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.

NaNoWriMo Is Heeeereee

Wooahh... what is this thing? This... white space for typing? This purple website for... could it be, blogging? That ancient and foreign concept I've long forgotten how to do?!?

Let's just say that life has been happening and happening, and I'm lazy and I tend to have interesting priorities and somehow blogging didn't make the cut. I guess it's just not important anymore? Don't take it personally. I don't understand either.

But REALLY. This was bad. The entirety of October, I think. Maybe even September. I'll have to check. I really have no excuses except what I already said above. More specifically, it's been dance and work. I'm living the dream life as far as ballet goes and filling in all the extra hours with working to pay those very expensive dance bills. (And other bills, for that matter. It's not very fun to grow up.)

In the midst of all this craziness, I've been learning a lot about myself and the world around me, and it's been an interesting time of challenges, growing, changing, and understanding. It's been good. I only wish I'd blogged about some of those experiences, talked to you all a little more, kept in touch. You know. Those good things.

But alas, I did not! So here we are, on the eve of NaNoWriMo, with me talking myself into a corner and you most likely amazed that you're reading anything on the long-abandoned Twin Moment.  So, let's talk about NaNoWriMo. Seems fitting. I for one will be staying up until midnight tonight to start things off right. Thank you Twin for that glorious idea.  And I fully intend to write 50k or more and finish another sloppy, hurried novel. Woohoo!

What about you? Are you participating? Why or why not? Also, do include what's new. Because I feel like we haven't spoken in forever, and I miss you guys. Tell me how life is! How your novels are! Everything! Anything!

I'll be in the comments waiting.

See you there!

Giving 200%

Ahh, man. All the different ways I could word my apology! I have plenty of reasons, excuses and explanations for why there hasn't been a word out of me in forever. But maybe I'm just flattering myself that people are waiting? I mean lets be honest. I wouldn't hang around this blog, either, dead as it's been.

Since I've started dancing gain, I've (joyfully!) let ballet consume my life. Getting back into shape is a painful, time-consuming process, but I've been thoroughly enjoying it anyway. Even if it has pushed things like blogging, novel-writing and book-reading to the bottom of the pile.

But hey! Enough about the past. I'm blogging right now! Yay!

So, I thought I'd talk about something - just briefly - that I've been learning to do in ballet and that (as I so cleverly thought, while I was trying to decide on a blog post topic) realized can apply to writing, too. Actually, it can apply to any passion you have in life, that you want to do well at. And that is giving 200%. Giving your all. Every last ounce of your strength and willpower, and then some. Doing the best that you can, simply because you love something, even when it hurts. Even when you feel like you're failing. Even when the sweat rolls down your back.

Heard it before?

Writing takes so much (emotional) strength and willpower. Maybe it's not as physically exhausting as something like dance, but it will still make your brain hurt! It can make you cry and ache in a different way. But still, like any art form, it's something we do because we're passionate about it, despite the pain. Because we enjoy it. We love it. Right? If you're shaking your head, then maybe you need to be doing something else. I can't imagine what would motivate you to slave through the writing process but pure, raw love for the art of it. The experience. The reward. Whatever it means to you, personally. Unless it's money.

And in that case, maybe you need to be doing something else, too. But that's a different topic entirely.

Anyway. That love and passion is how I feel about dance. It's what motivates me to lift my leg just an inch higher, to point my foot a smidge harder, to put a smile on my face even when I feel clumsy and not-good-enough. That love for the art of dance, the expression through movement, is what motivates me to give 200% of myself. And then some. To mean it.

I firmly believe that THIS is the mindset that will carry you to your dreams.

Continue to give your best and give your best. Take correction, absorb encouragement, don't forget to breathe, and above all keep pressing forward. Because one day you'll meet your small goals, and then your bigger goals, and you'll be where you want to be, living life how you want to live it.

And until then, enjoy the process.

