Friday Speak Out!: How Book Clubs Can Improve Your Writing

Friday, October 27, 2023
by Sharon Virts

When it comes to penning your novel, there are so many contradictory methods and strategies to writing that it can be overwhelming. I mean, how do you know if your writing will delight an audience?

I know, because when I began crafting my first novel, finding my rhythm, building my story structure, and determining my writing style was quite challenging.

Surprisingly, it was my book club that helped me write with more confidence .

Start Or Join A Book Club

A book club with a diverse set of members is such a great place to gather input from other readers. You know what YOU like—but what would readers want from a book like yours?

Of course, being in a book club or hosting one like my Read With Sharon book club means you need to read. A lot. Which may seem counterintuitive. Shouldn’t you be using that precious time to write? In my opinion, you need to find time to do both and here’s why:

Reading leads to interesting discussions and debate—and those conversations lead to “ah-ha” moments as a writer.

“Oh, now I see why it was written that way.”

“Ah, that arrangement makes sense.”

“Hm, perhaps the author could have taken that in a better direction.”

“Wow, I might have written that ending a lot differently.”

These realizations lead to revelations (and epiphanies) in your own work.

How Book Clubs Improve Writing

Once you read more and have in-depth conversations with others about the books you are reading, your writing naturally improves. Your vocabulary builds and your technique expands.

Book club discussions provide different perspectives of readers—and you will write with a broader audience experience in mind.

Book club picks help you learn which genres and styles you gravitate toward, not only as a reader, but also as a writer. The choices and favorites of book club members also provide insight into trends and popularity of certain kinds of stories. This drives the commerciality of your writing which improves your prospects of getting published.

A book club community is an excellent source of support when you are writing a book. Knowing others who love to read and are excited about your project can provide encouragement when you hit those awful moments of writer’s block. Book club members are also a great source of beta readers for early drafts of your manuscript.

Interact With Other Authors

In my Read With Sharon book club, I invite the authors of our monthly picks to our zoom meeting to discuss their inspiration and the critical decision points they encountered during the writing process. I find these discussions extremely helpful in addressing my own challenges. There are podcasts and interviews of authors you can access online as well. Hearing the struggles of other authors in your genre and how they overcame them can be extremely helpful in facing your own challenges.

For me, reading is just as important as writing. Both reading and my book club have kept me in tune with the reader community and have helped improve my writing. Happy Reading!

* * *

Sharon Virts’ second historical novel, Veil of Doubt (Girl Friday Books), released October 10, 2023. Check out Sharon’s blog, follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or visit her at historic Selma Mansion in Leesburg, Virginia.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Stephanie Barko said...

What a clever article! As a book group founder/moderator myself, I enjoyed this perspective. Thanks for posting Sharon Virts.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top