Friday, February 12, 2016

SOMETIMES I GET ASKED STUFF… PART 33-- SUPER-SIZED EDITION!

We’re back for a 33rd installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… the super-sized edition. In addition to questions from fans and readers, I've also pulled questions from writing groups/blogs/facebook as well. I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating-- thank you for the continued questions. I love answering them. Please, keep ‘em coming. I love answering them.

You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.



Q: I'm curious Mr. Nash, what is your favorite book you've ever read?

WOW. That's a tough one. I honestly don't know if I have one particular favorite. There are some books (and by book, I assume we're talking novels) that I have read a few times. Snow Bound Six certainly had a big impact on me as a kid as did The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I read them both a few times growing up. After I discovered Star Trek tie-in fiction as a teenager, I read Peter David's Vendetta novel a few times.

In terms of comics, there are certainly trade collections I've read numerous times. The John Byrne run on the Fantastic Four and Walt Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor are ones I go back to time and again.

Q: Favorite character created by you?

That's like asking me to choose between my children. Like so many "favorite" questions, this one could change if you asked me again next week, but today I'd say Abraham Snow from Snow Falls.

Q: How development do your antagonists get before they appear in a new novel?

It varies. Sometimes I know them completely. Other times, I know a little and peel back the layers as I go through the story. In some cases, the villain's motivation changes as a result and I think it makes them more well-rounded. At least I hope so.

Q: Have you self published before? Was it a hassle?

It can be. I don't overly enjoy doing the production work, but it's more time consuming than anything else and the time spent putting the books together is time when I'm not writing. Plus, my self-pubbed work sells less than work put out by a publisher. I don't know why, but that's just how it goes. I wish they sold better.

Q: While writing your books, can you envision the kind of people who will love reading them?

You know, I don't really think about it while I'm writing. I do put thought into it before and after, but not during.

Q: What is your favorite place to read?

I love sitting outside on either the porch swing or just in a rocking chair and reading when the weather's nice. Since I live in Georgia, there's only 2 - 3 weeks out of the year this is something I can do comfortably, but I like it.

Q: We all work on more than one project at a time. Do you have a technique for keeping everything separate? Days when you work on one or the other? Spreadsheets? Lists? How do you keep each book clear in your head and not mix things up? (I'm a spreadsheet gal.)

I do have a master spreadsheet with all of my open projects on it, deadlines, date finished, when I get edit notes back, final draft, publish date, and assorted notes. I also have a whiteboard in my office, hanging next to the desk to keep me reminded of what is due when. From there it's a matter of just doing the work. I don't really have a system beyond that. I kind of play it by ear so that the projects are completed in time for the deadline.

Q: What word count do you consider a full book length? 40,000 words? 60,000 words? 90,000 words?

I do a lot of work for hire writing so in those cases it depends on what the publisher wants the word count to be. It is not uncommon for me to receive
requests to do a 35,000 - 45,000 word story as a stand-alone book. One publisher does 60,000 as their standard. My first novel, Evil; Ways, topped out at a little over 101,000 words. What it mostly boils down to in my case is what the publisher wants. If the publisher wants 60,000 words, then my 100,000 word novel is not a good fit for them.

Q: What's on the agenda? I know we all hate the word "resolutions" but honestly, do you have a plan for 2016? A writerly strategy to reach your goals?

I am not a "resolutions" kind of guy. I have writing plans, but they started long before the new year got here. There are projects and deadlines set for this year that need to be met, plus a few other goals I need to meet. There's never a shortage of goals ahead of me.

Q: Name Three characters you wish you could write.

Just off the top of my head... The Fantastic Four, Buck Rogers, and Thor.

Q: If you could write any 5 established characters in literature (comics included).... who would you pick?

This could be a very long list, but here are 5 that always hover near the top: The Fantastic Four, Buck Rogers, Captain America, Nightveil, and Thor.

Q: Who are your top 5 female comic characters?

The Invisible Woman, Spider-Woman, Supergirl, She-Hulk, & Wonder Woman.

Q: Which lesser known pulp hero would you like to write?

This is a harder question to answer than it used to be for me as I've written some pretty obscure pulp characters. I've not written Captain Midnight, The Phantom Detective, The Moon Man, or The Purple Scar. They seem like cool characters.

Q: What book would you like to see turned into a movie?

Any book written by me. HA! HA!