Enjoy the drafting. Enjoy the revising. Enjoy the editing. Enjoy the polishing. Enjoy the tearing, the shredding, the tears, the laughter, the disappointment, the success, the failure, the excitement, the raw passion. Because you love this. And you can do it.

I believe in you.

Give 200%.

And then some.

I'm done. Have wonderful Wednesdays, everyone! Enjoy the sunshine if it's sunny where you are, and the rain if it's raining where you are. And talk to me in the comments! Tell me what's new, how your novels are going, if you have any weekend plans. It's been forever.

Best part of today: Cold weather, warm sunshine.
Currently craving: A warm drink.
Music pick: "Time" by Hans Zimmer (Inception soundtrack)
I'm reading: "Reckless" by Cornelia Funke (it's so-so, in case you were wondering)
WIP: Drafting Survival (32,638 words)

Be Inspired Blogshop Meme

Hey, hey! We've been tagged by the lovely Silent Pages. (And twice by Amanda. The fien––charmer.) And we figured we'd just do a double-whammy post and squish all the awesomeness together. Less confusion (and fewer bloggers we have to tag) that way. Let's get this started!

1. What is the name of your book?

Maggie: Survival. Which, I'd like to say, is a VERY temporary working title! I know it's cliche, I know. I'll think of something else.

Constance: Ze name is Guilt! I dunno if it's cliché...but it fits. Like...a lot. You'll see soon, pretties.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

Maggie: Hmm...where did it come from? Well, I've always been fascinated by survival, and the idea that we 21st-centurians are too dependent on modern conveniences, to the point where if we were stranded in the wild for a couple days it could be the end of us. One of my favorite TV shows ever is Man vs. Wild-- I've seen every single episode available on Netflix. So I guess this story was just waiting to happen. :) It felt really natural once I got the idea (what if five teenagers, who don't really get along with each other, were put in a survival situation together!?!?) and started plotting for it.

Constance: My idea. HMM. I'm not entirely sure! I often wonder what it would be like to be stuck with different abilities––not necessarily awesome things like invisibility and flying and controlling elements––and be the only one. And once, a year or two ago, after feeling guilty about something my brother got in trouble for (I'm rather sensitive to the emotions of those around me...I'd say empathetic, but I can't use that word without thinking empath and super powers, which I do not have. So. =P), I wondered––what would it be like for someone to get the guilt of those around her...all the time. And from the times I'd taken the blame for things when I was little just so the getting-in-trouble could be done with, I added into that: what if the only way she could get rid of it was to 'fess up for these things she didn't do? (That bit has since been revised, but not totally.)

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

Maggie: Adventure, for sure. There's nothing fantasy in it at all (which is very unusual for me). It's (hopefully) gritty, real, and (definitely) set in this day, age and world. So, yes. Adventure.

Constance: Fantasy! Not epic, because it's very much focused on one person, and the world doesn't hang in the balance. But decidedly fantasy. However, it's not quite a medieval fantasy, either. They wear trench coats and fedoras, guns exist but aren't popular, and they have technology––through magic. It's supposed to have a sorta noir vibe. That's the goal, anyway.
4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

Maggie: Eesh. I'm going to have to agree with what Silent Pages said and go with whoever would play the characters best. I've no idea when this book will hit the bookshelves and, even less, when it would hit the big screen. (Like the optimism? I have big plans for my stories!) So even if I *did* choose actors now, they'll all be too old by the time it's ready. So, I'd say whatever budding young talents walk into the audition room and NAIL my characters will make me very happy.

