Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday Feedback - Fantastico!

This is me. You know me.
Welcome to Friday Feedback.

Guess what?

I have a super fantastico guest star putting his bravery on the line
for feedback today. I asked him if he wanted to and this is what he answered:

“What you want me to do? I do it!”

(You see how fantastico he is?!).

Who is he, you ask?

This is Geoff, not me.
Fellow Class of 2K11’er, “El Nacho Dip,” Geoff Herbach
(yep, that's Geoff over there on the right. Isn't he Nacho-y?)

Geoff’s book, Stupid Fast, comes out from Sourcebooks Fire this June.

According to Geoff’s website, Stupid Fast is,

“…about a boy. It’s about sports. It’s about being a serious dork. It’s about a paper route. It’s about bullying and the opposite. It’s about a girl. It’s about hair growth. It’s about a little brother. It’s about piano. It’s about a depressed mother. It’s about learning to be who you are.”

All I know is if it came from Geoff, I want to read it.

But, guess what? Geoff is giving you a sneak peek at his sequel to Stupid Fast today. It's actually still a work in progress but just sold anyway this week to Sourcebooks Fire (*throws a pound of confetti at Geoff!* er.) The working title is The Whole Warm World which I really like (you?).

Okay, before we start, a brief recap of the RULES:

(If you want more details, read this blog post here: ) otherwise, just follow along).

1. If it is the first few paragraphs of a novel – today it is NOT, so skip to #2. – tell me if it "hooks" you enough to make you want to keep reading, or not. If yes, why? If no, why not?

2. What works for you, and why?

3. What doesn’t work for you (if something doesn't) and why?

If you would like the same feedback for your own work, please post your brief excerpt at the end of your comment (and tell me what it is -- e.g. opening to a novel, short story, poem, etc...). Please post no more than 3 -5 paragraphs, 5 if they're short, 3 if they are long. If there's more, I will only read the first 3 -5. If the comment gets too long, feel free to reply in two separate comments. If you are a student from a particular class, please identify yourself as such. If not, let me know how you found me. Ok, here we go!

From The Whole Warm World:

In May, three months ago, I realized that I am not like my father or brother, Felton. This gene did not transfer. I am not a mammoth athlete, and, I’m serious, I won’t ever be.

This, of course, is the least of my troubles.

It really bothered me, which is dumb, because I’ve never wanted to play sports.

What’s sort of funny about this situation is that my classmates wanted me to play sports very badly, EXTREMELY, because my older brother, Felton, is an amazing football player. My high school class isn’t that athletic. I suppose they thought I’d save their sweaty sports buns, but I can’t. What isn’t funny about this situation is that back then, before, in April, I was really happy.

I turned sixteen and Grandma Berba purchased me a used Toyota Celica and I was free. My girlfriend, Bony Emily, and I would drive up and down Bluffton, Wisconsin’s Main Street laughing at the drunk and angry college kids. Sometimes Emily would yell funny things at them, like: “Learn to walk, Drunkie McDrunkbottom!” that made them even more angry, but they couldn’t catch us, because they were on foot and couldn’t walk very well due to their drunkenness and we were in my car. Then we’d drive into the country and go into county parks at night, which was scary. Sometimes we’d drive to Dubuque, Iowa to see decent movies. This was a good life and I didn’t worry.

Thanks to Geoff for doing this with me. Hopefully he'll be back to enjoy all the feedback. Now, you know, do your thing.



  1. I like that Geoff forecasts the time frame in which this book will take place. YA is so good at letting the reader know, "Okay, this is going to happen within a span of time, much like a short span of time you might spend in a situation." It's not like the sprawling Conroy texts that ask you to remember the aunt from the main character's childhood who returns as his life is crumbling with some family secret we should have caught on page 100.

    Here's the thing--dorks have lives, right? They go out and do fun things. It may not be the post-game dance or weekend kegger, but they find these networks of friends that the beautiful people secretly wish they had.

    I think Geoff is on to something with both titles. I would love to see Stupid Fast as sports books are very popular with my guy readers. I am sensing it would work well in "ladders" with Crutcher, Yee, and the Allen Zadoff book, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Cannot Have.

