy armchair, in a very quiet room, and I didn't move (except maybe to eat) until I was done. Slight exaggeration, but really! It was intense. I may or may not have cried and spoken out loud at the pages more than once, demanding they say something else. I finished it a little frustrated -- I mean, how abrupt was that ending?? -- but satisfied.

From this whole experience on, I've considered myself a fan. Actually, I did after reading the first book. I have a Hunger Games t-shirt (oh yeah!), I'm going to see the movie right on the 23rd (unfortunately no one would go with me to see it at midnight on the 22nd), and I will re-read all 3 books (happily) any time the mood takes me.

So what is it that draws me to this trilogy? What was it that evoked such emotion? In all honesty, I don't know. Perhaps it's just that I'm a romantic deep down inside, and something about Peeta's devotion, through thick and thin, touched that place within every girl that wants the same. Perhaps it's something about her writing style, how fast and present and in your face it is. I'm leaning toward the first.

No, I don't think she's the Best Writer Ever. It's not my Favorite Book In The World. But I do really love it, and, whatever its faults (as picked out by all the smart people on Goodreads), it works. It does what I want a story to do-- grabs me, tugs on my heart strings, and doesn't let me go until the last page. I LOVE these things in a story. The things that make you forget the world. And Hunger Games definitely did that for me. (It also sent me into a "Why can't all boys be like Peeta?" phase for a week or two after reading each book.)

As far as the movie is concerned, I can't wait to see it! I think Gary Ross has got the vision, and that he's cast some talented actors. I'm already prepared for the differences from book to script. All that's left to do is to see if it lives up to my expectations. I think it will.

That being said, I'm very happy for Suzanne Collins right now. She's in a place that a lot of writers dream to be in-- sitting pretty on the loads of cash that comes with bestselling novels, and watching as fans of her book buy tickets (by the thousands) to see its movie. That's got to be so rewarding.

Well. That's my two cents, really. I'd recommend Hunger Games to anyone who's looking for what I've described-- a fast-paced, gripping novel with a love story people like me (read: romantic, not-a-big-fan-of-over-described-hot-boys) will really enjoy.

Hope you've all had lovely Mondays!

Best Part of Today: Wandering through nature, soaking up every detail.
Currently Craving: Gelato. (I may or may not be heading out to buy some now.)
Music Pick: "Primavera" by Ludovico Einaudi
I'm Reading: "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen
WIP: Blink re-writes (0 words)

Writing Time

G'day, everyone! I'll spare you the spiel about how it's been a long time. It has. Let's leave it there.

Since I was last around, I've had a birthday, yay! I love birthdays, even not-my birthdays. Hehe. I also highlighted my hair. It was initially very traumatic because it was the wrong color, but it's all good now.

I want to present y'all with a question. I have a giant chunk of time right now (which would be why I'm writing this, heh) that I could, theoretically, be using to write. But I'm not, because whenever I try to write in the middle of the afternoon without some sort of motivation (word wars, for example), it fails epically. Two hundred words in an hour? It pains me. I'm very much a night person, and that is when you'll find me pounding away at my keyboard.

What time of day do you write best? And when you can't write in your favorite hours, how do you motivate yourself to write?

Also! I hereby promise to not be a lazy slacker anymore and to post again soon.

Twin Moment of the Day: Downton Abbey. We loves it.
On my Mind: the nap I am NOT taking at the moment.
Listening to: "Straight to You" by Josh Groban
Grateful for: No Latin homework!
Wanting: chocolate-covered bacon, anyone?
Writing: Defiance

Gearing Up for Edits!

Ugh. I have so much trouble with titles! I'm always wondering what should or shouldn't be capitalized, according to the Rules of Blogging. The way I did this post's title feels so... formal.

Ah, well.

Hi, everyone! Sorry it's been a while. I'm in an exciting place at the moment. As you probably know, if anything from the fill-outs at the bottom of each post, I've been drafting a YA fantasy for a while, Aqueous. Well, I finished it.

Let me pause for emphasis.

But you probably already know this, too. It was days ago. And I did announce it on Twitter. (What? You don't follow me? You can rectify this at once by clicking here.) Having another draft under my belt feels good and all, but it's forced me to face something I've been ignoring for a while.

Sure, I've written 10 novels (11 if you count a complete re-write of one of them), but I've never actually finished one. You know, torn it to shreds. Revised it. Edited it. Polished it until it shines.

And that kinda sucks.

Especially with all my future plans to be a published (and successful) author, sharing my stories and dreams with the world, one page at a time, I realized that I really need to do something about this. I won't be querying anything until I've rolled up my sleeves and plunged in. So, you ask, why haven't I?

Let's just be honest here. I've felt intimidated. Scared, even.

There's SO MUCH to do. How can I focus on it all? What if I miss something? What if I don't know how to fix something? What if I lose interest in the story, which has happened before? What if it's not "The Right One" to spend so much time on? What if it all just sucks? WHAT IF, WHAT IF, WHAT IF!

