Book Club Writing Lessons

Reading with tea

Reading with Tea

I’m in a book club. We meet monthly, and it’s made up mostly of my personal friends. We’re small, but we’ve been active for over a year.

 

Through book club I’ve been forced to read books way outside my comfort zone. A task I thought I would hate, but turns out, I really love and most importantly, I’ve learned from.

Being an aspiring writer, I tend to read a little more critically than the average reader. Discussing things with a diverse group helps me see what average readers think when they read.

 

Here’s a list of things I’ve learned from a writer’s perspective:

• Writing style and voice is not limited to fiction. An author can be just as imaginative with their words in any genre. Trust me. We’ve read a lot of different genres over the past year.

• Characters are key! It doesn’t matter how much I loathe biography, if the character (yes, even real life people can be characters) strikes a chord with me, I’ll follow them into the utter darkness.

• It’s not the book, it’s me. Sometimes a book can be phenomenal, but it doesn’t mean everyone will love it. Where a person is in their life can affect how they enjoy a book. For instance, I may not be in a place for a tear-jerker, but that doesn’t mean that book is terrible. Given time, I may come back to the book and love it. I think outside factors really can influence a person’s interest in a book.

• Personal preference makes all the difference. The ladies in my book club are my friends in real life. We have lots of things in common. But throw some books at us and suddenly we’re a room of extreme diversity.

 

But the biggest lesson I took away from book club is:

Books should be as diverse as the people who read them. Just because you think whatever you’re writing isn’t hot right now, doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there waiting to read it.

 

I had no idea that one of my besties—who is the happiest most positive person I know—is totally into downer literature filled with hopeless people in hopeless situations. Granted we can still get on board the fantasy train and ride non-stop together, but when it comes to memoir we’re just not on the same page, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s great! It adds a richness to our relationship, and gives us something to learn from each other.

 

So hang in there writer friend. The world is full of diverse people. And just because you think you know your audience, the truth is you don’t. They will surprise you.

 

Don’t write for your audience, write for your story, because only you can tell it.

 

Creative Crafting Everyone

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