Constance: I am going to be more exciting than Maggie, Amanda, AND Silent Pages by actually choosing a few people. If in some lovely world where my novel was finished, published, and had a movie in the works, my ideal cast would be...Andrew Lee Potts would be my MC's brother, Bazel. Which is wrong, because my MC and Bazel are actually Middle-Eastern in my head, but...I recently watched Syfy's Alice miniseries, and Potts plays Hatter, and he sorta acts like I imagine Bazel. So. Ethnicity aside, Potts could play Bazel's personality to the B. One of these darlings would be Twitchett, one of my other character's pet dragon. He's cat-sized like that, even. *pets him lovingly* (Because dragons make everything better!) I don't have anyone for the MC or Helena. But yeah. You gets Bazel and Twitchett, what more could you want?
5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

Maggie: One sentence? Well, for the first time, I'm ready with an answer! (Usually, I hem and haw at this question.) 5 teens are stranded in the wilderness of the Smoky Mountains and must rely on 17-year-old Liora Caldwell's knowledge of survival (and each other) to make it back to civilization- alive. May not be the most cleanly-written one-sentence synopsis you've ever read, but that's the story in one sentence! (Liora's the MC, if you didn't already figure it out...)

Constance: I had one sentence once. I don't know where I stashed it. Off the top of my head it is! When guilt-cursed Rena comes across the trail of a serial killer she must accept her estranged brother's help to track down the killer before he tracks her down––or the guilt from the murders drives her insane. Meh. I liked the other one I had better.
6. Is your book already published?

Maggie: *snorts* No way. I'm not even finished drafting it!

Constance: What Maggie said.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

Maggie: Wait, is the point of this to talk about a finished manuscript?? I thought it was your latest WIP? Well, uhmm... so far, I've been writing it for a month. Which is long, for me. I've been too busy to write the past couple weeks. It better not take any longer than half of September to finish. *severe glare at myself*

Constance: Oh heck no. I am not going to start this blog post over with a finished MS. Maybe I'll do that in a later blogpost. I was tagged three times, I could do that. =P
Ahem. I've been working on it officially since mid-July. June. I can't remember. I get those two mixed up sometimes.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

Maggie: I don't know. I don't read adventure. *shrug*

Constance: Er. Um. Er. I know not. I read fantasy, but I can't think of any other fantasies with noir-bents. (That's more steampunk, I think, and I don't read those much.) Grace...ling? No. Uuuhhh...Stories with magic in the backdrop, but main characters with unique abilities, weird even for a world with magic? WHY DO YOU ASK HARD QUESTIONS?
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

Maggie: None? I just got inspired and had to write it. No authors involved. ^^

Constance: None.
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

Maggie: It's big on psychology and relationships and the like. I'm having too much fun exploring the emotions of being stranded in the wild, the intense stress/burden of being the sole person responsible for the fate of four lives, etc. Also, the concept that you don't really know someone's true colors until you survive in the wild next to them. (My fascination with that idea began while watching Out Of The Wild: Alaska and Out Of the Wild: Venezuela, trying to predict who would be the first to bottom out and who would be the strongest and last 'till the end.) Survival has a lot of emotional turmoil, ups-and-downs, surprising twists, etc. and I'm really having fun putting my characters to the ultimate test, pushing their limits, and watching them break down (or rise up).

Constance: A girl who gets guilt from bad guys! And is a bounty hunter with a trench coat! And a mini-crossbow! Dragons. Unicorns (I have a link to explain how I logicked that one). Psycho villain (those are my favorite kind)! Did I mention the dragons?

 11. Tag five people!

1. Matt at One Page At A Time. (You've been tagged twice, dahling. You MUST blog. ^^)

2. My(Constance's) beautiful, brilliant, charming, funny crit partner Rachel at Fortune Favors the Brave. (So maybe I just wanted to take the moment to brag about her existence. You would too.)

3. Kaye at Watercolor Moods. She's so pretty and smart and should brag about her awesome story more.

4. Alyssa at I Am Writer... Here Me Roar. Hi Alyssa. You should do this, pretty please? ^_^

5. André! He doesn't exactly have a blog, but he has a tumblr, and he can use that, and I'm running out of teens and he better do it or else. *pleasant smile*

Feel free to grab and fill one of these out, even if you haven't been tagged! Maybe those aren't the rules, but they are now. And for your grab-and-filling-out convenience, here are the blank, unanswered questions:

1. What is the name of your book?

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

6. Is your book already published?

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

11. Tag five people!

The Strength to Share

This post is kind of about me, personally, and my writing journey. In particular, something I struggle with, and often stands between me and growing as a writer, I think. As I just announced the winner of a first-chapter-plus-query-letter critique over on Write On!, it got me thinking about critiques in general, and how I am -- wait for it -- afraid to share my work.

