Stephen King–who once lived here–has said that if you want to become a writer, you must do two things above all else: write a lot and read a lot. So I’ve started a book club. A book club exclusively for writers who read with purpose, to learn as much as possible from successful novels, so that we can apply that knowledge to our own writing.
Each meeting we pick apart a recent novel from various genres with the goal of uncovering how the author has utilized their skills to great effect. Storytelling is an art, but it’s not a mystery. Every writer must address the following:
- Structure, Timeline, Pacing, Suspense, Omission
- Point of View, including Voice, Character, Place
- Tense, Argot, Imagery, Metaphor, Symbols
- Motivation: Making a story pop – generating a thrill
- Why this story? And why now? Industry considerations beyond packaging and marketing
We ask that all attendees read the novel in advance of the meeting, and come bearing their discoveries of how the author has addressed each of the five points above. Links to all discussion materials can be found at the Book Club Resources.
So join us already
When we meet, it’s on the first Wednesday of the month, somewhere around downtown Boulder, Colorado. Please sign up to attend either on Meetup or Eventbrite. If neither of those work for you, please contact me so I can save you a spot.
The books I’ve chosen for the Fall of 2018 are:
- August 1: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (2017) (Young Adult)
Think that YA is only for teenagers? Think again. This first novel by a former rap artist has been nominated for 11 major awards, including the National Book Award, has been on the New York Times best seller list (YA) since it was published, and has sat at #1 for over a year now. (It’s #1 as I write this.) YA is considered to be the most adventurous genre today, and this book is one reason why. It takes on race relations and police overreach from a survivor’s point of view. Preachy? Nope. Powerful? Absolutely.
- September 5: Less, by Andrew Sean Greer (2017) (Literary: winner, 2018 Pulitzer Prize)
Can an easy read win a Pulitzer? Aren’t literary works supposed to be long and dull? I am having way too much fun reading about this guy who would do anything to avoid a wedding. There’s nothing erudite here, just silliness. What’s that you say? The Gay Ulysses? Ohhhhhhh. Never mind. This frothy picaresque novel attempts to address what is clearly the burning issue of our time: what is it that makes Less such a “bad gay?”
- October 3: Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perotta (2017) (Humor)
You may remember the movie ‘Election’ starring Reese Witherspoon as Enid Flick, the goody-two-shoes you couldn’t stand, and Matthew Broderick as the high school teacher she utterly destroyed. Tom Perotta wrote that story, and many others, too, with similar razor-sharp wit and insight. His latest is about a single mother who gets kinda hooked on Internet porn. Yeah. And she’s a MILF.
- November 7: Origin, by Dan Brown (2017) (Thriller)
The author everyone likes to poke fun at, especially fellow writers. Think you could write a better Dan Brown than Dan Brown? I bet you can’t. In fact, I dare you to even try. Because Dan Brown has what no one else has: a set of very peculiar and obscure obsessions that he knows how to make interesting and relevant. And villains that do his bidding at the end of every chapter, right on schedule, because he’s Dan Brown, dammit. And you’re not.
- December 5: Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday (2018) (Literary)
Asymmetry has two seemingly unrelated halves. How do they fit together? And what about that list of recordings at the end? And isn’t that Philip Roth? This is the 2018 book all the literary mavens are talking about. Join us and discover why.