I do think my novels would make for good movies, especially EvilWays, Deadly Games!, Earthstrike Agenda, Samaritan, or Ghost Gal. Snow Falls and Domino Lady would make for good TV, I think. Maybe one day. It's good to dream.

Not by me, I’d love to see Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell or Ryder Creed as a movie or on TV. JT Ellison’s Catherine Jackson would be good too. Van Allen Plexico’s Shattering series is a big epic that has epic sci fi movie trilogy written all over it. Paul Bishop’s Lie Catchers would be another good choice.

Q: How much detail is too much detail for a story?

It depends on what kind of detail you're talking about. Character details are very important and you want to make your characters as fully rounded and realized as possible. Location details can be either very detailed or not so much, it all comes down to the writer's preference. If you have a scene that takes place in a living room, for example, the amount of detail would depend on whether or not the space will be a recurring one or not. If it's a one off location, details can be sparse where you mention it's a living room with a couch and two chairs. If it's your main protagonist's living room, it's a good bet you'll be returning there later so maybe you tell us what color that couch and those chairs are and why there's a wine stain on the couch. It's up to each writer to decide how much detail to use and where to use it. A good editor can help here as well.

Q: Have you ever completely eliminated a character (or added a character) after the first draft was completed? Why?

Not eliminated, but added. I've a novel in progress (slow, slow progress) that just seemed to be missing something so I wrote a scene introducing a new character. I didn't really know how this character fit or if he actually fit at all, but I figured I could always pull this chapter out if it didn't work. I wrote the chapter and used it to set up an action that was coming up in the story. It wasn't until 2 or 3 chapters later that I figured out exactly how that new character tied into the story in a big way. Some minor revisions and we were off and running. Sometimes my unconscious mind is working on the story in ways it takes my conscious mind time to catch up to, I guess.

Q: There are plotters, dream writers, pantsers, and planners ... but are you a SYSTEM type writer? Have you found the perfect SYSTEM (or formula) for your style and specific genre that helps you get a book down and published efficiently?

I'd like to say yes, but my system is still a work in progress.

Q: How many books have you written, published or unpublished?

I really need to do a recount to get an accurate number, but between novels, short stories, comic books, etc., I'm somewhere around 100 written pieces.

Q: Does your writing production intensify, or drop off over the weekend?

With the day job, weekends are when I get the majority of my writing time in. When I was writing full time, I worked all week and weekends, but would take the occasional weekend day off to go out.

Q: What kind of things have you written OTHER THAN your own fiction books? Ghost writing? Technical writing? Educational books? Article writing? Fanfiction? Greeting cards?

I have written articles in the past as well as conducted interviews for newspapers and magazines. I've also done a small amount of technical writing, work instruction manuals, things of that nature. I also wrote a couple of fan films that were filmed. One of them has my name listed as writer, the other doesn't. I also captained a starship. Heh.

Q: What is the #1 thing you always find draws you to a comic book cover? A character, a pose, recognizable artist, or...?

A cover image that WOWS me or really grabs me is one I will pick up just to see what the book is about. I personally prefer covers that have something to do with what actually happens in the book to character pose covers. 

Q: What do you HATE MOST about Marketing?

Trying, and failing to reach that wider audience on a budget. Social media is a good place to start, but getting the word out to the readers who are interested in the type of work I produce is tough.

Q: What do you LIKE MOST about Marketing?

I love the creativity of marketing. I like getting out there and talking about the work, meeting new people, and getting that one on one feedback.

Q: Do you give your chapters titles?

I don't title my chapters for the most part. The exception being when working on pulp characters as I do for anthologies like Lance Star: Sky Ranger or DominoLady. In some cases, depending on the title, character, or publisher edict, I will title the chapters. For my modern day thrillers like Evil Ways or DeadlyGames!, I don't title the chapters.

Q: Do you have a plan for chapter breaks? A number of pages for each chapter? A word count? Do you keep chapters an average length, or let them be whatever they write out to be?

I generally play it by ear and end a chapter when I feel like it needs to end. That said, my chapters are all roughly of similar length, with a few exceptions. When I started, I was under the impression that a chapter had to be a certain length based on what I saw in novels I was reading so I wrote to that length, often padding the story just to hit that imaginary page limit. Once I realized that the chapters could be as long or short as I needed them to be, the writing tightened up a bit and the extraneous padding went away. now, it's just second nature. I know when I've reached the end of a chapter when I get there. There's usually a cliffhanger of some sort.

Q: Ever changed a main character's name after writing more than half the book? Why did you do it?

