How many of you writers have joined book clubs? I recently joined one online, mainly because I’m an avid reader and wanted to take part in discussions on some of the great novels I’ve enjoyed.
A side benefit is that I’m getting to see how the average American reader responds to what they read. There are 81 members in my club, scattered across the country, coming from a variety of backgrounds. After I’m done reading the monthly selection and have formed my opinion of the work, then I love digging in to see what the others think about the characters, plot, setting, etc.
I’m learning some valuable things about writing as a result. For example, April’s book has five female main characters and I’m picking up on how readers relate to each of them, their strengths and weaknesses, and the things they found down right annoying. Surprisingly, most readers enjoyed the backstory that each character brought (I know, I know. How many times have we writers been told to lose the ‘info dump’, but this goes to show that all readers aren’t automatically going to reject it.) And there is a thread going concerning the shifting first person perspective, which I was certain most would find confusing, as I did during the first few chapters.
A book club might be something for you to consider, both for fun and the educational benefit writers can gain.