rita ackerman

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Book Discussion Groups In Reverse


I recently made a post about how book discussion groups can help writers. In one of those synchronized moments it worked in reverse. 09-05stedman_full_380

Our book for December was The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. I have to say that everyone in the group (male and female)  gave it a nine or ten out of ten. That is quite unusual. I highly suggest everybody read this book for her fantastic writing voice and an amazing story.

Our group leader always does a lot of research on the author, the area and any history that might apply to the book. Phyllis commented that Stedman didn’t know from scene to scene what was going to happen. Even as a writer this amazes me.

I found a couple of interviews that I thought interesting:

From the Sydney Morning Herald, March 24, 2012

“I just sit down and make it up. I don’t plan, so it’s not as though I have an outline or structure. It’s an instinctive process. When I start to write I let a picture or sentence of voice come to me.”

An interview with Margot L. Stedman from RealSimple.com

“For this story, the setting turned up first – I closed my eyes and saw a lighthouse, then gradually a woman, and I knew it was a long time ago, on an island off Western Australia. Then a man appeared – the lightkeeper . . .”

“I had no idea how the story would end until it ended . . .”

During the discussion Phyllis asked if I had comments about how this author worked. I thought about that for awhile and at the end of the meeting I made some of my own comments.

I’ve heard numerous writers talk about their process. I’ve also sat and written with many writers. When we write from prompts it is all stream of consciousness and so many times after reading our ten minute writings we end with “I don’t know where that came from.” Letting go and letting the writing take over is an amazing experience.

One of the book discussion group members is now looking forward to trying the writing experience in my writing group. As a writer she will find more insights into her reading.

Take out a pen and piece of paper. Study the photo below and start writing whatever comes to mind. Quickly without thought or editing.Washington2013D 058

Please share your experience.



  1. I love it when inspiration gets me to write something I never expected. It’s rather interesting that so many things are hiding inside of us, just waiting for the door to open. 🙂

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