Yes. In a recent story, I changed the character's name because I just didn't feel like the name fit the character. It was pulling me from the flow of the story every time I typed that character's name so I made a change and it worked out a lot better. I've changed secondary characters names before when I realized I two characters had similar names like a Benjamin and a Bentley or so on. like most things, it's usually a gut feeling that triggers changing a character's name.

Q: If you could be any pulp hero, who would you choose?

Probably Secret Agent X. I think it would be fun to be able to become anyone for a day or two.

Q: If you could live inside any television series, which one would it be?

It's a toss up. I'd like to live and work on either Star Trek's Deep Space Nine or the Stargate: Atlantis base.

Q: Of course they're all our "babies" but which of your books is your absolute favorite and why?

My go to answer here is EVIL WAYS. Evil Ways was the novel that got the ball rolling for me in terms of working fairly steadily as a writer. I can trace a clear path from Evil Ways to Lance Star: Sky Ranger to Domino Lady, to Ghost Gal and on and on. Evil Ways is a big part of my writing journey.

Q: How many current and future projects do you have on your desktop? Include those twinkling little bud ideas too.

I'm finishing up a short this week and have already started plotting a next that is due in a few weeks. I have three novels in various stages of production and expect some edits to come in any day now. There are also germs of ideas and notes I'm putting together for upcoming stories, plots I've started putting together for others.

Q: On the average, how much time do you spend on the final edit/revisions? A week? A month? Longer?

That depends on the publisher. If edits are being done by the publisher, when they get them back to me there is generally a two day turnaround to get the edits made and back to the editor. If it's a project with no publisher attached that I plan to shop around, I have more time available.

Q: Who does your book covers? You? An Artist you choose? Your Publisher? How much input do you have for your book covers? What is your favorite cover?

If I'm working with a publisher, the publisher handles all of that, usually with no input from me at all. Sometimes I never see the cover until the book is solicited for distribution. There are exceptions, obviously, where a publisher will listen to my cover ideas on a novel, but more often than not, I'm not consulted. I've self published a few books through my imprint and on those I handled the cover design. I do enjoy designing novel covers. My favorite cover to appear on a book I worked on is probably Snow Falls with art by Dennis Calero. I love the image. In this case, I was consulted and gave some ideas, which were incorporated. My favorite cover of my own design is the newly updated 10th anniversary cover to Evil Ways (Mark Maddox provided the graphic).

Q: Who is your favorite character to see cosplayed?

 I am a sucker for good Supergirl and Wonder Woman cosplay. Great costumes. I also like Cosplay that surprises me. When someone does a cool character who might not get as much attention these days, I love that.

Q: Rank from least favorite to favorite official Doctor Who actors (from TV, i.e., no one exclusive to the audio adventures or Cushing, Joanna Lumley or Rowan). 

This is not a hugely accurate list as some of these Doctors I've only seen 1 or 2 episodes from so they drop lower on the list because I don't know them as well. The top 5 is pretty accurate though.
14. Richard Hurndall
13. Colin Baker
12. William Hartnell
11. Peter Davison 
10. Sylvestor McCoy
9. John Hurt
8. Patrick Troughton
7. Jon Pertwee
6. Matt Smith
"Who... Nose..."

5. Paul McGann
4. Peter Capaldi
3. Christopher Eccleston
2. David Tennant
1. Tom Baker

Q: We all deal with them. What is the longest period of time a manuscript waited to be finished because of delays and distractions?

Years. As publishers started calling, a couple of projects hit the back burner for a time.

Q: Great plot and story ideas can come at the craziest times! What was the strangest, most inopportune time a fabulous idea struck you?

Most of the time, this happens when I'm nowhere I can write it down. I'll either be driving or in a store, someplace where I just can't stop and start writing. Plus, that moment just as I'm starting to doze off at night.

Q: What have you read or written lately that made you laugh out loud?

I'm drawing a blank. Can't think of a single thing.

Q: With regards to fiction books do you prefer (A) book covers with paintings on them, (B) book covers with photographs on them, or (C) book covers that contain primarily artistic design elements on them?

It's kind of a cop out answer, but I think different types of covers work for different kinds of stories. Domino Lady "Money Shot" or AlexandraHolzer's Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt work best with painted covers, I think. Deadly Games! on the other hand, really needed a photo cover. I had a photo cover on Evil Ways, but once I came up with the current configuration, I realized that a simple graphic cover worked the best. I guess it's one of those things you have to play by ear.

