Thursday, March 06, 2008

Conversation starters

I spent part of yesterday compiling the Reading Group Guide that will go with my book when it comes out...you know, the 10-20 questions designed to generate discussion in book clubs and other social groups who will have the chance to talk about how I was, in many ways, the dumbest twenty-something they've ever heard of:) (I see this as way to help readers get beyond the obvious first reaction--something along the lines of, "Face it Trish-He's just not that into you!"--and generate enough interesting conversation for everyone to enjoy a glass of wine and some Brie.)

About fifteen minutes into the project, I started giggling. I realized that this whole idea is different when your book is a memoir, rather than fiction. Essentially, what I'm doing is creating prompts to generate the exact conversations I've always feared the most: the worst-case scenario assessments I was terrified people were whispering each time I veered off on some crazy left turn when I was supposed to be going right:

"What do you mean Trish left her law career? What's she thinking?"
"I don't know...Apparently, some bestselling New Age author is taking her on a 'spiritual pilgrimage' to Greece. I mean, who does that?"
"But wait...whatever happened to that nice blond guy she was dating?"
"Oh him--he announced over dinner that he might be bisexual. And you know Trish...she's so picky..."

Too funny (now, at least...) It's challenging for me to stick with the accepted question protocol (which reads something to the effect of: "Trish made a series of unusual decisions in her personal and professional life...What impact did this have on her? Do you agree or disagree with her choices? Discuss.") I can't stop imagining how these conversations are more likely to go:

"This Trish was kind of a wing nut! Why was she dating the semi-bisexual in the first place?"
"Don't you remember? She moved her fishbowl from one end of the living room to another to generate romantic opportunity, and he's the guy who showed up. But he was a Pisces, so his water energy drowned out the fire of her Leo rising."
"Man...if God can sort her out, he'll help anybody..."

I can't be the only one who has wondered about these types of conversations, right? So tell me...if you were crafting the Reading Group Guide for your memoir, what would be THE question to get the conversation started?

14 comments:

Accidental Admin. said...

"I wonder if she prefers bikini briefs or thongs" might be one of them. Followed with a discussion of why work clothes are always so damn uncomfortable and can not get me excited and enthused and why a pair of boring, boxy, baggy-assed flannel pajama bottoms is really my favorite article of clothing (well, especially when paired with a beaten up old t-shirt of my old, beaten up, starting-to-get-holes hoodie).

:)

Stacy said...

I don't know about questions, but I'm sure that your readers will be relieved that dating misadventures also happen to beautiful, educated women like you. ;)

keri mikulski :) said...

Good luck with the guide. :).

Maybe something like this: What the heck was she thinking? Why couldn't she just be happy with what she was doing? :)

Nilsa S. said...

I think my question would be based on why women (and in this case I) date bad boys, the unattainable ones, the ones who will not be there in the long run ... why we pass up perfectly nice guys for the rebels ... until we're ready ourselves to settle down ... and then, BAM, the bad boys get kicked to the curb.

Larramie said...

Love the thought -- and the whole idea -- that God will help anybody. :)

L Sass said...

This is sort of like setting up a reading group guide for your blog, right?

So, do you think Laurel is totally vain to survey her readers for hair help or only sort of vain?

Michelle & the City said...

Would you classify Michelle as a serial monogamist? If so, do you think this hindered her pathetic dating life or helped her avoid dating a bunch of scumbags?

lol

Jess said...

What a scary, scary idea... providing people prompts to dissect your life. In my case mine would probably be something like:

You'll notice that Jess picks up and moves a lot, sometimes to foreign countries where she doesn't speak the language. What do you think that says about her? Where does that desire to move so often come from?

Holly Kennedy said...

Oooh, I've written three of these conversation guides now so I feel your pain/giggles.

I'm looking so forward to your book, Trish!

LEstes65 said...

"Why isn't there an entire section of her book dedicated to talking about how wikkid awesome Lynette is?"

That would be my leading question.

~Virginia~ said...

the semi-bisexual?! where is the link to that post?! :)

have a great weekend!

Z said...

I see those questions in the backs of books sometimes, and I must admit, I kind of snigger at them - why can't people come up with their own thoughts and questions regarding what they are reading, rather than being hand-fed them? While I realize this comment is pointless because you still have to write the things, I wonder when this started to become a regular occurrence in some forms of literature? And how many people actually like them, versus how many are like me and alternate between treating them with scorn (though I've never actually read through them, more just scorned the concept) and holding them in active contempt?
(Sorry, this has nothing to do with your book and your questions, more just the concept in general...)

Moanna said...

You could publish your discussion guide...

chloe elizabeth said...

"How do you think it was possible that she really didn't even kiss a guy until she was 27?"

Which is why I keep my memories to myself. Ha ha ha.