Happy Independence Day!
There's a certain thrill to reading a book with a group of friends.
One benefit: the challenge encourages all members to actually read a book or at least a chapter.
If the one chapter friend finishes and attends a meeting, he/she is sure to be hooked on reading more.
Who could pass up treats, cocoa/coffee/tea, laughter, and discussion?
For this reading challenge, I read Beth Vogt's Wish You Were Here.
When looking for a unique idea to present for this Why Writers Should Read series, I found Wish You Were Here to be the first non "issue" book to include discussion questions. (by non "issue" I mean this book did not deal extensively with topics such as abuse, mental health, domestic violence, etc.)
I was pleasantly surprised to find the discussion questions after finishing the last chapter and thought it would be a great benefit to book clubs or any group of readers.
Discussion questions not only become a valuable marketing tool but also transport the reader to a deeper understanding of overt and hidden concepts within the story.
What I learned from Beth's discussion questions:
1. One- Yup. The first ingredient is one. One question for each chapter. To include more questions could potentially shorten discussions, inhibit brainstorming, and squelch good ideas. Pick one fabulous question to stir an evening full of discussion.
2. Start with a reminder sentence. Some readers read the chapter last Thursday, some read it while Johnny Jr spit up in the crib, others read it last night, but kind of...forgot some of the chapter. Beth writes a reminder sentence, directing the reader's memory to a particular section of the given chapter.
3. Inclusion- To deepen each chapter question rephrase the question to be directed to the reader. For example:
(this is the discussion question for chapter 2)
"Allison shares an unexpected kiss with her fiancé's brother, Daniel, which causes her even more confusion about marrying Seth. Should Allison have told Seth about the kiss and that she was having second thoughts? Have you ever done something impulsive and regretted it?"
Can you see how all three pieces fall in this short paragraph? One question, started with a reminder sentence, ending with a deeper experience for the reader.
By participating in the discussion questions the reader not only gains the entertainment value of the book, they also gain insight from friends regarding issues addressed in the story.
Have you participated in a book club? Perhaps you read a book with discussions on your own, what did you think? Have you considered including discussion questions in your WIP?
What other component can help us develop good discussion questions?
Once again I am looking for reading partners for another two week challenge. Will you commit with me to read one book in two weeks?
This blog post is by Mary Vee
Mary lives in Montana with her husband and loves to hear from her three college kids. She writes contemporary Christian fiction and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories.
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