Q: If you could join any team of superheroes, who would you pick and why?

The Fantastic Four. I would love going on their madcap adventures to far off lands, travel to other planets and dimensions, as well as discovering all of the hidden wonder of the galaxy.Plus, I'd get to pop the occasional would-be Earth conquering bad guy in the mouth every once in a while. 

Q: What is the FASTEST you've ever written a book - above 50,000 words?

I wrote my second novel, Fantastix: Code Red in a little less than 3 months (I also had a day job at this time). I wrote it from October to December 2002. Fantastix came in around the 100,000 word mark, give or take a 1,000 words. I had also written the story as a comic script for the same publisher so I used that as my plot, but then built on it in the novel. Fantastix was a work-for-hire gig and sadly, the publisher did not leave the book available for purchase very long. Sad, as I really thought it came out great. I guess, if you can find a copy, it is a collector's item. I learned a few good lessons on that project.

Q: Which comic storyline do you wish never was inflicted on the public? Old and new please.

First off, I hate to publicly diss another creator’s stories publicly, but there have been some comic book storylines I've not enjoyed for one reason or another. I hate to say they shouldn't have existed though because others might like them, but they didn’t do anything for me. A few that stick out for me are Spider-man's "One More Day", Secret Wars II, Spider-man's Clone Saga, and Civil War (although I am excited for the movie). Those weren't favorites for me.

Q: What's up with CLIFF HANGERS? Some are great, some are smarmy, some are just plain unfair to the reader. Do you use cliff hangers for a series, and how do you assure that yours are exciting and draw the reader joyfully to your next book?

I love a good cliffhanger. I try to weave in those type of moments throughout my work whether it be at the end of a chapter or the end of the novel, although I do not like novels that end in "to be continued...” That’s a personal pet peeve of mine. In writing comic books, especially, cliffhangers are great ways to get the reader excited for the next issue. They are fun. Cliffhangers don't have to always be a life and death situation. It can be as simple as a character realizing something important and then the chapter ends or, in the case of TV, we go to a commercial.

Q: Are you a Steampunk Fan? What do you like about it?

I like what I have seen of Steampunk, especially the costumes, but it's not a lot. I've not read much Steampunk. Most of my familiarity comes from TV, movies, and seeing cosplayers at conventions. I like the idea of steampunk and the era where it takes place looks like a fun era to play in. I've not, at this time, attempted to write anything Steampunk. Who knows, maybe that will change in the future.

Q: There's writer's block, and there's writer's EXPLOSION! Those times when ideas blast into the brain in waves and splashes and keep surging. Relentless times when the ideas come so fast and crazy that writing them down in a notebook is difficult, and writing them into the manuscript is nearly impossible! How do you manage the IDEA TSUNAMI?

I both love and dread when the tsunami strikes. I love it because a creative wave has been unleashed and the creative juices are flowing. The dowen side is that these waves seem to come at the most inoportune times, like when I'm at work or in the middle of something else where I cannot drop everything and write.

Q: Is there a time of day when you're the most WRITING productive? After everyone's gone to bed? After twitter and FB has gone quiet? Before your online day begins? What's your formula for being productive as a writer?

I love writing late at night and into the wee hours of the morning. During the short time I was able to write full time, that's exactly what I did. These days, writing is the 2nd of two jobs so I have to work around the day job, which makes writing into the wee hours all but impossible. Nowadays, I squeeze in writing time wherever I can find it.

Q: Name a movie you've watched more than 5 times and are still entertained by.

Only 1? This could be a long list. JAWS, Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Tombstone, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Fugitive, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek: First Contact, and I'm sure I could keep going...

Q: What is the difference between thrillers and mysteries in terms of action, plot, pacing, characterization and questions unanswered at the beginning?

A mystery leaves a lot of clues for the reader to pick up on so he or she can try to solve the mystery along with the protagonist. With a mystery, the writer is purposefully hiding things from the reader on the promise that it will all fit together at the end. This allows the reader to play along. A thriller can do the same things as a mystery, but you may also see the antagonist, bad guy, villain, thief, murderer, whatever actually doing those things. You may not always know their identity, which helps keep the mystery going, but you can see them doing what they do. A thriller should also have an element of danger, sometimes horror. Think of the thriller movies that spook you. When the killer strikes, we're startled. A mystery doesn't always need that, especially in the case of a cozy mystery, which is generally less life or death or scares.

