Geoff Herbach on Setting the Scene

Timing can be one of the most challenging and least intuitive aspects of writing a story. Authors shorten or cut out chunks of the storyline, flip easily to flashbacks, and slow waaaay down to focus on an important image or moment in the story. Real life just doesn’t move in the same way!

Knowing that you have the freedom to make time flexible can be awesome, though. Just ask Geoff Herbach. He’s the author of YA novels Stupid Fast and Nothing Special and, for the last two weeks, he’s shown us how to write with specific detail and how to craft interesting characters.

This week, give his video below a gander, and then take a hack at his writing challenge: First write a summary that gives some details about your characters’ pasts, and then follow it up with a scene in real time. That scene should be a moment of high conflict, and should in some way disrupt the events of the summary–take that back context, turn it on its head, and destroy it.

You can feel free to use characters you’ve written about before, characters you’ve created specifically for Herbach’s previous writing challenges, or brand news characters you’ve been itching to put on paper. Tag your challenge response with HerbachWriting3, and Geoff might just read and offer feedback on your work!

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9 thoughts on “Geoff Herbach on Setting the Scene

  1. Great lesson! I’ve started looking forward to these videos; Geoff is such an engaging teacher. Going to the library tomorrow to get a copy of ‘Stupid Fast’

  2. I actually got to meet this author at my writing camp! I read his book “Stupid Fast” too, it’s really deep and a great read!

    • Hey Darragh,
      I’m trying to hit them as they come up. I think I miss a few, but I’ll make sure I get yours during the week if it is here.
      Geoff

  3. This is hysterical. Loved it. Too bad about the eye, though. In summary, I’m glad I was able to hear the scene because I can’t get that vision of their car stuck in a pine tree out of my head. It’s a great video and I even learned something about Scene and Summary.

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