My current WIP features a set of identical twins. When I dug into researching twins, I turned to my totally awesome writer friend, Tawney Bland. Not only is she a great writer but she is also an identical twin. Her sister, Kristen Hunt, is a writer too, and released her debut novel, BLONDE ESKIMO, earlier this year. Together, the two sisters host a fun blog called Twinning for Books. Tawney came back with some wonderful info that helped me a ton. With her permission, I’m posting it here in case anyone else is looking for insight on being or writing twins.
What is the best thing about being a twin?
The constant companionship of having your best friend with you 24/7. It’s kind of cool having someone look like you, getting so many questions.
What is the worst thing?
Sharing everything! Just because we’re twins people think that they can just get a gift for us to share or that we like the same stuff. Not necessarily. We share friends too.
Have you ever been able to successfully impersonate your twin?
Yes! Senior year prank. Kristen and I switched classes making sure I had the same moles on my neck, which my teacher always checked for. We used a brown marker for that. It was fun. I got my sister in trouble and when I was asked to stay after class I told him Kristen will see him tomorrow, I’m Tawney. The whole class died.
What is it like growing up with a twin?
In what ways are you alike? How are you different? We shared everything. Room, car, birthday. Sometimes you want to be your own person. But I would never changed it for anything. I love her and we have this bond. We can look at each other and know what we are thinking. We did have our own friends and hobbies. It kept us sane instead of always sharing.
Is it true that twins have a sixth sense? Can you sense when your twin is in danger?
I’m not sure maybe? In third grade I hurt myself on the play ground and my sister immediately knew it was me. Sometimes I’ll call Kristen knowing she needs to talk or had a bad day. Gut instinct.
Do books and movies usually accurately show what it’s like to be a twin? What do they get wrong? What do they get right?
Sometimes they do. Twins are their own person. They aren’t just two siblings that act as one. I get frustrated when they show twins happy and loving to each other. We are so close to each other that we fight constantly. Over stupid stuff. But a few minutes later we apologize and forgive. It’s hard to stay mad at each other.
What advice would you have for writers attempting to develop characters who are twins?
There are different types of twins. Fraternal, those born from different eggs. Sometimes they look like each other sometimes they don’t. identical twins are born from the same egg and look exactly alike. Twins have their own personalities. They may look alike but one can be more happier or outgoing than the other. It could be subtle but it’s there.
You’ve written books with twin characters? Any tips on creating good descriptions of people who look a lot alike?
Usually I describe one character and then I get to the other twin and say she or he is the exact image but with subtle differences.
Do you think it’s easier to write fraternal or identical twins?
Identical. They look and act more alike. Fraternal are more their own person and personality.
Your twin is also a writer? Do you guys have similar writing styles?
Yes, sometimes I read her stuff and think it’s mine.
Big thanks to Tawney for answering all my twin questions!
What about you? Any plans to write twins?