Twin Talk Tuesday

There’s a great nutrition book out there called Eat This, Not That, where the author suggests healthier alternatives to classic items at fast food chains. For example: you have to have a burger? Get this one. Not the Double Whopper.

Well, what if there was a book like this for YA romances? We had to try it out. So today, we discuss some of the classic (and dramatically overdone) types of romance in YA books today, and suggest a more nutritious (and less cliche) variety.

Renee: Let’s start by talking about Eternal-SoulMates-Love-at-First-Sight love. I’m sure we can all come up with a few examples of this?

Diana: Hmm . . . not really.

Renee and Diana: *laugh uproariously*

Renee: I mean, look, we all know why people do it. Cuz itz romantical.

Diana: Exactly. Plus, unless this is a straight romance, you have a separate plot to move along, and therefore a limited amount of time to establish a great love.

Renee: It’s a fast and easy way to try and have the reader root for the main couple.

Diana: The problem is that this rarely happens in real life.

Renee: Except with me and my hubby

Diana: Oh, of course. :) So, you want the Soul Mate feel. What’s a healthier, less cliche alternative?

Renee: What if the two characters are already friends? They know each other, understand each other. This gives the basis of “perfect match”ness.

Diana: Yes, and then there is that delicious moment when they realize they have something more.

Renee: Exactly! A moment that could even happen early on in the book, like InstaLove, but it’s far more believable.

Diana: I think equally overused and tricky one to get right is the “I-hate-your-guts-until we-share-a-passionate-kiss-then-we-are-lovers” love

Renee: Yeah, equally tricky, and equally abnormal in the real world. I mean . . . nobody is really like that!

Diana: Except me and my hubby…;)

Renee: lol

Diana: This kind of romance often feels like another quick trick to manufacture tension.

Renee: What’s our fresher take on the I hate you/ I love you romance?

Diana: Well, I think you could keep that tension of the people disliking each other, but then have something happen that shows a better side of the person. A moment that doesn’t have anything to do with hotness or dreamy abs.

Renee: Yes. An “aha” moment that isn’t “aha I’m attracted to you,” but “aha, you’re not as bad as I thought.” And this leads to attraction. (And dreamy abs.)

Diana: Like Beatrice and Benedict!!!

Renee: Yes!

Diana: Preferably with Kenneth Brannaugh as Benedict :)

Renee: Mmmmmmmm-hm.

Diana: Okay, now the final overdone tension-maker: the Love Triangle.

Renee : dun dun DUN

Diana: Well, the love triangle actually has many different varieties, but all we see is the “MC chooses between Two Hotties” variety.

Renee: So true! Keep the triangle, but mix it up. How about “MC loves Hot Math Tutor, but he loves the redheaded Next Door Neighbor, and meanwhile Hot Lacrosse Player loves MC, but she’s unsure how she feels about him?” It’s a love triangle, and therefore it has the same kind of tension.

Diana: Even more, I think!

Renee: I do two. The options are endless.

So there it is. If you really love the basic idea of Soul Mates, Love Triangles, and the Love you/Hate you romance, don’t despair! You can still have it! Just write this, not that. 😉

And now, we’re going to throw one at you guys.

The milquetoast Bad Boy.

Who we are told over and over again is Teeeee-rouble, but around the MC he acts more like a smitten golden retriever/ Sir Walter Raleigh-putting-his-cloak-over-the-puddle-for-the-Queen-to-walk-over type of guy.

How do we make him fresher? Any ideas??


Twin Talk Tuesday

Welcome, welcome to another triple T. Coming to you this week in solid black and white, for the viewing pleasure of our audience on Google Reader. (Ooo, ahhh)

Today, we’re going to give you a piece of an actual conversation that took place between Diana and I. (Which we then shamelessly replicated for blogging purposes. We’re busy girls. We use whatever material we can.)

After talking politics for about an hour (and MAN, don’t you wish I’d post that?,) the topic turned to writing.

Renee: So, how are things coming with your novel?

Diana: Slowly. I am in the phase now where I daydream about the scenes I want to write, but am stuck because I need to set up the story.

Renee: Yeah, that’s how I was when I was writing my first story. You remember . . .the one about twin princesses. (*deep shame*)

Diana: No shame, Ren! It was a good idea!

Renee: No . . . no, it wasn’t.

Seriously though, I spent a solid year, probably closer to 15 months, writing out a detailed outline, and describing scenes I wanted to write. Trouble was, I wasn’t excited about the beginning. So after starting it about five different times, and losing interest each time, I just gave up.

