PSA: Facts About Identical Twins for Writers

I know reading fiction requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, but nothing brings a fictional world crashing down around me faster than simple factual inaccuracies.

Vampires? Sure. Superheroes? Why not. An overnight high school field trip with only male chaperones? Yeah, no. (Lookin’ at you Spiderman: Far From Home)

Which is why when the solution to the mystery novel I was reading (ok, listening to) revolved around a set of identical male/female (AMAB and AFAB) twins, I balked.

(In fairness to the author, I looked it up just to be sure, and apparently there has been a case where this happened, but the AFAB child was technically intersex, due to a genetic mutation, resulting in XXY chromosomes – which was not the case in the book, as far as I could tell).

So, as a writer, a Ravenclaw, and the mom of identical twins, I thought I’d list off some facts about twins that you may or may not know.

  • Identical twins occur when the (already fertilized) egg splits. The twins are genetically identical.
  • Fraternal twins occur when two eggs are released and subsequently fertilized by separate sperm. These twins can be any gender combination and are only as similar as regular siblings.
  • There is a third type of twin where the egg splits before being fertilized, so the twins are 3/4 genetically identical. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are believed to be this kind of twin.
  • Identical twins can share an amniotic sac (at high risk for cord entanglement), and/or a placenta (those who share a placenta are at risk for Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion Syndrome, where one twin steals nutrients from the other).
  • Twins make up 3/100* births. Identical twins occur in 3/1000* births.
  • No one knows what causes identical twins. Fraternal twins can run in families (due to a genetic disposition to release multiple eggs), can be a result of fertility treatments, or can occur when the mother is older than 35 (as the body releases more eggs with age – 17% of mothers over 45 have twins, mothers over 50 have a 1 in 9 chance of twins).
  • Giving birth to twins increases your risk of having twins again (applies to both fraternal and identical twins).
  • Twins can have different birthdays. In the time between birthing one twin and the next (minutes for a C-Section, up to hours for vaginal birth) the clock can tick over from one day, month, or even year to the next. In some cases of illness or premature labour, doctors can halt the birth process after one twin is delivered, leaving the second to be born as late as weeks later.
  • Identical twins can have different fingerprints.
  • Identical twins can develop differently (my sister-in-law’s identical twin brothers have a few inches of height and tens of pounds separating them).
  • Some identical twins (including my own) are mirror twins – instead of being truly physically identical, they are mirror images of each other (Mine even write with opposite hands, cut opposite teeth – eg. front left for one, front right for the other – and had opposite pointed ears at birth).
  • If identical twins have children, those children are genetically half-siblings (as well as cousins). If they have children with another set of identical twins, those kids are genetically full siblings.

*These numbers seem to vary from site to site, so I went with the ones that agreed with those my doctors told me.

 

Sources:

Cozy Mystery Bingo

The first books I ever read to myself were my aunt’s vintage Nancy Drew mysteries. In my tweens I was addicted to Christopher Pike novels, and in my teens I read pretty much every Agatha Christie, Nero Wolfe, and Ngaio Marsh book I could find.

In short, I love me a good cozy mystery. (Fun fact: the first book I ever tried to write was a cozy mystery. Enough said about that.)

This summer I went on a cozy mystery binge, reading/listening to around 50 books that would fall under the general “cozy mystery” heading (yes, I’m including the paranormal mysteries there).

And, as much as I love cozies, reading so many books so close together made it really easy to pick out the tropes. So, I thought it would be fun to create a cozy mystery Bingo Card (writers can use it as a guide, and readers can play along at home).

 

 

Female Main Character (MC)

 

 

MC has a cat/dog

 

 

Victim is a bad person

 

 

MC has a sweet tooth

 

 

MC has a quirky BFF

 

 

MC owns a business

 

 

MC can’t boil water

 

 

MC loves mystery novels

 

 

Book’s title is a pun

 

 

MC works with food or books

 

 

Book has a cartoon cover

 

MC is romantically involved with a cop

 

 

FREE SPACE

 

MC has been accused of murder (at some point in life)

 

 

MC is age 25-50

 

MC ends up in mortal danger

 

Justice is done in the end

 

MC loves to bake

 

MC has recently had a major life change (divorced, fired, dumped)

 

 

MC has a close relative

 

 

MC lives in a small town (often where they grew up)

 

 

MC is nosy

 

MC has a rich benefactor

 

 

Non-cop love interest = bad guy

 

Book includes recipes or craft patterns

PS If your tween/teen years involved as much Christopher Pike as mine did, you should totally check out #PikeFest on Twitter where Amelinda Berube recaps her stash of Pike novels with fresh eyes.

Writing Rituals and Superstitions

With tomorrow being Friday the Thirteenth, I thought it’d be fun to talk about writing rituals and superstitions (full disclosure: I’m also using it as a discussion topic for our local SCBWI Get-Together tomorrow, too).

For me, I almost always sit down to write with a fresh cup of tea (which is half a psychological/ritual thing, and half because my fingers always turn to ice when I’m typing for any length of time.)

As for superstitions, I tend to keep quiet about the querying process and/or being on sub (to editors), but I feel like that’s more of an industry-standard/unwritten rule thing, rather than a superstition.

I’m a little superstitious about dates, I guess, often choosing to send out queries on specific odd-numbered days, because they feel luckier somehow (yeah, yeah, I know I’m weird). This doesn’t apply to requested material, of course, which gets sent out ASAP.

What about you? Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions you follow? Share them in the comments!

September Check-In

Wow did that summer fly by fast!

I managed to squeeze in a bit of writing last month, despite spending half of my time out-of-town. I’m still loving my Adult Urban Fantasy WiP (most of the time), even if my progress has been slow. And I’ve got some great feedback from my critique group, which is also bolstering my confidence in the project.

I’m looking forward to having more time to write this month, now that the kids are back in school. We have a few family medical things taking my time in the near future, but I should still manage to get some typing in.

Health-wise, my Fibromyalgia has being laying low lately (*knocks on wood*) so keep your fingers crossed it continues long enough for me to get some work done.

As far as this blog goes, my plan is to return to weekly posts, although I may miss one or two due to those family medical things I was talking about.

And now, for my:

August Reading Stats:

  • Adult Paranormal Mystery (3)
  • Adult Mystery (22)
  • Adult Urban Fantasy (1)
  • DNF (3)

August Total:  26 (+ 3 DNFs)

Year-to-Date: 159 (+ 22 Re-Reads)