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Want to know what’s trendy these days in the world of words? I’ve discovered a great way to learn what friends and neighbors think about popular new releases, which by the way, is the type of book every writer is hoping to write. Of course reading is the best way to get in the head of a best selling author who has achieved what you want to become, but it’s even better to participate in a stimulating discussion about what you have read.

Where can you find people who have come together specifically for this purpose? In a book club! Yep. Hottest thing going right now, and one of the more positive activities in our modern day world. What? No time to form or attend a book club? Think again! If you aren’t reading what is currently out there and discussing what you’ve read with other readers, you are missing an invaluable opportunity to learn what people appreciate in a good read.

Okay, yes, we are all a little inflexible about the idea of writing to the market and nor should we do that. As every good conference speaker and book on writing tells us, it’s best to write what you know, for one, and what you are passionate about for another. Understanding how your audience thinks, however, can play a large role in developing characters they will relate to, or be repelled by, and for creating settings or plots of interest.

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Think of it as an adventure not unlike Alice in her rabbit hole. I had no idea when forming Book Club Divas it would turn out to be a delightful monthly brunch at different member’s homes, where we feasted on delicious food as well as food for thought! Each discussion deepened my own understanding of what the author was trying to convey, whether or not that author had done a good job, and why or why not. How valuable is that information to a writer? I would say it’s priceless.

Taking the time to read each month’s selection and form purposeful thoughts about the writing style, plot, setting, characters and overall theme of the books has greatly enriched my thinking and probably influenced my writing while currently doing final edits on my next novel.

If I was moved by what an author created between the pages – be it a beautiful description, amazing word choice, admirable heroine or horrific villain, it stuck with me. Now this knowledge is all up in my head fermenting, just waiting for the perfect day to spill out in my own voice, a rich blend of previous input and personal touch.

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So how does one find the perfect book club that won’t be a waste of precious writing procrastination time? I would say form your own. You can be as creative as you want with the members you choose, books you read, places and times you meet. I am grateful my Book Club Divas helped the structure and overall personality of our group develop and mature throughout the year. I relish how our very differing opinions and diversity of backgrounds has lent a touch of spice to the meaty discussions.

I promise if you take the time for a monthly book club, the reward for your effort will be far reaching. I have made new friends and fond memories, and read some great books I might not have selected on my own… a few of which will always be a part of me now, because they changed me in some way as a person, and more importantly as a writer.

Although I have chosen to move on from Book Club Divas at this time, I am already thinking about that next book club! I plan to form it when the time is right. Like reading and writing, participating in a book club is now a must-do passion. There is simply no going back to reading as I once did, without the anticipation and interaction of other voices weighing in on the literary scale with their often conflicting and always convicted opinions.

It’s a wonderful dramatic ending to reading a noteworthy novel and I want to thank my Book Club Divas for the memorable time we spent together. Sometimes I really believed I had fallen down a rabbit hole and was sitting at a most stimulating tea party, with Alice sitting wide-eyed among us, her blonde hair and blue party dress not moving even a hair as we discussed a wonderland of literary make-believe, all the while drawing real life conclusions that ultimately will help us to be better thinkers…. and writers.

If you are in a book club I would love to hear about how it’s structured, where you meet and what you’ve read recently!

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