Hello all, Katy Lee, here. I’ve noticed lately many of the fiction books I’ve read contain book discussion questions on their last few pages. Discussion questions are no longer just for non-fiction anymore. And if the questions are not in the book, then I’ve seen many authors put them on their websites for readers to grab.
For me, I think this is a great way to encourage book clubs to choose your book for their next read. With so many book clubs now, whether online or in person, it seems like a good thing to do for the readers, especially for the book club director, who would have had to read the book ahead of time to then create the questions on their own. If I was a director, I would sure lean toward the books that already have them created.
Since my debut novel, Real Virtue, was selected for the May read in the Clean Reads Book Club, I offered to create such a list of conversation starters for the discussion that will take place here on June 14th . But since I had never created discussion questions before, I wasn’t sure where to start.
First, I went back through many of my books that I had previously seen questions in to see how other authors completed this task.
Some seemed really difficult to answer and even stumped me. (And these were books I’ve read) I didn’t want my questions to feel like a test to see if someone really read the book. I wanted them to be enjoyable and contemplative.
I then looked online for some basic generic questions that could be used for any book, but they were so generic they could be answered in one word answers with nothing to elaborate on. (Where’s the discussion in that?)
In the end, what I chose to do was go back to my synopsis. (The long one.) For me to form solid, thought-provoking questions that would assure the reader understood the points of the story and where I was coming from, and how they could relate to it as well, I needed to go back to the very source I used to show an editor these same things.
From there I created a handful of discussion starters, not pages worth that could take hours to answer, just around five questions that wouldn’t feel intimidating and something like you felt compelled to tackle. Just the thought of that makes me think of homework and where’s the fun in that?
Which leads me to The Unlocked Secret: Keep it fun. Reading is about escape. The discussion should be a way to prolong the escape and keep your characters alive in the minds of your readers a bit longer. Perhaps even to encourage your readers to recommend the book to someone else.
To view my questions for Real Virtue, you can find them here. While there be sure to sign up for my occassional email update or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card to Starbucks at the end of June. See all the ways you can be entered on my site.
Questions for you: Do you answer the discussion questions you find at the end of some books? Do you even read them? Why or why not? If you belong to a book club, do you choose books that have premade questions over books that don’t?