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missesdash
07-16-2012, 10:11 PM
Writing a new manuscript where the two main POV's are twin brother and sister (both 18). I have two sisters, but we're 5 and 7 years apart. Basically I want an idea of the dynamic between siblings who are the same age.

Are they very close? When they fight is it more intense? Are they always friends?

I know experiences vary, but I don't want it to read inauthentic. So if you're a twin or know some very well: What are some common misconceptions? What are things about twin relationships that people often get wrong? Are there any recurring themes in the dynamics between twins you've met?



Thanks :)

Bufty
07-16-2012, 10:19 PM
I am a male twin with a twin sister. We are close but that's it - whether the closeness is because we're twins or not, I don't know. I have other sisters, too.

The only difference between me and my twin and me and my other sisters is that my twin and I know we are twins. We were the same age- same birthdays - have always known we were twins.

But there's nothing in our relationship that distinguishes us from any other normal brother and sister apart from the simple fact that we are twins and we know it.

So, in my humble opinion there's no 'authentic' way for twins like me and my sister to behave, or way in which they differ from other siblings so my suggestion is don't create a specific 'difference' or 'closeness' unless it is specifically relevant to the story.

Thump
07-16-2012, 10:26 PM
Not a twin but my sister and I are just over a year apart. We have a very difficult relationship. We have similar tastes and senses of humor and when we get along, we really get along. We can be great friends. But when we fight, it's war. She was my worst bully growing up, even though I am older (I'm also better tempered). There are some serious jealousy issues, mostly on her part but some on mine as well. Fom her it's the fact that although we are so close in age, my parents treat me much more like an adult and trust me more. Then again, she hasn't done anything to deserve either ;)

All sibling relationships are unique, even among twins, but I guess some issues that might arise often are like my sister and I, who gets "preferential treatment" (perceived or real), are both sibling "succeeding" equally etc? When two people arer almost or exactly the same age, I guess they compare with each other more than usual.

frimble3
07-16-2012, 11:49 PM
Not a twin but my sister and I are just over a year apart. We have a very difficult relationship. We have similar tastes and senses of humor and when we get along, we really get along. We can be great friends. But when we fight, it's war. She was my worst bully growing up, even though I am older (I'm also better tempered). There are some serious jealousy issues, mostly on her part but some on mine as well. Fom her it's the fact that although we are so close in age, my parents treat me much more like an adult and trust me more. Then again, she hasn't done anything to deserve either ;)

All sibling relationships are unique, even among twins, but I guess some issues that might arise often are like my sister and I, who gets "preferential treatment" (perceived or real), are both sibling "succeeding" equally etc? When two people arer almost or exactly the same age, I guess they compare with each other more than usual.
Similar story here. Very similar, possibly we were switched at birth?
I've come to the conclusion that it's more down to closeness in temperaments and interests, rather than closeness in age.

missesdash
07-17-2012, 12:00 AM
Thanks for everyone's input so far. I guess it seems like when the ages are closer, the power dynamic is more equal?

For example, my sister is seven years younger than me. If we to fight like cats and dogs, that would make me a bully or immature.

frimble3
07-17-2012, 12:44 AM
I think most of it is parental attitudes. My mother, run off her feet, poor woman, (and an only child, so she had a romantic view of sisterhood) found it easier, and kind of cute, to treat us like twins. She made us little matching outfits. My sister was skinny, I was fat, so that worked well.
In a misguided effort to reduce conflict, they got the the same toys. Two of everything. All the superficial sameness did was drive us to ferocious competition over any minor distinction: "Mine is better, nyah, nyah!", "She got the red one!", "Why isn't mine ...?".
We had fine eyes for distinctions, differences and perceived defects. All their efforts to be 'equal' did was to make it worse, because, in the end, we were competing for signs of our parents' love.

A wider age difference would have let our parents see our other differences, that I was a quiet kid who liked dolls, and books and crafts, and my sister was more outgoing and active (I think she really would have benefited from school sports programs - not around in elementary school in our day) so there really weren't many things we enjoyed doing together.
For what it's worth, my sister got the short end of the stick. I was 'easy', 'a good girl', a pleasant, apathetic, agreeable lump. In comparison, my colicky, ran-before-she-walked sister was 'difficult'. And I was always a grade ahead of her, so she was always suffering by comparison.
Seen by herself, she was a bright, charming, sociable girl who thrived on stimulation. It was birth-order bad luck that I was what they were used to.