Diana: The beginning is so hard. How do you set up the story and tell the reader what they need to know without it being SO boring??

Renee: Honestly, that’s my biggest struggle. With every book I’ve written, I’ve had to go back and rewrite the beginning. I think I had at least five different opening chapters with Searcher.

Sometimes I think that if you are going to have to rewrite the opening anyway, you might as well just skip to the good stuff, the stuff you are excited to write.

Diana: Like the passionate love scene where Roberto is wearing only bearskin loin cloth?

Renee: Oh, so you’re working on your memoir now? 😉

Diana: Ha. Perhaps one day. When I feel the public is ready.

Renee: Wise.

Diana: Seriously though, it’s hard, because I want to write, but I keep getting bogged down.

Renee: Every story has that moment where things really kick in. The hook, I guess. It’s that point where the reader goes, “Ooo!” I don’t think it necessarily has to be the opening chapter, but it needs to happen soon, for both the reader and the writer.

Diana: Exactly. I love my idea, but have not been able to gather the swirling images in my mind and make they come together into a story.

Renee: I’d say just write the scene that you are burning to write. You can add/perfect the exposition later.

Diana: You’re right. I bet that as I write the scene things will come together.

Renee: I think they will. Or maybe you’ll find you don’t need those expository scenes at all. I remember reading somewhere that most new authors start their book in the wrong place. And if you think about it, the beginning is what will hook that agent. That publisher. Those impatient teen readers.

It’s sooo important.

No pressure, though 😉

Diana: Piece of cake.

Seriously though, good advice, as always.
Ok, my checklist for today:
1. Write that scene I have acted out while doing the dishes
2. Throw out my current beginning
3. Eat an obscene amount of M&Ms :)

Renee: Perfect!! I’ll expect an email later today. (*stern glance*)

So what do you think, illustrious reader? How do you get yourself kick-started into a book?


Twin Talk Tuesday

We’ve all been there. You’re going along, thinking you have the bestest WiP EVER. Then, you see it. Your idea. Sitting on the shelves in Barnes and Noble. Written by someone else. Or maybe it’s a movie coming out this year. Or a T.V. show you just saw. The point is, we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt the despair that our brilliant, one-of-a-kind idea has been snatched up and sold by someone else.

Never fear, my friends. We could spend a whole post telling you that ideas, while important, are only as good as their execution. That even similar sounding stories will be completely different in the end. But you guys know this already. And besides, it’s much funner to SHOW you.

Renee: Today we are going to illustrate how execution is everything. We’re going to take the exact same idea and each write our own synopses for it.

Diana-Now realize that we are identical twins. We grew up in the exact same house. We read the same books. Saw the same movies.

Renee: Have a creepy, psychic connection. . .

Diana: Exactly. So if there were ever two people who could potentially write identical stories, it would be us.

Renee: I’m very interested to see how it turns out, actually.

Diana: I hope we don’t disprove our whole point.

Renee: Only one way to find out. Okay, so we need an idea.

Diana: Hmm. *thinking*

Renee: *brainstorming*

Diana: I know! How about a girl who can turn herself into Jello?

Renee: Pure genius.

Diana: I try.

Renee: Perfect. That’s our idea. A girl who can turn herself into Jello. Go forth and write your synopsis. Meet you back here in a bit. In the meantime, enjoy this visual inspiration.


Renee: Okay, I’m ready! VERY interested to see what we came up with. Here’s mine:

Hello, Jello

In a family where everyone has special powers, Matilda Waters got the short end of the stick. Her brother can fly. Her sister walks through walls. Matilda? She can turn into strawberry jello.

When her family is captured by a secret government agency, Matilda is left behind. Apparently she’s not the only one who sees her power as useless. Distraught, Matilda seeks out the help of the Hinklesons, a fellow power-wielding family. But they’ve been captured as well. Only Andrew Hinkleson, their dark, dangerous foster child, is left. Matilda fears all is lost, until Andrew reveals that he also has a special power. He can turn himself into a corn dog.

Together, Matilda and Andrew form a mock catering company, and manage to land a job catering the secret government agency’s annual summer picnic. On the menu—corn dogs and jello, baby. Revenge never tasted so sweet.

Diana: Brilliant.

Renee: *bashful shrug* Aww, come on. Let’s hear yours.

Diana: Cursed

For Alice Mint, having a mother who is a beautiful enchantress has many perks. She always has whatever she wants, lives in a beautiful home, and has lots of “help” with her schoolwork at the mortal high school she attends. Life seems perfect.

