Archive for the 'New Book' Category

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!

The Nothing Special ARC Arrived!

Out of the blue, in the door, there was a Fed-ex box…  I expected the box last week and when it didn’t come, I assumed it would never come.  When you least expect it, expect it.  Because it was there!  My box of galleys from the publisher!  And, other than the glaring typo on the first page of text (how did I miss that? Am I an idiot?) it looks really good and I read some, and I liked it a lot, which is a good sign, because I wasn’t sure after I finished it, because I’d gone entirely blind from having stared at it so much.  This book, Nothing Special, is ready for pre-sale reviews.  I am p-syched!

ARC in the morning sun.

Finally! Stupid Fast Book Launch…


JUNE 10, 2011, 7-8:15ish







I really like reading out loud.  Back in the day, I liked reading stories in bars, a lot.  I don’t do that much, now, because I’m writing books aimed at teenagers.  I’m really writing for teenage boys, because books were so important to me when I was a teenage boy.  People really need to keep writing for teenage boys, even if the publishing world can’t afford to market much at them (and, well, some in this world maybe dislike teenage boys, or, at the very least, think they’re somehow mentally disabled, which isn’t true).  Soo…

Back to it.  I really like reading out loud and I don’t do it as much as I used to and so, on June 10th, at 7pm, I’m going to read Stupid Fast out loud, very loudly, and I can’t wait.  Then I’m going to eat some cake.

Why are the stakes so high?  Why will I read so loudly?  I’m actually not a teenager, and Recorded Books, who is producing the audio book for Stupid Fast didn’t ask me to perform it, which makes very good sense, since I’m fairly old, but, so, I really want to prove I can read this sucker and read it great.

All of this to say: If you come to Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN on June 10 at 7pm, I will read my buttocks off for you.  Do you know how much I miss you?  I’d really like to see you.  And, if that’s not enough, there will also be delicious cake available, so you can eat cake, too. Go ahead and RSVP on Facebook.

Felton in Stupid Fast runs up this Big M.

36 questions to ask about your characters

As I sit here in my kitchen on a very hard wooden bench writing (struggling to write) the sequel to Stupid Fast, I’m reminded of how helpful seemingly mechanical exercises can be to the creative act. Every time I write a story, I get stuck.  Every time I write, I lose hold of characters and they start making choices and saying things that feel artificial.  Every time this happens, I remember a list of questions I started back in grad school (thanks to an exercise the awesome Sheila O’Connor put us through) that helps me get a handle on who my characters are (it really, really grounds me).  I’m just about to put this sucker to use for myself, so I thought I’d copy and paste it here for whomever.

These questions aren’t the only ones, of course.  But, they’re generally all I need to really understand the character I’m working with (they uncover back story, obsession, identifying quirks, ways of being, world view, etc.).  Write as much or as little as you want.  Create characters you’re not yet writing about.  Make up more questions (and send to me if you’d like).  This is a good time (and I need to have a good time writing, because I’m stuck).

  1. How old, exactly?
  2. Who do they live with?
  3. Where do they live?  Describe the physical place, home, neighborhood (not people, yet).
  4. Describe the kind of people who live where character does (not in the house, but in the neighborhood).
  5. What day is their birthday?  Birthday important to them?
  6. What is their level of education?  Where did (do) they go to school?  If college, what did they study?
  7. What is their parents’ socio-economic level (education, wealth, cultural background)?
  8. Parents religious?  If yes, what religion?  A big deal to them?
  9. Religion important to character?  Explain.
  10. What is ethnicity?  Is ethnic background important?  Describe.
  11. Parent relationships important to the character?  One parent more important than other?  Who?  Why?  If bad, describe.
  12. Do they have brothers or sisters?  Describe relationships.
  13. Are they married?  Good marriage?  Bad marriage?  Middle?   Describe what you know.
  14. Boyfriend/Girlfriend (even if they’re married)?
  15. Describe general history of romantic relationships.  Any bad/good history that informs how they live now?
  16. If they have children, describe relationships with each.
  17. What is their job?  Do they like the tasks?  Do they like co-workers?  Customers?  Describe.
  18. If possible, name and describe three closest friends in order of importance.  History is important.
  19. Who, if anyone, do they go to if they have a problem?  Do they go to different people for material problems (money, mechanical issues, etc.) and emotional problems?
  20. Where are they on a typical Sunday at 10 a.m.?
  21. Where are they on a typical Friday at 9 p.m.?
  22. Do they do their own laundry?
  23. What is their favorite food?  Why?
  24. What is their favorite possession?  Why?
  25. Do they keep a clean house?  Do they make their own bed?
  26. Describe the state of their bedroom.  What does it say about them?
  27. Do they know how to cook?
  28. Would they dance at a wedding?
  29. Do they like music?  What kind of music?  Can they play music?  Can they sing?
  30. Do they read?  What?
  31. Early riser or late nighter?
  32. Would they rather be good than rich?
  33. Would they rather be powerful than good?
  34. What do they want most? Describe concrete goal.  Describe emotional need.
  35. What’s stopping them? Describe.
  36. Do they think the universe is good, bad, or indifferent?  Or, do they not know (implies questioning)?

Student drawing of me teaching (exhausted students in background--how you must feel)

The Whole Warm World

This week was a good one in Herbach.  Sourcebooks Fire bought the sequel to Stupid Fast, which means the Reinstein story will continue through another book (that’s the last one, I’m sure).  I’m writing a sequel.  Weird!  Certainly a happy situation.

The super-charged Gae Polisner, author of this spring’s The Pull of Gravity, posted a tiny bit of the sequel (which is totally in process at the moment — I think it’s called The Whole Warm World) on her blog yesterday.  A bunch of people stopped by and commented and posted tiny bits of their own new work.  You’d never find this sort of sweet community in adult literary land.  Yes, I do like the YA Universe.  Very friendly place!

The New Cover

One of the roughest parts of publication is waiting for the cover.  Generally, the author has little control (the publisher does ask, but generally believes, probably rightly so, that the author knows nothing whatsoever about marketing).  I fretted over what would come up for this one.  I shouldn’t have worried. I’m very much in love with this image representing the book (hope that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work as a piece of marketing!).

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

My Bizzle

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