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Book Club Organizing/Discussion

What kind of club would you like?

  • Singe club for all types of fics

    Votes: 6 60.0%
  • Separate PMD and non-PMD clubs

    Votes: 4 40.0%
  • Other (please comment with more info)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    10
  • Poll closed .

Negrek

Event Horizon
Staff
As was discussed on the Discord, some people thought it might be fun to set up some kind of "book club" for fanfics, where a group of people get together and read/discuss the same story at the same time. Moving it over here to finalize some details and let more people in on the discussion!

- One suggestion was that we roll a story once per month, then read and discuss it until the next month rolls around. At that point, if we hadn't made it to the end of the story, anyone interested in continuing could break off into their own group to continue discussing, and anyone wanting to try a new story or new people wanting to jump in would have a new fic rolled for them. Perhaps a different cadence for this? Once every two months/once a quarter instead, if the fics selected for reading tend to be long?
- Would you instead prefer a general organization thread where people could find other people interested in reading a story who could then go off and discuss on their own?
- Combination of both? Other??
- What sort of fics should be read? This sort of thing definitely seems to lend itself to longer stories, so should there be some kind of chapter/wordcount minimum? (Though it also might be fun to do the odd "one-shot month" or similar, where a one-shot is read and discussed each week.) Should it be limited to stories posted on Thousand Roads? Should this be an opt-in thing where authors choose to submit stories for discussion, or opt-out where permission is sought only after a potential story's been selected?

And if you're interested... what's the first story we should tackle? Or if we choose to roll randomly, which one would you like to submit to the pool?
 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
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I'm up for this! I'm fine with submitting Eternal Shadows to the randomizer pool!
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
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I want to also float that we roll or vote from a nominated pool instead of a random pool. (Maybe everyone who wants in nominates 1-3?) That won’t favor all forum users equally, I know, but my interest here isn’t so much that I want motivation to review but a group to discuss more deeply something particular I want to learn from, something I’ve been meaning to read, or something I love and want to revisit. I also would love to watch people talk about my fic ... buuuuut wouldn’t be able to contribute much to that conversation myself! I won’t buck the system if we go fully random, but that’s my impulse!
 

kyeugh

you gotta feel your lines
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I want to also float that we roll or vote from a nominated pool instead of a random pool. (Maybe everyone who wants in nominates 1-3?) That won’t favor all forum users equally, I know, but my interest here isn’t so much that I want motivation to review but a group to discuss more deeply something particular I want to learn from, something I’ve been meaning to read, or something I love and want to revisit. I also would love to watch people talk about my fic ... buuuuut wouldn’t be able to contribute much to that conversation myself! I won’t buck the system if we go fully random, but that’s my impulse!
find myself very much agreeing with this. definitely don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by selecting non-randomly, but at the same time there are fics i'd rather participate in book club for over others, and that isn't necessarily a judgement on the quality of either fic, haha. i won't be upset if we go random either, but i'm seconding the choice element here.

edit: sorry, i should have read the main post in full before responding. i certainly think that, if we take the random approach, it should be opt-in. maybe people can nominate fics by other authors (with permission) as well.

as far as the first fic we tackle goes, the conversation about a book club arose around salvage and i think it would be a great jumping off point—well-written, decently long, and with our forum admin for an author! 😁—so that’s where my vote stands.
 
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unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
I'd certainly consider it~ I'd want to watch out for certain pitfalls, as the worst case scenario here is one where half the community becomes a fanclub for One Fic for a considerable time, but it shouldn't be hard to figure out a good system. This would be a good way to get motivated to binge a fic in a less solitary sort of way and make it a community thing. I've always wanted to join a good book club~! I feel like if I were reading a fic for a book club I might not also give substantial reviews, to balance my time allocation. Also, I'd be delighted to submit my own work, save that it's really short right now and has been caught up on by most of our voracious readers already, haha.
 

Negrek

Event Horizon
Staff
I usually adore RNG, but I wouldn’t mind if first fic was the most reviewed one in the four weeks of Ficmas. Means that lots of people can discuss.
That's an interesting idea! I'd be a little worried that the most-reviewed fic would be one that a large people were already caught up on, while I think people were more interested in using the book club as a boost to help them catch up on fics they hadn't started/were behind on. But also, we can just... wait and see what fic this ends up being and whether people are interested in bookclubbing it, heh.
 

SparklingEspeon

Up To No Good
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Dropping my thoughts on this real quick; I think it's a pretty cool idea!

There are several things I'd point attention to on the matter of choosing fics for the book club:

1. I think we should keep the scope open to things beyond the forums. Since there generally isn't anything like an account barrier to read fics on any fanfiction site I can think of, I can't see a downside to this--especially since there are lots of fics that aren't on the forums but would be great candidates for a reading anyway.

