by Carole Brown
Guest Poster: Lisa Lickel
Using and Creating a Reader’s Discussion Guide
Are you one of those readers who never bothers looking at Reading Group Guides,
Discussion Questions, or any other back material in books? Or
do you eat up those goodies and even go online to find any other information about the author or book?
Since joining different book clubs over the past few years, I’ve developed a new respect for those discussion questions. They add a new dimension to a work. It also helps us authors steer our readers into our thought processes and offer our motives behind our work. I love participating in book clubs both as a reader and an invited author, so it’s fun for me to hear what others think of any particular story, but discussion questions can be meaningful for the individual reader for reflection after the last page turns.
I’ve had publishers tell me they don’t want discussion questions in the book, and know of some publishers that require them. I’ve put them in some of my books, and have designed them for my book club when I’ve been the discussion leader and couldn’t find any for the book we’re discussing. When I devise questions for my own books, I’m excited to explain some of the symbolism or issues that I can’t inside the text. Having discussion questions easily available sometimes makes it easier for book clubs to decide to include my book on their reading list.
When we have to put together questions either for our own work or someone else’s, start with generalities. Do you like or dislike the book, the subject, the characters? The best questions are open-ended. They require more than a yes or no answer—in fact, there is no right answer. The point is to generate a discussion or to encourage introspection. Did the reader have an issue with how a particular acted? Relate to the setting? What is unique or special about the theme? Do you feel good about the outcome? That’s really what authors want, after all, for readers to resonate and want to share our work with others. The more passionate responses, the more we’ve hit home.
And yes, a reader’s discussion guide is available for UnderStory on my website on the UnderStory page.
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books, collects dragons, and writes inspiring fiction. She also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops.
Lisa is a member of Women Fiction Writers of America, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Chicago Writer’s Association, and vice president/instructor for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at LisaLickel.com.
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2bPxi2X
Back Cover blurb:
When nobody loves you, you have nothing to lose.
Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target.
Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?
Print links coming soon