As a writer, I like writing mystery/thrillers, which has the best elements of both. In my novel, EVIL WAYS, for example, I show things from the killer's point of view, but I keep the killer's identity a secret and drop clues to help (and sometimes misdirect) the readers. In fact, a couple of my readers have commented on how I let the novel's protagonists figure out the killer's identity before I shared it with the readers. It was another way of helping build suspense and I think it worked. The trick is keeping the clues straight and making sure that, when you make your big reveal, it makes sense. The last thing you want is for your readers to fill like your protagonist (and by extension, you as the writer) solved the mystery by pulling the answer out of thin air. With a mystery, you have to play fair with the reader.

Q: We all know that occasionally a character, pet character, or plot idea simply doesn't fit or advance the story but hey ... we love it so much we hate to lose it. How do you deal with the elimination of something you really love, but know just doesn't work?

It's not easy, but you can generally tell when it's not working. You just have to start cutting and make it work. The good news is, that just because it didn't work in this book or story, doesn't mean it can't work elsewhere.

Q: Have you/would you ever write a Pastiche of another character? If so, which character? Why? How would you change them up in the process?

There are little bits of other characters that work their way into characters during the creation process. That happens and is hard to avoid because sometimes it happens inadvertently. I've not set out to purposefully create any pastiche characters, but I have worked on characters that are pastiche's before. Lance Star: Sky Ranger started out as Bill Barnes, Air Ace stories, but for reasons that was changed and new characters were born who bore striking resemblances to the other characters. As the stories progressed, so too did the Sky Rangers, but their beginnings were certainly a pastiche. The book Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars is another pastiche, this time a melding
of Thundarr The Barbarian and John Carter of Mars as filtered through Van Allen Plexico. I think both of these examples worked out well, using pastiche as a starting point and then growing the characters from there. I like to think of the pastiche as the beginning and see where the characters can go from there.

Q: What Age do you set your stories in? Are any of you specifically shooting for something akin to: Silver, Gold, Bronze, or the "Modern Age" of comics?

It varies. More often than not, the setting for the stories are dictated by the publisher. With teh pulp stories, most of the publishers I work with want to keep them in the same era where they first appeared. That means Domino
Lady is firmly set in the 1930, Green Hornet in the 60's, etc. With characters I create, I like to write in the hear and now most of the time. If there is a reason that the stories require a different era, I'll make that decision in the creation process.

Q: What time of the day works best (most effective) for you to write? 

I prefer to write late at night and into the wee early morning hours. Unfortunately, the day job puts a kink in those plans so I work in writing time whenever I can.

Q: When do superheroes sleep?

I'm just going to rest my eyes a minute.
Whenever they can. I know it seems like superheroes are constantly running from one calamity to another, and they are, I suppose. As a reader/viewer, we have to assume that we're only seeing then when they are handling a crisis. We aren't seeing the episode or issue where they get a day to rest because no would-be world conquering dude has shown up in their city. We all get down time.

Q: Have you ever written anything where the heroes are seriously hamstrung by their overwork, lack of sleep, or non-healed recent injuries?

You are being watched...
I've had characters on the go so much that they are exhausted and having to deal with that. There are also plenty of book and TV/movie examples of stories that tell this type of story. Seeing a character fighting against their own fatigue and injuries is a great way to build up the character's spirit and force of will. Character X is too tough to kill.

Q: If you are a geeky/nerdy type...what are your favorite TV shows that are not nerdy/geeky? (Wire, L&O, etc). 

If you are not a geeky/nerdy type...what are your favorite nerdy/geeky shows of the past 25 years? (Star Trek, Xena, etc).

Well, I guess I'd say I fall squarely into the geeky/nerdy type so here goes... Justified, NCIS (all 3 of 'em although Los Angeles is my favorite of the 3), Major Crimes, Rizzolli and Isles, Magnum p.i., M*A*S*H, Night Court, Married... With Children, Sons of Anarchy, Leverage, The Shield, and Person of Interest (although as the show went on it started to straddle the line between geeky and non-geeky) certainly top my list. I could probably think of some more too. Man, I think I might watch too much TV.

Q: what are your top five guilty-pleasure movies? These are films that you're sheepish about admitting you enjoy (and re-watch whenever they're on TV) since they're not really your typical kind of film, but there's just something about them that you find surprisingly enjoyable. 

The Replacements, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, The Cannonball Run, Charlie's Angels, and The Devil Wears Prada (Don’t judge me, man. Meryl Streep is deliciously evil).