2. IMO, reading fics on the forums/fics where the author is present to see the book club should be a soft opt-out thing--if a TR fic is rolled for book club, I think it'd be fair to say that "if you don't want your work read for whatever reason, you have the chance to opt out". Although I guess how that goes forward is going to depend on whatever ends up being the chosen picking method - a submission pile would be opt-in by nature, for instance. Generally I think in 99% of cases the author will be fine with it, but no matter what we go with I feel it'd be good to make sure there's an opt out before the fic is read.

Also some potential issues and stuff I don't necessarily have answers for but I thought should be brought to attention:

3. Throwing out that some people have sensitivities to things and may feel left out if we consistently read things that they aren't comfortable with. (Blood, horror, etc.)

3A. Continuing on that point, I also think there should be a general balance between what genres of fics are chosen--for instance, we have a lot of big PMD fics here, but also people who don't care much for PMD and would feel somewhat left out if we read a bunch of PMD stuff; same goes for trainerfic/pokecentric/other pokemon genres. And, obviously, what gets read for book club isn't always going to be something you're super gung-ho about, but I think we should try to keep it balanced so it doesn't tip too far towards one demographic.

4. This technically doesn't apply to many things outside of PMD, but some works are just stupid long and it would take literal months to go through without breaks. A possible solution to this is to rotate one longer work and a bunch of smaller ones/oneshots? That way, there's something for everyone.

5. What about unfinished works?
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
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This technically doesn't apply to many things outside of PMD, but some works are just stupid long and it would take literal months to go through without breaks. A possible solution to this is to rotate one longer work and a bunch of smaller ones/oneshots? That way, there's something for everyone.
I think that was the plan, to read for a while and for anyone who wants to continue to do so in their own time.

I’m realizing that maybe what I want is more of a book club market place, lol. “I really want to read X and want to discuss. Anyone else want to hop on that specific task?” I think this system could be neat—like a less-casual version of catnip—but isn’t necessarily the itch I personally was hoping to scratch. It’ll be interesting to see what it turns into though.
 
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kintsugi

golden scars | pfp by sun
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Putting my hat in with the roll/vote from the nominated pool folks, mostly for the reasons already said. Perhaps we could tie it in with 7 Day Fic Challlenge? Since those are stories that at least one user here has already indicated that they're interested in. We could pull the recs from the previous month and vote on which one we'd want to be book club for the current month?

Opt-out, as people said, definitely a default. Might be harder to enforce for offsite but we should do due diligence there. Opt-in in conjunction with 7DFC might help remove the stigma of like, "oh I can only be entered if someone makes a rec for me"--although, at the end of the day, it really boils down to whether or not we see this as an event for getting people to read among the community or a platform for getting readers to our own fic, and I think doing the 7DFC slant would be firmly in the former.

If we cycle through monthly I think this deal with some of the concerns higher up about long/unfinished/works that don't interest everyone being picked--it's unlikely that every fic picked will interest everyone, but a month latency isn't punishingly long for trying again.
 
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Negrek

Event Horizon
Staff
Loving all the discussion here!

1. I think we should keep the scope open to things beyond the forums. Since there generally isn't anything like an account barrier to read fics on any fanfiction site I can think of, I can't see a downside to this--especially since there are lots of fics that aren't on the forums but would be great candidates for a reading anyway.
I think there are definitely offsite fics that would make good bookclub candidates. Since I think people were particularly interested in catching up with/talking about stories here on the forums, though, I'd prefer to keep the majority of the works discussed to ones written by members of the community. Maybe something like once every fourth go-round we pick something offsite?

3. Throwing out that some people have sensitivities to things and may feel left out if we consistently read things that they aren't comfortable with. (Blood, horror, etc.)

3A. Continuing on that point, I also think there should be a general balance between what genres of fics are chosen--for instance, we have a lot of big PMD fics here, but also people who don't care much for PMD and would feel somewhat left out if we read a bunch of PMD stuff; same goes for trainerfic/pokecentric/other pokemon genres. And, obviously, what gets read for book club isn't always going to be something you're super gung-ho about, but I think we should try to keep it balanced so it doesn't tip too far towards one demographic.
Yeah, I think if stories were to be decided randomly, it would in practice want to be semi-random... Month to month I think it would be good to switch up genre, style, etc. so that people with different tastes can participate more frequently.

4. This technically doesn't apply to many things outside of PMD, but some works are just stupid long and it would take literal months to go through without breaks. A possible solution to this is to rotate one longer work and a bunch of smaller ones/oneshots? That way, there's something for everyone.
Like OSJ said, the idea was that if we couldn't finish a book in the allotted month, anybody interested in continuing with that fic could do so, and anyone else could either start a new one or take a break. So, if you weren't interested in spending months on a super long story, you'd have the opportunity to try something new after a little while, and if you did want to see it all the way through, you could keep going.

