Archive for March, 2012

Figment Video Craft 3: Herbach acts like an idiot for scene/summary @SourcebooksFire

Here’s the third of five Figment videos on writing craft.  In this one, I’m discussing the scene/summary thing.  Here’s the truth: I’d like me to shut my stupid pie munch while I’m “acting” out the characters.  That said, I think it’s still useful.  Here’s the link over to Figment.  Or, watch the video right here.  Woo!


Thanks Platteville Library Foundation

I had Steve’s Pizza. Delicious. I got a Driftless bumper sticker from Bev (Platteville is in the driftless area, filled with hills, where no glacier ever plowed).  I saw lots of old friends and teachers.  Even met the department admin who worked with my dad in the early 70s.  I found out there are Amish people in buggies all around the countryside.  I found out all the yards I used to play in are much, much smaller than I remember.

I was a toddler and the yard was large

I figured out the picture window I once crashed through on my bike is very low to the ground, so the physics (which I ‘ve had a hard time figuring out) make sense.

Jumped creek, hit house, went through window.

And, I had a great time talking to members of the Platteville Library Foundation.  I’m so glad they invited me!  It’s very good to be home.

Such a Big M.

Here’s a new Stupid Craft Video

This one is details a process for building character.

The link to the 36 questions is here!

They do come in quite handy.  The great Sheila O’Connor teaches something similar in her fiction classes.  That’s where I got it!

Interested in an example? This is my “Bobby Bedroom” exercise.

Describe your character’s bedroom…

Bedroom: Bobby doesn’t make his bed (I think he used to).  He has no posters on the wall, because he’s taken them all down (used to have Star Wars poster).  He still has models he’s made out of legos and there are pages and pages of a very violent comic book he’s been drawing lying all over the floor.  Bobby’s bedroom his carpeted with dingy brown carpet.  The ceiling is low.  He has no bed frame on his bed.  There are five different musical instruments on the floor of his room: a recorder, an accordion, a ukulele, a trumpet, and a full drum set.  All of these instruments are covered in dust.  He clearly doesn’t play.  Bobby’s curtains are pulled shut, the blinds are pulled down.

Who is Bobby? He’s a former Star Wars geek kid who is interested in music.  He recently pulled down the Star Wars poster in a fit of rage.  He almost smashed the legos, but couldn’t bring himself to do it, because the took so long.  He often stares at the instruments on the floor, but he doesn’t have the energy to practice them.  He’s so tired.  He’s so tired, because he gets up so early.  He’s not serving himself at all.  He’s paying something back, because he and one of his Star Wars geek friends did something bad.  This is the first scene in the story… the bad thing. Do it in scene no summary or exposition…

Bobby is a normal kid who is riddled with guilt.  He is a good kid, though.  He chooses to try to make amends for the bad thing by treating an old lady well, but making her breakfast. He has no energy left for the things he loves (plus he wants to punish himself).

Problem of the story: find out how Bobby will fix the horrible mess he’s in.  How will he make this better (or worse)?  What will he do to stop this trouble?

If you’d like to take a look at the post on, check it out, here!

The Nothing Special Final Cover! @SourcebooksFire

Here it is.  Bright colors! The book comes out on May 1 (you can get it reserved all over the place already, of course).

I think you’ll probably like it if you haven’t read Stupid Fast.  Here’s the truth, though: It is a sequel. It is meant to follow Stupid Fast.  This one moves forward, fast.  Felton doesn’t tell you all the background that’s in Stupid Fast, so…  If you want this book to kick your flaming business home (and that’s what I want), read Stupid Fast before May 1!

I am very happy.  I like you.

Stupid Craft: A new series of teen craft talks at

Okay, I’m really, really psyched about this., which is an amazing teen writing site, is hosting a series of goofy craft videos I’ve put together.  The first one, about concrete detail, is up today.

Check out the post and the accompanying writing assignment from Figment, if you’d like.

Today and for the following five Fridays, I’ll have another Stupid Craft post up!

True: Nothing Special going on over at Net Galley. Get it!

I’m not exactly sure how Net Galley works.  According to their site, though, 59% of librarians check out e-resources before procuring books.  I’m all for librarians having access to the materials they need.  Believe it.  Indeed.  And, so, I’m happy to say, that, as Nothing Special rolls on it’s way to being a real book, one stop along the way is that it has become available to bloggers, teachers, reviewers and librarians as an e-resource.  Where?  At Net Galley.  

This is a pretty good deal.  I can’t do a ton of mailing of review copies.  The publisher doesn’t want to spend a zillion dollars on hard copies.  And, now, people have these e-reader machines that make PDFs look almost like books (although they still smell like phones and not books — I make no judgements! I love my phone!).  And so, if you want to do some gadget-driven e-reviewing, by all means, check it out!  Go to Net Galley and make your request! 

I’ll send you a picture of myself reading the hard copy ARC (and perhaps smelling it) if you’d like.


Smells like paper.  What the crap is wrong with my hair? I had no idea.

The End of AWP

Photo on 2012-03-04 at 09.58

Palmer House Where Sinatra Sang: My feet are always bigger at the end of AWP.  Salt, Wine, Walking, Standing, the book fair, which inspires and makes me so dizzy (great presses! in the basement! where you feel stacked in an ant pile!).

I did get to think about some seriously good stuff here.  Great panel on characterization, which I’ll write about more.  Fantastic panel on novel workshopping in the MFA curriculum, which I will put to huge use.

My feet barely fit in my freaking shoes, man. Soon we’ll be on the road.


I am…

Geoff Herbach. I am the author of Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, among a bunch of other stuff. When I'm not writing, I teach writing at Minnesota State, Mankato.

Stupid Fast

Nothing Special

I’m With Stupid

Fat Boy (Gabe Johnson Takes Over)

PowderKeg Stage

Herbach's favorite store

My Bizzle

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