Sunday, August 18, 2013

SOMETIMES I GET ASKED STUFF… PART 7

"Hey! Come back here! I have to ask you something!"
As a writer I get to meet some of the most interesting people. Whether it is at conventions, store signings, through the Earth Station One podcast, writer’s groups, on social media, and sometimes just from people I run into on when I venture out of the cave I call my office, I get asked questions. Sometimes they are about writing or what I’m working on. Other times they’re out of left field. I thought it would be interesting to share some of them along with a few answers. Regardless of where they come from, here’s a few of the latest.

Check out Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, part 5 here, and part 6 here.

Thanks for making Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... the most popular feature on this site.

Now available.
Before we dive into the questions, I wanted to say thank you to everyone for the extraordinarily kind birthday wishes last week. They were greatly appreciated and really brightened my day. Okay, now back to the Nash News Mailbag.

I swear, this first one wasn’t staged.

Q: Anything new coming out soon?

Funny you should mention that. Just a few days ago, Fight Card: Barefoot Bones was released as an ebook for Kindle. I don’t want to turn this column into an advertisement, but you can learn all about it here.

Snoopy know the heartache.
These next two are rather similar and I do get this type of question a lot. It’s a sad fact that it is hard to show off just your script to a comic book editor. It’s not impossible, but the odds are not in your favor. If you look at the submission guidelines for most comic book publishers, you’ll see that the majority of them are not looking for writers alone.

Snoopy knows the pain.
Q: Could you recommend a company friendly to comic script submissions?

Sadly, there aren't really many (if any) comic publishers out there looking for script submissions. These days, most want to see a finished comic, drawn, lettered, and colored. Most want to read a published comic you wrote to see how you write and from there will decide if they want to see more work from you.
Snoopy knows rejection.

My advice is to team up with an artist or-- if you can afford it-- hire an artist and self publish a creator-owned title. You can shop that around as well to companies that are looking for creator-owned work. They are out there. Just check the submission guides to see what publishers are interested in looking at what and go from there.

Good luck.

Q: I recently created a comic book, which am lettering, but am seeking a publisher to partner with to get my work published and distributed. What should I do?
Funny because it's true.

This is the hard part. Search the websites for publishers publishing creator-owned comics and submit to them. Or, meet an editor at a convention and talk to them about your project. I can tell you from experience that this part of the process is not an easy one. It's a slow process and can become frustrating. You will receive rejection letters from some and will possibly never even get a response from others.

An alternative is self publishing a Print On Demand comic with Indy Press, CreateSpace, or some other place that allows you to do that. It will get the book out faster, but you have to do all of the advertising and a POD comic will likely never be seen inside a comic shop, but you will have a book in hand you can use to show off your talents to publishers.
This is my target audience.

You’ll have to decide which method works best for you.

Q: How many of your actual, real life experiences make their way into your fiction?

Quite a bit actually. Sometimes the outcome is changed or it gets expanded, but snippets from real life are all over my writing. Usually, it’s small bits here and there, but it’s those touches that add an extra something to the story.
This is also my target audience.

Q: Who is your book's target audience?

It depends on the book, of course, but my books are usually aimed at teenagers and up. There are exceptions from time to time.

Q: In your opinion as a writer do you agree that "99% of the time, the books are better than the movies”?

That’s a good question. I really don’t know. I think novels and movies adapted from them are definitely different creatures. I’ve seen instances where the book is better (JAWS comes to mind) and others where the movie is better (Jurassic Park springs to mind). One thing I usually see is that the book and movie are usually different from one another. It’s rare (although it does happen) to see a faithful adaptation.

Q: How sharp is your instinct for a story? Have you ever had a critique partner, agent or publisher suggest a change to your manuscript then slapped your head and thought "I knew I should have done that!" Do you always follow your instincts, or sometimes get sidetracked by friends or family input?

Following my instincts has served me well so far, but there have been times when an editor’s notes will make me realize that the story could be tighter with the addition or removal of parts. I just recently had that happen on story edits. The editor’s notes really tightened up the story by eliminating one pesky little thing I was doing in the way I wrote the story.

