I regularly turn to my writing critique group to share my WIP and gain valuable feedback from fellow writers. 

Two ways to see it: A gorgeous autumn leaf, or a calling card of poison ivy.

But I also find much value in my monthly book group—and not just because I love to read and then discuss what I’ve read. I marvel at how divergent opinions can be about a book. I’ve wondered at times: Are we talking about the same novel?

Sometimes—actually, rarely—the group coalesces in full delight about a book. More often, some love it, some find it so-so, and some are outright sorry they read beyond the first chapter.

Of course, sites like Goodreads offer ratings and reviews on books for people who don’t have or don’t want to be in a book discussion group. But sitting together with a glass of wine and a plate of snacks is my preferred way of finding out what others think about that new novel or latest work of nonfiction. (My group reads both.)

As a writer, I also see how my take on a book is often at least somewhat different from a nonwriter. I can get caught up in the craft—how do the sentences flow, why did the author use that story structure—and forget that most readers just want a good story. The structural elements are important; they are the solid framework upon which the good story is built. But many readers are willing to give a pass on less-than-perfect structure if they are compelled to keep turning the pages to find out what’s going to happen.

It’s often a reminder to me that as writers we can’t predict what will appeal or connect with readers. One example is Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins. While I thoroughly enjoyed the novel—the crisp narrative, the layered characters, the grim depiction of war—I was disappointed in the ending, which I thought was a cheap shot, the equivalent of a story in which the main character wakes up to realize it’s all been a dream. But one member of my group gave an alternative explanation. For her, the ending with its surprise reveal represented the awful price the soldiers paid: that they forfeited their future, of what might have been. I had to agree. 


Author Bio
Author Bio
Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
  • What You See . . .

    After three sleepless nights, Damian had the bad luck to draw the early shift at Fitzy’s Diner. His eyes were slits as he broke egg after egg for omelets and poured round after round of batter for pancakes. 

  • Eye of the Beholder

    Amy dipped her pen into the container of ink and added a few lines to the portrait of the white-haired man before her.

  • The Messenger

    The folded paper extended no more than two millimeters from beneath the ornate cup and saucer, just enough that Lev noted it as he passed through the main dining room at Bellini’s.

  • Striking Distance

    It’s about noon, my eleventh day on the trail. My feet hurt, and the blisters have begot more blisters. So much for the overpriced, cushioned socks I thought I had to have.

    @dianna_sinovic

  • Puppy Love
    I regularly turn to my writing critique group to share my WIP and gain valuable feedback from fellow writers.  Two ways to see it: A gorgeous autumn leaf, or a calling card of poison ivy. But I also find much value in my monthly book group—and not just because I love to read and then […]
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Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
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  • Neetu Malik says:

    As we often say among poets, once a poem leaves the poet, it becomes the reader’s poem. Each reader brings their own life experience, emotion and perspective to a narrative of any kind. I suppose the novel or story becomes an extension of the reader’s mind in that respect.

    • Dianna Sinovic says:

      Neetu, yes, I agree. We bring what we know to the works we are reading. When a friend/another reader turns that prism slightly for us, we are able to glimpse a different point of view.

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