Not afraid to be critiqued, mind you. Official critiques, I'm okay with. I've been toughening my skin for years, thanks to some really important people in my writing life. While it'd be lying to say that it doesn't hurt anymore for me to hear that my character is unlikeable or my story is plotless -- I've had my fair share of pouting and discouragement, for sure! -- I will say that I've come a very long way. The prospect of having my work torn to shreds doesn't really daunt me.

Or does it?

Because here I am, facing this problem: I don't share my work. Can't. Won't. If you ask me: "Oooh, when will you be done? Can I be first to read it!?" I'll probably hem and haw some noncommittal answer, and you'll probably never see a paragraph.

I do realize this is a problem. And I've given it lots of thought.

Why don't I want to? 

Why is it so hard?

While digging around in my thoughts and actions, I've come up with this answer: It's not that I'm afraid of critique, necessarily, but rather, I'm afraid of a label. In particular, a "this is the best she can do" label. A sort of rejection, if you will. I don't want you to look at my work, today, and judge that as the best I can do. Because, whether it actually is or isn't, for whatever reason, I'm anxious to prove to you that it's NOT. That I will do better next time. Can do better. Simply must do better.

So just wait 'till next time, I say. Wait until the next novel. It will be good enough for you to read, then.

Of course, it never is. No sooner am I done with the next novel, I'm also in a hurry to bury it in a drawer somewhere and guard it, so not a word escapes.

This is my predicament, and it bothers me. I want to have a tough skin, in the sense that I can finish a manuscript and simply let a friend read it-- no big deal, right? I want to be able to let anyone read my work, faults or no, and trust that they'll understand I'm a learning, growing writer. We all are, after all. J.K. Rowling is still learning. Suzanne Collins is still learning. I sincerely hope that Stephenie Meyer is learning-- a lot. *cough* (Couldn't resist.)

Which brings me to the part where I implore for your advice and thoughts. What do you suggest I should do to kick myself out of this stuck place? Should I just send people my work without a second though, and be vulnerable? Let me know in the comments. We have tea, hot chocolate and big squooshy chairs down there. You should stay a while.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Best part of today: The cool morning!
Currently craving: A coffee-based drink.
Music pick: "Love" by Im Jae Bum
I'm reading: "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris
WIP: Drafting Survival (16,068 words)

Back in the swing of things

Ohhh my. I haven't blogged in so long. But it's okay, because here I am today, ready to share some stuff that's been going on in my reading/writing life and to ask about you and yours.

So. Here goes.

I'm writing again! Or I should say, drafting again. After trying and trying to get on the ball with Aqueous revisions, I just wasn't feeling it. You may or may not understand or work like this, but sometimes there are Other Stories just pressing on your mind, and no matter how hard you try to finish one thing, it's not where your heart is, so you might as well save yourself the time and energy and just GO WITH IT.

It was one of those situations. Aqueous is wonderful and I'll polish it one day, but that day is not today. And the story responsible for my distraction is -- surprisingly -- a YA adventure survival story. For someone who writes mostly fantasy/sci-fi, this is an unusual direction to go in, but I'm actually doing happy dances of excitement over it. (I guess that's kinda obvious since it distracted me from Aqueous.)

Yay for writing!

The other thing I wanted to talk about is the book I'm reading. "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris. Any of you seen the Johnny-Depp-starring movie that's so mouth-watering you should never watch it without a box of truffles in hand? Well, I didn't realize 'till a couple days ago, while perusing the library, that the movie is actually based off of a novel. And I was horrified, because I watched the movie first without even knowing. Some writer I am!