Q: Do you work with critique or writing partners? 

No. When I first started writing EVIL WAYS, I took a creative writing night class at the University of Georgia. Part of the class involved reading my work aloud and the other students would give feedback. I found it helpful as long as everyone stayed on topic. You have to be open to the feedback/critique though. It would be really easy to get your feelings hurt if you're not careful. Having a group of people with good feedback is nice. I just don't have time to be part of a group like that these days.

Q: Do you share and polish ideas for your own books with other authors? 

Not in any type of group or official capacity, but I have writer friends who I sometimes bounce ideas and issues off of to get their thoughts when I need a fresh viewpoint. I, of course, do the same for them as well.

Q: Do you seek support with your writing craft from other writers?

Of course. I think writers are great and I am so often amazed at how open and helpful the vast majority of authors are with one another. I think it's great how authors will promote other authors, a practice I also try to practice regularly, and that writers build communities. I think it's great how welcoming they are as opposed to looking upon all other authors as their competition. When one author does well, I think we all benefit.

Now on sale in audio
Q: How far away are you/close are you from offering up your next (publish?) piece of work to the public? What do you have left to do?


I'm always juggling multiple projects. There are finished pieces in the hands of the publishers where I won't know they are ready to drop until they tell me... or I see that it is available. Often, I have no idea something is being released until it is released. It makes doing pre-promotion rather hard. The New Adventures of The Green Ghost audio was released this week. I found out when the narrator for the book posted it on Facebook. I'm promoting it now. I believe my next release is the Sherlock Holmes/Domino Lady trade paperback collecting the Domino Lady/Sherlock Holmes stories by
Pre-order now. In stores April 2016
Nancy Holder and myself. I'm doing pre-promotion now while it is in Previews
(The Diamond Item Code is FEB161650. Have your favorite retailer order a copy today.) and available for pre-order so hopefully some book and comic shops will pick it up. I will promote more once it comes out in April. 

While doing all that, I keep writing.

And I think that is a good place to stop for this super-sized 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...

I also answered some questions about cliches at Sean Taylor's Blog this week. You can read everyone's thoughts here. Mine are pasted below here for future reference.

Q: Everyone knows of the hardboiled loner. We've seen it too many times to count. What should writers avoid when crafting their protagonist for period piece detective fiction? What can they do to make more original and creative protagonists?

No matter what genre you write, there are going to be tropes that are overused and clichés waiting to leap out at your writing from all corners. I creating a protagonist, or the antagonist, for that matter, it all starts with character. Yes, we’ve all seen the hard-boiled loner type character, but if I’m creating a character that needs to be a loner, the first question I ask is what can I, as the writer, bring to this character that is unique to me and my writing? Once I have that hook, I have a better insight into the character and
Jack O'Neill hates cliches. Hates 'em!
can hopefully elevate him, her, or it above the cliché of that type of character. Knowing your character is key.

Q: Let's talk villains and dames. Sexy struts and legs up to there. Gunmen with speech affectations. How can writers avoid the done to death cliches?

My rule of thumb is if it makes me cringe when I write it then it needs to go. Cliches exist and it is so easy to fall into them. If I write something cliché, I can generally tell because it doesn’t feel quite right. Just like with the protagonist, your villain and the
sexy dames and femme fatales that make up this world have to feel like real characters. If I can make them real to me then they should, hopefully, feel real to the readers.

Q: Now for the clincher... Heroes solve mysteries. Heroes get the bad guy, if not the girl too. But how does a writer balance the expectations of the genre with managing to work off a checklist of “seen it all before” story beats?


As with the character, I ask how can I tell this story. That’s really where the biggest changes will happen. You can give ten writers the exact same plot/scenario and let them write it and you will get ten
different stories in return. Some of them might share some of the same beats, but it’s a good bet that many of them will veer off in unexpected and quite unsuspecting ways. The uniqueness of each writer can bring a bit of that uniqueness to the story he or she is writing. That’s how clichés get turned on their head or turns left when everyone assumed the story would turn right. That’s where the magic that is writing happens, at least for me.

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.
Ya'll come back now, y'hear?
If you’d like to check out my work, you can find my books at AmazonBarnes and NobleGoodreadsSmashwords, and more. To all those who have picked up books and/or left reviews, THANK YOU! You're all wonderful and I appreciate each and every review posted.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Let’s do it again soon.

Bobby

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