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July Invite & June Replay: Our Book Club for Writers & Curious Readers

Our July Book Club pick, announced!
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Hello, Protagonists,

I’m really excited about our July book pick! (details below)

Also, if you missed our book club meeting, you can watch the replay now.

We had such a fantastic discussion of The Every by Dave Eggers and talked about:

  • writing satire: what the author did to make the world feel so real

  • how character development can mirror the reader’s emotions

  • introducing new characters later in a book—does it work?

  • seeding in foreshadowing during the revision process

  • changing character POVs in the storytelling

  • how characters can sometimes be both the protagonist and the antagonist

In the writer hangout portion, we chatted about:

  • How come bestseller lists aren’t based on actual sales?

    • What is considered a bestseller?

    • Is it different for every organization that creates these lists?

  • Author branding: do you have to choose only one genre to write?

  • Pen names—do you really need one?

»To keep our members’ conversations private from the general internet, the book club replay is behind a paywall.

Paid subscribers get full access to our Book Club for Writers & Curious Readers, as well as our private Creativity VIP chat group.

100% of paid subscriptions go toward funding our Scholarships for Aspiring Writers (more details here)

*I want to make sure that everyone can participate in our Book Club, so if a paid subscription is a hardship, please email me at evelyn@creativeinspiredhappy.com and I will gladly set you up with a complimentary subscription.

Our Book Club for Writers and Curious Readers

Your July Invitation!

WHO: Writers who love reading and want to examine stories more closely, and Readers who are curious about why they feel the way they do about a book.

WHAT:

Book Discussion (30-45 minutes)—What makes this book tick? We’ll talk about things like whether the plot worked and if not, why not? Where was the pacing great and where did the tension dip, and why? And why do some people love Character A but others hate him, while Character B is universally adored?

Bonus Writers’ Chat (30 minutes): After the book discussion, we’ll have an optional hangout to share what we’re working on, ask each other for advice on writer’s block, finding a literary agent, doing book publicity, etc.

WHEN: Sunday, July 21, 2024 @ 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT

(Meetings will be at the end of each month, with book picks announced the month prior.)

WHERE: Zoom (feel free to come with your video off, introverts!)

To prevent Zoom-bombing from not-nice people, the Zoom link will be sent to paid subscribers 2-3 days before the meeting.

WHY: Because it will be so much fun to look at published books through a writer’s lens!

HOW: Bring your smart insights and your “dumb” questions, and always lead with kindness, generosity, and a spirit for learning. (Because most of us are writers, too, and we know how much hard work goes into creating the books. And those of us who aren’t writers love books so much, we come from a place of admiration for the authors).


July Book Club Pick:

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

This murder mystery was written by an Australian stand-up comedian and will soon be a HBO/Max TV series. It’s been described as Knives Out and Clue meet Agatha Christie.

The story is told from the point of view of Ernest Cunningham, an author of “How to Write Mysteries” books. He isn’t a detective, but when a dead body is discovered and real detectives can’t get to the scene due to a snowstorm, everyone at the lodge expects Ernest to know how to solve the mystery, just because he happens to write how-to guides about such things.

Here’s a little taste of the author’s voice:

“Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but it is the truth. Some of us are good, others are bad, and some just unfortunate.

I’m Ernest Cunningham. Call me Ern or Ernie. I wish I’d killed whoever decided our family reunion should be at a ski resort, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Have I killed someone? Yes. I have.

Who was it?

Let’s get started.”

In our book club meeting, we will discuss the unorthodox use of foreshadowing in this book (early on, Ernest tells us the exact page numbers where people die!).

He also breaks the fourth wall by pointing out to the reader how the rules of writing mysteries apply to his current predicament. Like this passage:

There are usually two types of cops in these books: Only Hopes and Last Resorts. At this stage, [the officer]’s only hope was to be a Last Resort.

or this passage:

I had to be standing on the roof to get a single bar of reception, and even then it was hit or miss. Which I’m well aware is, like, a thing in these books. You’ll just have to get over it.

We’ll chat about whether this breaking of the fourth wall works (or if it takes you out of the story).

Even though the author is a comedian, this book isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it is funny in a different way. It’ll be interesting to talk about how the use of humor gives this novel a different feel than other murder mysteries.

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How I Choose our Book Picks

Based on my many years of running another book club for writers, I’ve come up with some guidelines for our Book Picks:

  • We never read our members’ books — this was a hard and fast rule from my last book club, because even though we discuss our book picks with kindness and curiosity, it’s still virtually impossible for a writer to listen to other people critique their work, especially if it’s already published and there is nothing they can do to change things. (And sometimes, hearing analysis from their friends is the hardest thing!) So if I ever accidentally choose one of your books (or one of a dear friend whom you’d rather not hear analyzed), please let me know and I’ll pick something else. We are a supportive community and want everyone to feel buoyed by what we do!

  • Paperbacks, not new releases — For the most part, I will pick books that have been out for a while and already in paperback, because this makes them more affordable to buy and/or accessible via libraries (because new releases tend to have longer wait lists). There may be occasional exceptions if you all are hankering to read a specific new release, though.

  • Varying genres — We have writers and readers of all different genres in our wonderful community, so I’m going to try to reflect that. I find that even when a novel might not initially be what I’m normally inclined to read, I am often the most surprised and delighted by those very books. Plus, there is always something interesting to study and learn, no matter what the genre.


    (there’s actually nothing below this line)

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