    Good luck, Geoff!

  2. dorks have lives?!?!


    (yes, I am a dork. :))

    Geoff, if you humanly can scrounge one up, you should send Paul an ARC (I can get you his address). He is what's known as The Bomb. In a good way, you know.

    Did I mention I'm a dork?

  3. Thanks, Paul. I appreciate it! And, yup, the story takes place in those three months. So nice to have a time container to work with at the beginning of writing a book! I know what has to be accomplished and just about when to make the story make sense.

    I can get an ARC to Paul, too. Let me know addie!

  4. First of all, congrats Geoff on a sequel, that's awesome!!!

    I love the title!

    It's amazing to me, that in such a small paragraph, Geoff actually kind of catches you up on what happened in the first book, while also, moving forward, setting the stage for the second.

    I love the name "Bony Emily" hilarious, and her yelling Drunkie McDrunkbottom. LOL.

    What didn't work for me? um. Not much in this snippet not to like.

  5. Here's mine. It's the beginning of a WIP called Withered.

    When I met Sarah, she was normal. There was no drama, no baggage, no pain. But that was before. Before everything. We met at high school orientation, both new to the area. She stood out in the crowd, pretty and outgoing, so much my opposite. I was quite plain back then, and so shy. Painfully so. We immediately latched on to one another, or, I suppose it was more me latching on to her, her spirit, her charm, her shine. She could make friends anywhere she went. Our friendship was perfect, so perfect in fact that we became besties, and would remain that way forever. Of course, forevers don’t really last, do they? Our forever ended long before it was meant to, I’m sure of it.
    Remembering back that day, I was so nervous I threw up that morning. “Oh, Willa, it’s not all that bad.”
    “You try going to a whole new school in a new city where you don’t know anyone and then you can tell me it’s not all that bad.”
    My dad, he’s in the petrochemical business, don’t ask me what that is, I’ve asked him a million times and still don’t understand what he does, anyway, he got this big promotion, only thing was, we had to move all the way from a tiny town in Oklahoma to the west coast. I had to leave my school, my friends; I even had to leave my horse, Ninja, behind.

  6. "This was a good life and I didn't worry."

    Apparently he should have.... Now I'm hooked.

  7. Hi, my name is Felecia and I'm from Mrs. Andersen's Y.A. Lit class.

    Geoff, I really like your title, it's AMAZING. :) That little bit has really captured my attention too. I love how the character is not extremly far fetched, like most characters tend to be.

    Gae, hi. Okay, I've read like ALL of you Friday Feedbacks but I've always chickened out on commenting...Sorry. All of them have been AMAZING though.

    Uhm, my turn now I guess....Uhm this is a story my cousin told it's based on true stuff (according to her) but I wrote it. It's really bad though.....

    Sam has always been an ominus(?) presence in my life, lurking around corners, watching me sleep. He's like a shadow. He follows me everywhere I go, but still out of reach;untouchable.
    But recently Sam has been more controling,he's beginning to affect my friends

  8. *Note* The bell rang and Felicia had to get to class so she couldn't finish her piece. Hopefully she will later! :)

    I'll post my thoughts later today.

    -Sarah (Mrs. Andersen)

  9. All you commenting lovelies, I am IN THE WEEDS today and will not be out of them until later this evening, but then I will and will be back to read and comment on all your stuff. Felicia, yay for being brave! Hurry back!

    Hopefull Geoff will chime in too, but he has a day job so also may not be back until later.

    We'll see you soon! Keep commenting. And throw confetti at Geoff. :)

  10. Thanks so much, Felecia! I do love paranormal lit. It's great stuff. But, I can't write it! My stories tend to be realism (more funny and sad than spooky). I really appreciate your feedback!

    And, I do really like your hook with the Sam story. You provide both a mystery (who is Sam?) and an impetus to tell the story (his behavior has changed... and not for the better). I'm certainly curious to know what happens next! Stupid bell ringing!

  11. Also, Megan, I am a HUGE fan of the sort of "if I knew then what I know now, this story wouldn't have happened" story. Think you're hitting that in your own and it's a great hook! Also, just love your voice on the page!

