At the end of the book...
Once I had consumed my Sunday book (I have a book a day habit), I stumbled upon something that took me by surprise. At the end of the book, the author had thoughtfully placed several discussion questions. This shocked me at first. I haven't run across a book with discussion questions at the end of it since high school. My first thought was slight revulsion. The last thing I want is to spend time dissecting a plot's theme, character motivations, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love doing that, but when reading romance I don't expect to get thought provoking questions.
The questions themselves covered theme, plot points, and asked if the reader had experienced some of the things the protags did. The idea of family was tackled as well. After thinking about it, it dawned on me that this author did something creative, amazing, and in a way I wonder if it actually helped the story in the long run.
It made me stop and think about my own stories and writing. Even the short stories. If I was a teacher, and had to present questions to my classroom about one of my works, what would I ask? Granted I would love to know if someone loved my story, but rarely do discussion questions cover that simple a question.
Do you think you could come up with discussion topics for your story? Or current work in progress? I'm thinking I could, in a way, but I'm actually not that sure now. It's given me a new insight to a method of editing I hadn't thought of before.
@josey I wish I could, but a) I never did those discussion questions because I was homeschooled throughout pretty much all of my high school years, and b) I'm not exactly known for my thought-provoking questions xD
@shy_not_fly17 Haha. I see! Well if you were challenged to come up with a question or two for people to discuss at a book club about your current work in progress, would you be able to?
For Earthlings, I don't know enough about most of the story to be able to think of discussion questions. I think the best I could do is "Based on what is shown of X character's past, how do you think it influenced them in the present?" Except there's not a ton shown of anyone's past and most of it is pretty recent :/
@Shy_Not_Fly17 Haha, same. Even for books with discussion questions in the back, I rarely read through the discussion questions and I never answer them.
I was also homeschooled though, so it's great to see there is another homeschooler on the forum! ^_^
@josey Perhaps. But it would be more along the lines of "What do you think?" and "Where do you think I can improve?" xD Nothing like, "How would you describe the juxtoposition in personalities between 'X Character' and 'Y Character'?"
@typical_demigod I don't normally see a lot of fellow homeschoolers on forums, so it's great to see someone who is (or has been) in a similar position :)
I don't know if Shadows Rise is the best thing to have people discuss. But I guess if I I were to make any questions on it, it'd be along the lines of a person's concept of things such as 'loyalty', 'family' and, cliche as it seems... Right and wrong. I think that's kind of the point of writing a story where no one's technically a horrible person, but everyone has definitely done some horrible things and everyone is technically in the wrong. shrug
What I think caught me off guard about everything was the fact that my knee-jerk reaction to seeing questions was that this person thought they were something special. Or that they felt there was depth in a story that was just pleasant. But of course, that reaction was inspired by educational "questions" from my past.
I was wrong, obviously! Not afraid to point that out. But by thinking about questions I would pose to others, I've actually seen a subtle shift in my writing style. I'm adding more depth. Or maybe I'm reading into it too much! :D Who knows!
I'm adding more depth. Or maybe I'm reading into it too much!
Maybe it's a bit of both?