Author Geoff Herbach is a pretty entertaining guy. He first proved his writing chops with The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, then turned to YA with Stupid Fast. The latter describes the surprising transformation of Felton Reinstein–a skinny dweeb who suddenly grows into a big, fast, would-be football player. For a guy who used to be called “Squirrel Nut,” the change is shocking, and for the reader, it’s full of amusing and compelling moments. Stupid Fast‘s sequel, Nothing Special, is due out in May.
Over the next few weeks, Geoff will be stopping by Figment to dole out some hilarious and helpful writerly gems and also to get to know the Figment community. Below, find his video about how to boost your writing by using concrete details instead of vague phrases–it’s the fastest way to make your sentences more interesting to read and to write.
After watching the video, look for a writing challenge! Geoff himself will be reading and responding to some of the Figment entries, so be sure to tag your work with herbachwriting for the chance to have a published author check out you and your writing.
You’ve seen the video, and now, Geoff’s challenge!
Bobby was such a nice boy. He would help people who needed to be helped. But something wasn’t right. Bobby felt sad every day of his life.
Abstractions are words that refer to something that isn’t physical or concrete: love, success, strong, racism (any “ism”), peaceful, rushed, creepy. Remember, steer clear of abstractions in your writing whenever you can!
Show rather than tell emotion words–A lump formed in her throat and she struggled to speak over it says so much more than She felt sad. What do sad, happy, angry, enraged, wistful, etc. look like?
Take those boring sentences about Bobby and, in a few paragraphs, see if you can breathe new life into them, transform the character, and spur your reader to keep following the story. Be sure to tag your writing with HerbachWriting–Geoff will check out and comment on several of the entries.