  12. Thanks Geoff. I appreciate the comments. And I will add, I cannot wait to read Stupid Fast!!

  13. "This, of course, is the least of my troubles."

    This makes me want to know what his other troubles are. I'm hooked. My only problem is the length, I feel it is too short, but that could just be me wanting more of the story :)

    Gae told me I could post a poem because that's all I've been writing recently (And sadly, neglecting my story) Hopefully I'll be able to focus and have an actual story snippet for next time, though.


    I wonder what would happen
    If you added music to my rhymes
    Would it make them greater?
    Or would it be a crime?

    Lay a tune behind my words
    I think I'd like to see
    What my phrases sound like
    Coupled with a melody

    Every beat and every measure
    Dance like long lost friends
    All the lyrics in each verse
    Fit together end to end

    I'd like to feel the rhythm
    To hear my words in song
    Listen to the harmony
    It might not be too long

  14. Hey Ellie, I teach college creative writing and cannot get lots of my students to understand the difference between figurative and literal language. Just great to read something actually operating on more than one level! Thanks so much for posting it.

  15. Thanks so much :)

    I'm hoping to be less neglectful when it comes to posting on Friday feedback, but at least now I know I can put a poem up if I'm ever too slow to finish my piece lol

  16. Geoff did a great job with the feedback today, so just suffice it to say that it gave me great pleasure to read all the stuff here.

    Felicia, hope you hurry back with the rest of that excerpt because I was thinking it sounded pretty good.

    Ellie, I enjoyed the rhythm of your poem ;)

    See you all soon!

    (Thanks, Geoff!)

  17. Congrats on the sequel!! I can't wait to read Stupid Fast! *throws confetti*

    I'm agreeing with Ellie, the sentence, "This, of course, is the least of my troubles." makes me want to know what's wrong and continue reading.

    The part where the MC says, "I am not a mammoth athlete," reminds me of my twin brothers. One is 6'0" 125 lbs, and the other is 6'4" 315 lbs. One is twiggy and one is mammothy. (although neither are very athletic)

    There isn't anything that doesn't work for me, I love it. :)

    *brushes confetti from keyboard and puts on writing cap*

    As I squirmed around my bed, I clutched my sides and screamed into my pillow. I was crying so hard I couldn't breathe. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest just to see how long it took until I passed out. Maybe I could cry out all the anger and pain I felt inside. How could no one realize how emotionally unstable I felt? Gripping my sides didn't help me breathe any better, but it felt like I could hold myself together and not shatter into a million pieces. Like a broken figurine, glue between the cracks, and a rubber band around it for support while you wait for it to fuse back together. By the time I was all cried out, my hand was bruising and sore. I couldn't make a fist anymore. My pillow felt as if it had been left out in a rainstorm. I tossed my soggy pillow aside and tried to sleep. I didn't want to go through with tomorrow because I already knew what was coming.

    *very rough, but everything I post is*

  18. Caroline,

    Im tired so Im cheating and just telling you one thing. This image is gold:

    Like a broken figurine, glue between the cracks, and a rubber band around it for support while you wait for it to fuse back together.

    keep going lovely.

  19. Thank you! :) I wasn't sure how other would take that sentence, but now I am ok with it! :D

  20. Yeah, Caroline! I'm with Gae on that image. Really cool.

    (Thanks for the whole day Gae and everyone -- very fun to get to come back and check up every few hours.)

  21. I like the idea of Bony Emily (what boy in his right mind would call his g-friend that?). I intrigued already by their relationship.

    What happens if they get caught? Where are they going as a team

  22. Just stopping by as I watch football on this nice Sunday...and how can you have football without Nacho Dip? :-) I'm looking forward to Geoff's first book: I have a 15-year-old son who likes contemporary fiction starring guys and complains that he can rarely find any. I know he'll love STUPID FAST.
    I love this excerpt and how quickly it catches me up on book 1. The voice is cool and different and I know I'm going to enjoy the journey...wherever he takes me. Plus, Bony Emily...LOL!

    Thanks for sharing this here!

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