Anyway. I've really been enjoying it! So far it's proven to be just as sumptuous as the movie. I would recommend it if you want a delicious, satisfying read. (Of course, that may change when I finish it. I might really hate the ending. Who knows?)

So! This is the part where you tell me what you've been up to. What are you working on? What are you reading? How's your summer (or, er, winter...) going? And what are some ways I could motivate myself to blog more often? 'Cause it's just not happening.

Have marvelous Mondays, everyone!

Best part of today: The hot chocolate I'm about to make. (Ha!)
Currently craving: Chocolate, chocolate chocolate.
Music pick: "What's New" by Marian McPartland
I'm reading: "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris
WIP: drafting Survival (9,109 words)

Kinda been forever...

Wow. I've really, really dropped the ball on blogging lately. My excuse is life-- it happens, and it gets busy, right when you don't need it to. And, of course, there's laziness, too. That tends to get in the way more often than I'd like.

Since I don't have much to blog about, and it's been a while since we've talked, anyway, I'll just fire a bunch of questions at you!

How are you? What's new in your life? What have you been up to? Any new, awesome posts on your blog that I haven't yet read/commented on?

Share away!

Hopefully I'll have something more interesting for you guys soon.


Note: I wrote this post on Monday. Forgot to ... er, post it. Time for a journey into the past! (Though the emotions are still very present.)

First thing I'd like to say is that this is going to be a pretty personal post, but it's something I feel I should share with you all since I've talked about it a little before. Yes, if you haven't guessed already, it's about dance. 

In case you don't already know (and I'm sorry for repeating myself if you do!), I got the OK from my spine Dr. back in January to dance again. This is a really, really big deal to me after almost four years of being unable to. As you can imagine, the past couple months, there's been a lot of what-should-I-do-about-money and I'm-trying-to-get-in-touch-with-old-teachers and how-will-I-ever-get-back-into-shape? and OH-MY-GOSH-IS-THIS-REAL-LIFE!? A lovely swirl of emotions, but also confusing and a little scary and-- yeah. You get the picture.

Now that I'm a high school graduate (whoot!) and the stress of tests and classes is buried with triumph and relief in my past (for now...), I think I've finally absorbed the fact that I can really dance again. It only took me four months. *cough*

Long story short, I connected with an old teacher and am (almost) set up to take private lessons with her (experienced) daughter. Private. Lessons. That's interchangeable with "dream come true" in my life. They're offering me an amazing price that's sensitive to my budget, and are ready to work with me to get my body back into shape. 

There really aren't words.

My phone conversation with Ex-Dance-Teacher took about 48 hours to really sink in, and it's only this afternoon that I've sat scrolling through pictures of pointe shoes and grinning my face off. Because I can't believe I'm going to dance again.

Everything's so tentative yet as far as my plans and how long this will go on. And money is still something of an issue, so there's definitely lots more working in my future if I want to chase this dream. But chase I will. 

It's going to be wonderful. I can feel it.

Ehh. Now I feel all emotional. I want to thank you all for your excitement and encouragement and support in the past-- especially you, Twin. Whether you all know it or not, the things you've said to me through chat boxes, comments, and the Write On! forums have all uplifted or encouraged me in one way or another during this process of waiting-to and now getting-back-into dance. It all means more to me than I can express, even as a writer.

Have wonderful Mondays, everyone! Enjoy the little things in life tonight; they're what give depth and richness to life.

Best part of today: Making plans to dance again.
Currently craving: Exercise! (I know, right? I think it's weird, too.)
Music pick: "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy
I'm reading: "Mistborn Book #1" by Brandon Sanderson
WIP: AQUEOUS revisions + plotting TITLE-LESS + drafting SURVIVAL (not simultaneously, but rather in a disorganized fashion working on all 3, slowly)