Thump
07-17-2012, 12:54 AM
OMG! We ARE the same person! Everything you just wrote, I could have written the exact same thing! Down to our mothers being only children and having romantic views of sisterhood!

I had to put my foot down when I was ten and have my mother pick my sister's hair cut and for the cut to be done before I chose my own. Otherwise, we would have ended up once again with the same hair AND same clothes.

I always got on with my youngest sister better. I think the 5 year gap between makes all the difference. I was old enough when she was born that I didn't feel the need to compete for my parents' time or attention and to want a baby sister. Also, her personality matches my mine much better. She's really sweet and conflict-averse. She also doesn't get along that well with the middle one but then, that one has always been difficult at home.

frimble3
07-17-2012, 01:13 AM
As parents, I think the combination of 'only child' mother and 'youngest of his family' father had a steeper learning curve than most.

My mother once declared to me that one of the reasons for having my sister was so that I would 'have a best friend'.
Admittedly, my sister and I get along better now that we're adults, but for some reason, I've never had a best friend.

Summonere
07-17-2012, 07:25 AM
What's it like to be a twin?
I'm a twin. Maybe I can lend some insight. Goes like this – at least the first question – it's pretty much like having any other sibling, except you have a playmate when you're a kid, a buddy when you're older, but one with whom you've shared just about everything, which has curious side-effects we'll get to in a minute.



Basically I want an idea of the dynamic between siblings who are the same age.
Dynamic? Let's see … we pretty much get along all the time, have never had a serious fight, remain friends, and (curious side-effects, now) can finish each other's sentences, accurately estimate the track of each other's thoughts in conversation, and can speak in code based upon a great many years of common experience and exposure to pop culture. Oh, and we pretty much have the same tastes in just about everything. Perhaps most comically, food. My sister-in-law can pretty much tell whether or not I'll like something based upon whether or not my brother does, and vice versa.



So if you're a twin or know some very well: What are some common misconceptions?
I dunno. What do you have in mind? Here's a popular one I used to get in kiddie school: If someone pinches one twin, does the other twin feel pain? The answer is no. The better answer is this: the pincher will likely get pinched back. Twice.

Here's another: twins should always like everything, equally. We don't. (Though mostly we do, at least my brother and I.)



What are things about twin relationships that people often get wrong?
Hmm. Once again, I dunno. What do you have in mind?



Are there any recurring themes in the dynamics between twins you've met?
I've known five other sets of twins (one set identical, the others fraternal), and the curious thing is that I've always managed to tell them apart, but confuse the names. I know which one I'm looking at, but the right name doesn't always occur to me straightaway. Maybe that's just me. See, I do the same thing with all three of my nephews, only two of whom are twins.

lac582
07-17-2012, 07:39 AM
I have a fraternal twin sister, and we have no other siblings, so I have no basis of comparison as to whether our relationship is any different than with different-aged siblings, but my instinct is no. We're really different, both physically and in personality, so we went through phases. As young kids we were really close. I don't remember my parents ever really playing with us, just supervising as we occupied each other. As teens we fought and didn't like each other very much. Now, as adults, we're close again. Through high school and now we share a group of friends.

Thump is spot-on about the constant sensitivity to favoritism and unfair comparisons by both parents and teachers regarding achievements.

One thing that I find funny is that I ended up marrying a man who has certain personality traits that are reminiscent of my sister, and likewise her fiance shares a lot of similarities with me.

Also, although we don't look remotely alike (though we do look like we're related), we DO sound really similar. Even our parents sometimes have trouble distinguishing us on the phone.

Chasing the Horizon
07-17-2012, 07:49 AM
I'm not a twin, but I researched it a great deal for my books which star twins. I ended up coming to the conclusion that twins are basically just like any other siblings. Sometimes they have a huge amount in common and are best friends for life. Sometimes they hate each other. Usually it's somewhere in between.

Your OP says the siblings are brother and sister, so they're fraternal, and probably wouldn't have had the issues of parents and others constantly expecting them to be alike. So the relationship can basically be whatever you want it to be.