Then, one day, one of her mother’s jilted lovers puts a powerful curse on Alice so that she won’t become like her mother. He curses Alice that if she makes a boy fall in love with her, she will turn into Jell-o. Literally. That poses an interesting problem for Alice, who is an enchantress-in-training.

Alice teams up with Jake, a handsome young Lifter (someone who steals powers from Warlocks), to find the Warlock who put the spell on her and break the curse. The only problem is Alice is falling fast for Jake and she can see in his eyes that his feelings are growing. Can she break the curse in time? Or will she spend the rest of her life as a tasty dessert?

Renee: HA! That’s really good, actually. WRITE IT.

Diana: Maybe I should, maybe I should.

Renee: Well, we’ve proved our point! Look how different those two stories are. And they both came from the exact same, very specific story idea.

Diana: It really should put any fears to rest. The stories WILL be different. It’s all about execution.

Renee: Amen, sister.

So there you have it. Nothing to worry about. Just ignore that book/movie/T.V. show, and keep working on your brilliant idea.


Twin Talk Tuesday

Today we thought about discussing some important topics in writing. Something powerful. Meaningful. Something that people would always remember.

And then we decided that was too much pressure, so instead we’re going to talk about something fun.

So without further ado, I present to you our topic of the week. Character Pet Peeves. Or rather, characters that encapsulate our pet peeves.

Diana: So, the other day I watched this movie ( Which will remain unnamed lest it is your fave flix) Anyways, one of the characters totally bugged me. She was a super hot, Butt Kicking™ computer genius . . .working for the Pentagon of course!

Renee: She’s Super Woman.

Diana: I was like, Really? Can’t she just be smart and work for the Pentagon? Isn’t that cool enough?

Renee: That bugs me too. Where are the slacker chicks?

Diana: And its not enough that she is smart and awesome. She also has to be HOT— perfect hair, perfect bod, sassy stilettos.

Renee: And BTW, she’s not just “smart,” she has a genius IQ.

Diana: Natch.

Renee: But she’s also quick with the hilarious and sassy one liners! She’s no nerd!

Diana: Sidenote: If my husband reads this he’ll think I’m being catty :)

Renee: HA. Men. But you see, it’s not necessarily the character we’re mad at. It’s the writer!

Diana: True.

Renee: Speaking of sassy one liners, my pet peeve is the precocious, but adorable, and Infinitely Wise kid brother/sister. The kind of character that makes me wonder if the writer has ever met actual children.

Diana: Seriously.

Renee: There’s also the opposite, which bothers me as well. The child as an obnoxious terror—there to read the MC’s diary, embarrass them in front of the Love Interest, or run away in the last act of the book, and cause everyone to evaluate their motivations

Diana: I don’t know . . . I can relate to the whole “pesky sibling” problem.

Renee: *glares*

Diana: I kid because I love!

To be fair, those characters can be good and interesting as long as they are believable—

Renee: No-no-no. This post isn’t about being fair. I just want to talk trash.

Diana: Oh I can talk trash.

Renee: Bring it.

Diana: Okay. Here’s pet peeve number two: The meathead jock. Recognizable in the letterman’s jacket, the Meathead can be found: throwing scrawny kids against lockers, strutting down the halls surrounded by several other nameless jocks, and pulling crazy pranks

Renee: Yep. And he’s always getting drunk at parties. And sleeping with the drunk cheerleaders.

Diana: Yes, yes How could I forget?

Renee: This one is similar to my other pet peeve: The Lovable Lothario.

I know I’m going to annoy a lot of people, but I didn’t like Iron Man. Why? Tony Stark. He’s the “endearingly” cocky bad boy, who beds women left and right, but never remembers their names. He recklessly spends his gobs of cash, and drives a motorcycle or flashy car. He’s full of himself, but ya can’t hate him, cuz he’s witty and OH-SO-COOL. He’s got “swagger” as Ke$ha would say.

Diana: Never doubt the wisdom of Ke$sha.

Renee: *nods obediently*

Diana: Remember Ren, “Boys will be boys!” 😉

Renee: Ha! That’s exactly why men like the Lovable Lothario. Because they wish they WERE him. And women, well they fantasize about being The One to Tame Him.

Diana: *envisions herself taming Robert Downey Jr….*

Renee: You see?!! You’re as bad as the rest. I’m disappointed in you, sis.

Diana: *hangs head in shame*

Renee: haha. Ah, this has been fun.