5. What about unfinished works?
I think we'd probably end up reading a fair number of unfinished works, that simply being the nature of fanfic. :P

I’m realizing that maybe what I want is more of a book club market place, lol. “I really want to read X and want to discuss. Anyone else want to hop on that specific task?” I think this system could be neat—like a less-casual version of catnip—but isn’t necessarily the itch I personally was hoping to scratch. It’ll be interesting to see what it turns into though.
Yeah, I was kind of thinking that there were two separate discussion group styles people wanted something to satisfy. I think maybe having two separate threads might be appropriate, one for the "current community-picked" readalong and one where people could organize groups to read particular stories they had an interest in. Or maybe one thread always open for "on-demand" group start-ups, as well as hosting regular new groups based on randomizer?

Putting my hat in with the roll/vote from the nominated pool folks, mostly for the reasons already said. Perhaps we could tie it in with 7 Day Fic Challlenge? Since those are stories that at least one user here has already indicated that they're interested in. We could pull the recs from the previous month and vote on which one we'd want to be book club for the current month?
Hmm, my impression was that the stories recommended in 7DFC tend to be more offsite than not, and like I said to Espy above, I was hoping to mostly feature stories from this community. That might be my bias because I usually try to rec offsite stories, though--would have to go back through and actually look. But if that thread is skewed more towards offsite recs, it might be hard to use it to pick the stories we'd be reading.

Opt-out, as people said, definitely a default. Might be harder to enforce for offsite but we should do due diligence there. Opt-in in conjunction with 7DFC might help remove the stigma of like, "oh I can only be entered if someone makes a rec for me"--although, at the end of the day, it really boils down to whether or not we see this as an event for getting people to read among the community or a platform for getting readers to our own fic, and I think doing the 7DFC slant would be firmly in the former.
I actually think we wouldn't really need permission for offsite fics (where the author isn't part of the community). For me the reason people might want to opt-out is that it can be stressful to know that people are reading and discussing your work--even more stressful when it's somewhere you can actually see (or at least be tempted to look at). So if you don't know it's happening, it's kind of no harm, no foul? Unless someone made it weird by going to tell the author that "these people are talking about your story right here," I would tend to think it okay to bookclub an offsite fic without asking the author's permission.

At this point I'm also kind of thinking that maybe two months would be a better length of time to hold a book club than one month. Even at, say, three chapters a week, you aren't making much of a dent in many of the stories people have discussed bookclubbing. Two months still isn't enough to get through many of them, but I think you'd at least manage to clear at least 25% of most.
 

K_S

Pokémon Trainer
Since theres a strong divide between fandom interest in PMD and non-PMD fics why not just host two clubs? One for PMD and one for everything else? Then the participants can "jump" from club to club when they want a taste of something different or if a proposed read from the other camp catches their interest?
 

Negrek

Event Horizon
Staff
Since theres a strong divide between fandom interest in PMD and non-PMD fics why not just host two clubs? One for PMD and one for everything else? Then the participants can "jump" from club to club when they want a taste of something different or if a proposed read from the other camp catches their interest?
I would just be worried about potential number of participants for each of the groups if we split things like that. Is there anyone who'd be interested in a specifically "PMD" or a specifically "non-PMD" bookclub group?
 

K_S

Pokémon Trainer
Perhaps a poll would better answer than tossing it back and forth here? That way anyone writing/reading can voice their opinion.

If it helps I wouldn't mind joining a non-PMD book club. It's rare I read one I like and am willing to go through to the end. I find the conflict of human/pokemon society and the various "trainer" and "team" focused reads more to my tastes.
 
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IFBench

Rescue Team Member
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I'd personally prefer a single book club for both.
 

Negrek

Event Horizon
Staff
Okay, quick poll: club combining PMD/non-PMD, separate for those two genres, or something else?

Other than that, I think we pretty much just have to settle on an initial fic and a start time... after the end of the blitz is probably good, since people will most likely be doing a lot of reading for it already? Maybe give a couple extra weeks after the fact for people to rest and recover?
 

kyeugh

you gotta feel your lines
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hey y'all, thought it might be a good time to bump this thread now that blitz is over.

looks like the poll at the top favors a single book club rather than a divided one, which is coolio with me. are we feeling up to the task of getting this ball rolling now/soon, or do we want to take a little bit of a breather still as negrek suggested? if we want to get going we need to pick a starting fic, too. my chip's still on salvage!
 

Flyg0n

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I personally feel fine getting the ball rolling on picking a fic or at least discussing a way to pick. Maybe we could aim to start in feb?
 

Flyg0n

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Oh! Also, I personally prefer some kind of nomination system. Like maybe everyone who participates could nominate one or two fics, like someone else on here suggested
 

K_S

Pokémon Trainer
Perhaps another poll? What we start with and when we start? I'm personally not going to be available for consistent long term effort until March or April so I probably should bow out at this point...

But I could just pop in later once the balls rolling....

Meh. Regardless of my scheduling issues definitely need some more data before going in...

Also perhaps we should offer links for anything were recommending?

I'll edit mine in in a sec...

But my suggestion would be continental divides unless everyones read those to completion already?

Divides
 
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