Becca C.
07-17-2012, 10:48 AM
I'm not a twin, but I can point you to an interest set of twins!

/puts on hockey fan hat

My avatar is the logo of my hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks. The two best players on the team are a pair of identical twins from Sweden, Henrik and Daniel Sedin. They've been playing on the same team, same line, since they were two years old and first set foot on the ice. When they were nineteen, they were drafted into the NHL and set a new precedent by refusing to be separated. They wanted to go to the same team. We got them. Their dual-action goals are famous. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK2CMDsm9YE) It's uncanny how they find each other on the ice without even looking. They can finish each other's sentences, and they literally know everything about each other. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAxXD4sYUks)

I might be the only one who cares, but their dynamic is really fascinating.

Chasing the Horizon
07-17-2012, 12:16 PM
I'm not a twin, but I can point you to an interest set of twins!

/puts on hockey fan hat

My avatar is the logo of my hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks. The two best players on the team are a pair of identical twins from Sweden, Henrik and Daniel Sedin. They've been playing on the same team, same line, since they were two years old and first set foot on the ice. When they were nineteen, they were drafted into the NHL and set a new precedent by refusing to be separated. They wanted to go to the same team. We got them. Their dual-action goals are famous. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK2CMDsm9YE) It's uncanny how they find each other on the ice without even looking. They can finish each other's sentences, and they literally know everything about each other. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAxXD4sYUks)

I might be the only one who cares, but their dynamic is really fascinating.
That is interesting (I have zero interest in the NHL and so have never heard of them before).

I do think the extreme bond between identical twins is overplayed in media to some extent, but then there are definitely cases IRL that turn the cliché into Truth in Fiction.

MKrys
07-17-2012, 12:18 PM
I'm not a twin, but I researched it a great deal for my books which star twins. I ended up coming to the conclusion that twins are basically just like any other siblings. Sometimes they have a huge amount in common and are best friends for life. Sometimes they hate each other. Usually it's somewhere in between.



I'm an identical twin. This answer.

EMaree
07-17-2012, 12:42 PM
This is the perfect description:


I think most of it is parental attitudes. My mother, run off her feet, poor woman, (and an only child, so she had a romantic view of sisterhood) found it easier, and kind of cute, to treat us like twins. She made us little matching outfits. My sister was skinny, I was fat, so that worked well.
In a misguided effort to reduce conflict, they got the the same toys. Two of everything. All the superficial sameness did was drive us to ferocious competition over any minor distinction: "Mine is better, nyah, nyah!", "She got the red one!", "Why isn't mine ...?".

Also,this:


I ended up coming to the conclusion that twins are basically just like any other siblings. Sometimes they have a huge amount in common and are best friends for life. Sometimes they hate each other. Usually it's somewhere in between.


I have a twin sister, identical when we were younger before we grew up and started looking different.

We are polar opposites, and while we get along in brief doses if we spend too much time together it always ends in fights.

anthony draco
07-17-2012, 06:35 PM
And here I thought stereotypically that they're alike.

StephanieFox
07-18-2012, 12:35 AM
My husband is a twin. His brother is nothing like him, physically or emotionally. The brother is geeky, not good with people, interested in computers, about four inches taller, slender build. My husband is much more athletic, went to art school, is short and muscular. They were close when they were very young, but when they got a bit older – high school age – well, not so much. My husband was and is the dominant twin.

johnnysannie
07-18-2012, 04:18 PM
I'm the mom of twins, girls, now sixteen and twins run in my family so I've observed several sets.

My twins look a great deal alike but it infuriates them if people - mostly in the outside world - can't tell them apart. School mates who've known them since grade school especially anger them.

Their personalities, though, are very different. And yes, they fight often and ferociously but to them, it's not as awful as it seems to others. I've heard the same thing from another parent of twins (in his case, a son and daughter)....their fights seem intense but they don't even always see them as arguments.

They're close, overall, but they have their space too.

Although almost everyone wanted to buy them matching outfits as babies and toddlers, I have always let them have their own style which again is very different.