Diana: Nothing like starting the day with some good old fashioned trash talk…

Renee: MM-hm

Diana: Though, I think we need a picture of Care Bears hugging or something. In case we offended anyone..:)

Renee: Done. And remember, one person’s pet peeve is another persons favorite, yadda yadda yadda.

What about you? What kind of character gets under your skin?


Twin Talk Tuesday

Today I am excited to announce the first installment of Midnight Meditation’s new weekly feature: Twin Talk Tuesday.

For Twin Talk Tuesday, (or Triple T,) Diana and I will debate and discuss topics that are on our minds. Or should I say MIND, because, ya know, we’re telepathic and all. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

Today’s topic is the ever present LOVE triangle. Love it? Or leave it?

Renee:Personally, I’m a fan, and I’ll tell you why.

1. Love triangles add TENSION
2. Love triangles are FUN
3. I kind of have a thing for tragic love, and with a LT, there can only be one winner. Therefore one person is all tragic and sad.
And I like that.

Diana: Ok * cracks knuckles* Why do I take issue with LTs?

1. Love triangles are cliche
2. Love triangles …..Ok I’m not going to try the three point approach. I guess my biggest problem with them is that they is rarely a surprise in them. We always know who she is going to choose. Think about it, name me one LT where you were surprised by the girl or boy’s choice.

Um . . . Well, I was going to say Peeta, because he went all tracker jacker crazy, which I bet NO ONE saw coming. But I guess we all kinda knew she’d end up with him in the very end.

***End spoiler***

Diana: How about Pride and Prejudice? Elizabeth-Darcy-Wickham. Who should poor Elizabeth choose? Rich handsome Darcy? or soldier boy Wickham? Obviously, she’ll pick Darcy.

Renee: Ah, but you see, Elizabeth doesn’t like Darcy at first. And Wickham doesn’t really like Elizabeth. I’d argue that P&P is not a true love triangle.

Diana: Ok, what about Arthur-Guenivere-Lancelot?

Renee: A love triangle, indeed. And we all love it. (Boo-ya)

Diana: Ok…. we all do love it….

Renee: I rest my case.

Diana: Maybe I am changing my point. There ARE classic LT’s that work. Maybe they work so well that everyone tried to copy them . . . and most failed.

Renee: I can agree with that.

Diana: For example..The Notebook.

Renee: Don’t diss Old People Love!

Diana: Oh I am not dissing old people love! (You are talking to the girl with the movie Lovely, Still on my queue)

Renee: HA. Actually, I know YOU wouldn’t diss old people love. (Little Known Fact: Diana has a crush on Peter Coyote.)

Diana: No comment. :) Seriously though, I’m dissing the fact that the Allie-Lon-Noah triangle is poorly constructed. The Allie-Noah love gets tons of attention [(at least in the movie) I have not read the book have you??] and they devote ten seconds to her love with Lon and when the moment of choice comes we are supposed to believe that she would actually choose Lon over her EPIC love with Noah?? please…

Diana: Or the Ross-Rachel-Joey triangle from TV. I mean . . . JOEY?? Don’t get me wrong, he was a semi lovable character, but that was a bit of a stretch

Renee: True, true. Oh, I have one! OMGDawson’s Creek?! Though in that one Joey and Dawson did NOT end up together. Unexpected, at least. Made up for a bit of the melodrama

Diana: Didn’t see it.

Renee: Now THAT’s tragic

Diana: hmmm, I’ll have to look it up.

Renee: No really. Don’t.

Anyway, you do have a point. I get annoyed when the other guy feels arbitrarily added on for Tension™. But you have to admit that when they get things right, it’s AWESOME.

Diana: Well . . . yes.

Renee: Like Arthur-Guenivere-Lancelot.

Diana. True. OR Scarlett-Rhett-Ashley (yowsa!)

Renee: YES!!

Diana: Anna-Vronsky-Kitty (SIGH)

Renee: Oh H-yes :)

Diana: I guess my point is, love triangles can be a guilty pleasure, but it is a bit like making bbq ribs. It takes a lot of time (you can’t rush good ribs), it takes just the right seasonings, and then it has to be grilled just enough, otherwise forget it.

Renee: Now I’m all hungry . . . (For ribs, or a good love triangle? Or BOTH at the same time? *ponders the awesomeness*)

Renee: Well, it looks like this first ever twin debate may just have a warm, fuzzy ending.

Diana: Aww


So what do YOU think? Love Triangles, love or loathe? Name your favorite love triangle in the comment’s section! Unless of course you only loathe. In which case, share why you do!