Friday, 27 April 2012

A guest post by two 'been there, done that' siblings.

Hello all!
On a normal day we would be posting something random we've learnt as Dan has done all week. Today we're giving up our blog spot to host two siblings who have already enjoyed self publishing success. Their latest ebook, Gunning Down Romance, a trio of gory tales, is available on most of the big ebook sites now.

Despite our better judgement we're giving them free reign, so everything below this paragraph is by them. We hope you enjoy it.

We're honoured to be invited on to Sean and Dan's blog and will try to behave ourselves. We heard about their challenge when for some reason, they started following us on Twitter, tiptoeing after us in the shadows and ducking into a doorway whenever we turned around. We were intrigued by their mission so followed them back. Or Tag Stalking, as we like to call it. We personally thought they were mad. And as we're mad too, we quickly got swept up with it. It's such a great goal and we're excited to be watching their journey.

Like these guys, we're also siblings who write together. Though we're slightly different in that we're identical twins, so in a sense we share a brain and when we want ideas, we bat them back and forth to each other via our unique Twin network. Like watching a tennis match without the neck strain.

When we first started writing about seventeen years ago, we wrote separately, though our stories had similar themes - a lot of people died in hilariously gruesome ways. We recently discovered stories we wrote when we were nine or ten and they also had gruesome but funny deaths. And yet a child psychologist was never called...

It wasn't until we started submitting work seven years ago that our mum suggested we combine. She asked how we'd feel if only one of us got published. The answer - devastated. So we put both names on our submissions, but still wrote separately. We'd always swap work and redraft each other's stories, so they were kind of both our work anyway.

Five years ago we started writing short stories together and came up with our pen name. One of the first stories was published by Legend Press in 2008. After that we then started writing novels together. Now we wouldn't do it any other way. We write about two pages (1000 words) then switch. We don't tell each other what we've written, or what we want to happen unless one of us has a strong idea of what they want to happen next. We're not planners. We'll often sit down with absolutely no idea what we're going to write about, powered only by Red Bull and our twisted imaginations. So at switchover time, the second one will come in, read what's been written then continue it.

Once we've finished, we'll do separate redrafts, using a colour so we know what's been added. The only time we'll discuss what to cut is if we're not sure of something. Sometimes one might call the other in if they're stuck for a word, or have a vague idea what they want to say, but can't put it into words. Other than that, we work on the piece like it's our own and cut what we want to with no hard feelings. By the time the story has been redrafted a couple of times, we can no longer remember which parts were written by which twin.

It helps that we have identical tastes and writing styles. Whichever one of us starts the story, sets out the tone, style and voice and the other one only needs to read it once before automatically matching it. We call it being tuned into Twin FM and our mum often has to remind us, during her beta reader role, that not everyone is tuned into the frequency. What makes sense to us, is just static to everyone else.

We released our first ebook, Gunning Down Romance on Valentine's Day as we always write anti Valentine's stories and release them on our blog. This year we decided to release an ebook. And gave ourselves a month to learn about self-publishing, formatting, cover design and creating a book trailer, so we can understand Sean and Dan's crazy quest. After experimenting with different styles, we've finally found our niche - horror comedy. Gunning Down Romance has plenty of both. Except our male friends who've read it are now slightly scared of us. In releasing a funny, gruesome anti Valentine's book, it appears we've now rendered ourselves completely un-dateable. Might just have to release GDR 2 next year...

The crazy @CLRaven duo.
Visit their blog today.


  1. thanks for letting us on guys. Your blog has been so inspiring to us, even though we've already done the same journey, but we've learned so much from you. We've loved getting to know you on Twitter and can't wait for your book to be released. You can have a guest spot on our blog any time.

  2. A very telling examination of the process of one writer as two people, and some background into the deep soil of their collective mind. Knowing this info makes them moderately less scary!

    1. Thank you :) Please, don't have nightmares :D

  3. LOLOL @ Unique Twin network

    For the record, I was never scared. But then, I'm not a guy :D

    1. not even a teensy bit scared? How about our photo? Is that not making you scream in terror? :D

  4. Dear C.L. Raven,

    Thank you very much for the insightful post today. It was very interesting to learn your writing process and how much your mother has influenced you. Also, your humour and exuberance is wonderful.

    Thank you for sharing,

    All the best,
    RK Charron

    1. thank you for reading! It certainly helps being so in tune with each other and our mum is there to remind us of how other people see or read things. She's our voice of reason :)

  5. I wonder if there are any other examples of identical twin authors writing this way?

  6. there are identical twins, the Musgray twins in Scotland. Not sure about their writing style but they once wrote into Writing Magazine in response to a story we'd had critiqued there, praising us and wishing us luck as they were the only twins they knew of who wrote together

  7. I loved gDR. You girls are awesome.