DrunkenLilacs
07-19-2012, 02:04 AM
All sets of twins are different. I'm an identical twin and had a lot of friends that were also twins (both fraternal and identical) in the past, and even now. Where my sister and I hate being compared, a few of my other twin friends enjoy that. We are so close it makes other people sick. When we were younger, we had our own language and from time to time still use it when we're feeling very "twinny." We also tend to have the same emotions at once. We'd just look at each other and say, "Don't you just wanna cry right now?"

Having a twin, at least to me, feels like you're alone, but yet you still have a friend. Sometimes I forget she's another person. Like it'd be early at school and none of our friends are there yet--I'd describe it as being alone.

We do have different interests, but it's almost like an extension of each other's. We support each other, but at the same time, if she does something wrong, I won't be afraid of telling her so. I never have to worry about hurting her feelings because she knows that my opinion is just to help her, and vice versa.

Most twins that I've met will have the natural instinct to protect or defend their sibling. They also notice that they subconsciously figure out everything about their twin, just by watching their interactions and stuff. I think it's like that for most singleton siblings, too, though.

crunchyblanket
07-21-2012, 02:01 AM
I have a twin brother who is the opposite of me in almost every way, physically and personality-wise. He's tall and dark, I'm short and pale. He's laid-back and laconic, I'm a highly-strung gobshite.

We were closer as small kids - we used to play together, sleep top-to-tail in the same bed when one was sick or unhappy. We'd share toys and food and even clothes. As we got older, we grew apart and fought an awful lot - I think our personalities were just too disparate. I'm closer to my younger (half) sister than I am to him, and I think he'd say the same.

We don't have any kind of special bond, mystical or otherwise - we're just siblings, really, although we do have the odd in-joke that nobody else gets.

The_Ink_Goddess
07-22-2012, 01:55 PM
I dunno, though, to me...I'm a fraternal twin (actually it's ambiguous whether we are fraternal or identical...long story) with a sister, and I do think it's different (is this just special snowflake syndrome?)

Twin-relationships vary A LOT, like any other siblings, but I think there is wider scope for emotional intensity and closeness (as well as scalding arguments) with twins, just because most twins spend a lot of time together, esp. when they're younger, and they will often know and remember more about each other than other siblings. [/generalisation]

Twins cannot feel each other's pain, but my sister and I have been together pretty much our whole lives. We told each other everything when we were kids and, as a result, I do think we have a very strong sense of each other's thoughts and opinions. It happens to us a lot that we "take the words out of each other's mouths." Funnily enough, it can also happen apropos of nothing, and there are odd moments of synchronisation where she brings up something that I was just thinking about but didn't actually say.

Being together your whole life has its strong drawbacks, too: you can all say that "fraternal twins aren't compared as much as identical twins" - but, even if you aren't, we always felt VERY compared. For a long time, I felt bitter because she was prettier, thinner and not disabled, but I am far more academic than she is - I got into Cambridge, and the inevitable question when my parents told anyone that would be, "...and your other daughter?" and the difference between us was intensified because we are/were at simultaneously very similar yet different points in our lives.

vintagegirl
07-22-2012, 03:48 PM
Me and my fraternal twin brother are compared quite a bit, too. He's still slogging his way through high school while I graduated a year early and two years ago, and I think being the same age sometimes leads to harsher comparisons between the two of us. Though most people our age still live at home there's an expectation for him to move out pretty soon since I did it a year ago. So I agree with InkGoddess that at least me and my brother were always compared quite a lot.

We're fairly close, though we weren't always. We used to be at each other's throats in grade school and then took different classes and eventually went to different high schools. By the time we were 18, though, we'd stopped bickering about everything and mellowed out, and we've been pretty close ever since. We both think and react in pretty much the same way, so we understand each other well and can act as translators to other members of our family.

Not sure that that's any different from other siblings who are close, though.

VanessaNorth
07-26-2012, 12:28 AM
I'm a twin and a mom to twins.

It's like having a brother. Who was born on the same day.

I will say this: twin "gimmicks" in a plot generally make me DNF a book. #1 pet peeve in the world of fiction.

That goes for YOU too JOHN BARROWMAN!!!! *shakes fist* ;)

missesdash
07-26-2012, 12:58 AM
Thanks for all of these! They are really interesting and varied. And there are some trends in the answers that have given me ideas for how to frame their relationship.