I was in this place when I asked Alison Weiss a question a week or so ago, during Write On!'s Ask-The-Editor session. Here is my question, and her amazing life-changing answer:

QUESTION: So, I'm drafting a novel right now, but I know that once I'm done, I'm going to read through it once, and then set it aside. After that I'm planning to pick up a novel that I finished and attempted to edit half a year ago. I'm a little bit nervous, because in the past, every time I've tried to REALLY edit and fix, I get overwhelmed by my story, and sometimes even sick of it before I actually GET anywhere. What are your suggestions? How should I begin? What's the most effective way for me to stay on top of things, and actually get work done on it?
Any advice will be UBER appreciated! And let me know if I need to clarify or re-word.
ANSWER: Hi Maggie,
I know just what you mean. Going back to a project to revise can be incredibly daunting. Where do you start. There's SO much that has to be fixed. What if the whole thing is just awful? 
Stop. Take a deep breath. Now, you're going to approach this with a different hat. 
Pretend you are not the author of this work. You're just a reader who picked this book up in the bookstore. What are the big pictures that would be going through your head as you're reading? Is the plot making sense? Are elements that are integral to moving your story forward introduced at the right time, or are they too early and killing suspense? Or are they too late and it's hard to figure out what's going on? Do you have places where you're getting bored? Are there places where things are moving too quickly and you can't keep up? What about your characters? Do you like them? Are they developing throughout in reaction to their circumstances, or do they just remain pretty much the way they were when the story started? Now you have some direction for improving the framework of your novel. 
Now, let's get a little bit more focused. Dialogue. Does what you're character is saying sound authentic to that character? If it's a teenager, is that how a teen speaks? (Read it aloud. If it sounds strange, maybe there's something to adjust.) In characters interacting to each other, to experiences, do they know only what they could possibly know at a given moment? Or have things that you know as the puppet master crept in that shouldn't be there? Voice: Is it consistent? Is it natural? Phrasing overall: Do your sentences flow naturally? Are there are places that are clunky, or too wordy, or not descriptive enough that you need to tackle? You should now be elbows deep in your revision and well on your way to getting everything "just right."
How to keep at it? I think you have to be disciplined. I'm sure you'd love to watch TV, or go to the movies, or clean your room (okay, maybe not the last one, but I certainly did a lot of this putting off tackling college papers) but you just need to get yourself in the chair and say "I'm going to work on this for this long today." And you need to do this consistently. There's always something else you need or want to do. But if you want to make this book work--if you want to be a writer--you have to make working on your writing a priority.

Now, if you're anything like me, and are (or have been) in my situation, you'll understand why I found this answer so incredibly helpful. She gave me a GUIDE. Something to follow. A clear, logical, no-drama approach to take.


I feel empowered.

I feel able.

I feel ready.

So, as I set Aqueous aside to rest for a little, it's time to warm up my fingers and pull Blink back out of the drawer. I may not be not super confident or excited -- I don't think I'll ever be one of those people who get excited about revisions -- but I'm ready.

And that's enough.

So. It's your turn! What's new in your writing lives? Coming close to finishing your WIP? Just finished, like me? Or ankle-deep in revisions and have some advice to share? I'm all ears.

Have a lovely Friday, everyone!

Best Part of Today: The gorgeous weather. And I do mean gorgeous.
Currently Craving: Not really anything. I'm perfectly content.
Music Pick: "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri
I'm Reading: "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen

An Update & Apology

I think I'm slowly becoming just as bad a blog writer as I am a blog reader. Which, you'll understand if you know how often I keep up with reading, is NOT a good thing. So, I'll start out with "I'm sorry." There hasn't been a peep out of me on this blog except to wish Constance a happy birthday.

No, I haven't been slacking. I can explain.

I've been out of town. First to see my out-of-state spine doctor (it was time to discuss important things, get x-rayed, fixed and straightened some more) and then second to visit family. All in all, I've done a terrible job keeping on top of online things. My biggest challenge -- and top priority -- was teaching myself an entire module of Chemistry, to ensure I maintain the straight A's that will get me out of the final. Blogging, forum-posting, tweeting and chat-hosting ended up pushed to the side.

But now, all that's past, and I'm back! With some good news and a handful of questions.

First, the good news.

You may or may not know that I've been on hold with the dancing thing for a while now, while I correct my Scoliosis. (I've brought this up in other posts before, as well as throughout my online profiles and "About Me"s.) While I was at the clinic this time, I talked to my doctor about the possibility of maybe doing ballet again. And here I'll try to keep exclamation points to a minimum, but not-so-long-but-kind-of-dramatic-story short, he said yes.


Words don't really describe how happy I was that entire day. Basically on cloud nine. Now it's just a matter of timing and money, but all lights are green, and I can't wait to be back in the studio! It's made turning 18 look three shades brighter.

Now, enough about me. It's time for that handful of questions. How are YOU guys? What's new? How are your novels coming? What've you been reading lately? Do share! I'm itching to hear from you. I've felt painfully disconnected the past few weeks. It might as well have been months.

Until next time, and Happy Tuesday!

Best Part of Today: The beautiful sunshine.
Currently Craving: Hot chocolate.
Music Pick: "Soldier" by Ingrid Michaelson
I'm Reading: "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen
WIP: Aqueous (50,117 words)

Happy Birthday, Twin!!

It's a VERY SPECIAL DAY!! Or more like the end of a very special day, at this point. Oops!

Since she'd never announce it, and if you haven't already heard or don't already know: Today is Constance's 17th Birthday!!

Confetti! Balloons! Presents! CHOCOLATE!

Happy, Happy Birthday to my wonderful Twin! Here is to the closing of a wonderful year of life, and the beginning of another, even better one! *raises hot chocolate*

And I just broke my own rule of not using asterisks in blog posts for actions. Oh well. It was appropriate.

Do shower Constance with well-wishes on her Twitter, in her inbox, and (if you're lucky enough to know her this well) Facebook. She's SO awesome, and we can use this opportunity to remind her!

Love you, Twin!!!