Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How I Write: Cynthia Vespia

Please welcome my guest author this week! I met Cynthia some time ago as we stumbled around in the rocky land of small e-publishers. Along the way we've learned a thing or two! Here's Cynthia with some insight on writing.

Breakin' All The Rules
Cynthia Vespia

I cannot write a blog post on how I write my novels without reflecting on how my life has unfolded: trial and error. You can cut a clear path for someone, show them what to do and how to do it, and it will not produce good results. That is why sheltering a child from things is not prosperous. You can give them advice but they are going to do what they feel is right anyway because they need to learn and grow from mistakes as well as triumphs. That is the fabric of life, how we grow into who we are as adults. 

It's the same for finding your writing voice. you can read books, talk to other authors, study "how-to" formulas and none of it will shape you as much as just sitting down and writing. the progression is how you grow. It's like doing a certain amount of sets and reps in bodybuilding and then progressively adding weight the next time so that the muscle will grow.
Consistent writing is how you grow your voice, your own formula. You can learn the specific rules (especially if you're doing formulaic genre like Sci-fi) but take what works for you and then throw out the rest.

"Blessed is the person who is willing to follow their gut impulse to create something unique, beyond the knowing." - Why Your Life Sucks by Alan H. Cohan

Because something works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Anyone who knows me knows I love Dean Koontz, he is the reason I started writing. So when I heard from Dean himself that he never outlines - not even a character breakdown - I thought that was amazing and decided right there that I would no longer outline my novels. I'd just get a spark of an idea and go with it. 

The next story I tried that way started out great. The prose flowed first. But after awhile I started losing my plot. I didn't know where it was headed. The outside world distracted me and when I returned to the page I got lost. 

That's when I decided I need to work off an outline. I never fully flesh out the story or that would kill the spontaneity of it, but I need to know certain aspects ahead of time. Dean may be able to work without one but I can't. That's not to say everything is set in stone, I'll venture off path if the characters move me to do so. But that's the fun of writing - you never know what to expect.

So authors, outline, partial outline, or no outline?

You can find out more about Cynthia's books *HERE*


  1. I write from a narrative synopsis, which isn't all that different than an outline. I briefly tell myself the story. The I write it. ohter wise I get stuck in the middle. I have no idea how writers like Koontz do what they do!

  2. I have to have an outline when I write. If it's something short, I will probably just do a paragraph about what I want to happen, but for a longer work, it is a full blown, bullet point outline. I have to have a section for every chapter and input every major thing I want to happen in the chapter. If I have specific smaller details I know I want to happen, I throw that in too. Needless to say, my outlines are usually at least a few pages long.

  3. Hey, Cynthia, great and informative post about how you grab the bull by the horns and do what's best for you and your writing! I do a little of both - a mini outline, character tracking sheets (helps to know what color the eyes are!), and let the muse come take over for a while! Cheers!