An instance where instinct served me well happened on the Nightbeat: Night Stories audio/ebook release last year. I had mapped out a plot and was writing to that plot, confident in the identity and role of the villain of the story. Near the end, as I was writing dialogue, one of the characters said something that made me realize that I had it all wrong. The person I thought was the villain was not the villain at all. Sure, he was a bad guy, but not the main villain of the story. That realization made for a much better ending. When I went back to plant clues for the reveal-- I like to play fair with my readers so twists and reveals like this one does not come out of nowhere-- I was surprised to discover they were already there. It was either instinct, my subconscious, or perhaps the characters speaking to me that made it happen. I love it when the characters dictate the story this way.

Q: What's best: Apple pie or Cherry pie?

Of the two, I prefer apple. However, if you’re asking about favorite pie, that would be either lemon meringue pie or pecan pie. Yum. These days, I try to avoid all pies as I’m trying to drop some weight.

Q: Your Favorite Kevin Kline Movie?

Silverado.

Q: If SyFy came up to you and said, "We want to make an original movie based on your intellectual property," would you do it?

Probably. I’d have to read the contract first.

Q: When do you say it's finished? Writers, like most artists, have a hard time stepping away from a piece of work and choosing to call it "complete". When do you know a book is finished?

Some projects, like my novels, for example, I will tinker with until I’m happy with it. Other projects, specifically those with deadlines, come with their own “it’s done” date.

It's Writing Time!
Q: How much writing time do you budget into your day?

At the moment I spend a good 10 or more hours a day, 7 days a week at the keyboard. There are the occasional days off, but lately there haven’t been many of those. When I also worked a full time day job, that number dropped significantly as I only had 1 - 2 hours a day available during the week and then I spent the weekend writing.

Not Actual Cover
Q: What was the first thing you knew about your current protagonist?

I’m working on the first novel in what I hope will be a series “Snow.” In the first story, “Snow Falls,” we meet the protagonist, Abraham Snow. Before I even started I knew the opening scene and the effect it would have on the character moving forward. I also immediately heard his voice so I felt like I knew him. From there it was all about peeling back the layers.

Q: Do you pick apart books more during or after you have editing sessions with your own book?

Love this cover.
Sometimes it happens without me thinking about it. It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned to mute the editor part of my brain when reading for enjoyment. I still sometimes find myself wondering how I would have written the same type of scene after reading a scene in a novel.

Q: What is your favorite comic book cover?

This is one of those where the answer will change from day to day, but the cover to Bat Lash #2 with art by the incredible Nick Cardy is one that always makes my list of favorites. Bat Lash is a western and this cover tells so much that it made me want to pick up that book and read it.

Q: How do you feel about prologues?
Free plug: Both are still available.


Prologues have their place and can be very useful. With my novels, I often do a short opening chapter that is not numbered. It ends then we get a page with the novel’s title and then into chapter 1. I like the way it allows me to tease into the story similar to how a James Bond movie opens, for lack of a better comparison at the moment. I don’t call it a prologue, but I suppose it technically is one. This format works for me. It might not work for everyone.

You know what ol' Jack Burton says.
Q: Have you paid your dues, Jack?

Yes, sir, the check is in the mail.

Q: What do you write, Bobby?

A little bit of everything. My novels run from thrillers to sci fi. I write shorter pieces in whatever genre the publishers are looking for, usually action, adventure, pulp, sci fi, but I've also done horror, sports, and westerns. I also occasionally write comic books and screenplays.
"NO! I won't read your script!"

You can see all of my work at www.bobbynash.com if you're interested.

And I think that is a good place to finish this round of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? Post them here as a comment or send them along to bobby@bobbynash.com and I’ll answer them in a future installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

Also, please sign up for my mailing list. Drop me an email at bobby@bobbynash.com and I'll happily add you to the list.


Before I go, my Fight Card Books release “Barefoot Bones” is now available. You can purchase it here. Keep watching this space. You can read my behind the scenes essay here.

I hope you're having a great weekend.

Bobby

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