How I Come Up with Ideas for Discussions

Posted April 15, 2015 by Stormy in Books / 9 Comments

Forgive me, non-blogging readers, for this post that’s pretty much entirely about blogging.

Discussion posts are ever-popular in the book blogosphere. It’s not uncommon for people to voice their preference for discussion and features over reviews. This isn’t a universal standard, of course, but I see it quite often. I also see bloggers talk about how they want to come up with discussion posts but have trouble doing so.

I’m definitely not the most creative person when it comes to discussion posts, but for the most part I’m able to keep a pretty steady cycle of discussion posts going. There’s always so much bookish to discuss! So today I thought I would share some of the ways I come up with the discussions I post.

1. I look at the types of plot devices and tropes I often reference in book reviews

The fastest way I come up with discussion post ideas? I look at plot devices, tropes, and common themes I often reference whenever I review books. If I sense a pattern of things I like to reference, I might write a post on why that particular theme/plot device tends to jump out at me. For example, my post about the informed character trait came because of a book that was annoying me.

The best part about this finding discussions this way is that the well of ideas is pretty much endless! There are entire sites dedicated to tropes in fiction, so these are things that I generally always have an opinion on.

2. I think about how reading or certain books have affected me throughout my life

I’ve been a reader all my life, which means at times it’s affected my life in some pretty profound ways. There have been times when books have been a light in a pretty dark place, and I like to talk about that. I’ve talked about how I felt weird reading certain books in middle school because I thought the fantasy section was “for boys” and what books taught me(which is still my favorite post I’ve ever written).

3. Weighing on in the discussion in the general book community

Discussions are often cyclical in the book community, I’ve found. Sometimes these discussions are heated(I generally try and stay away from most of those), but sometimes they’re more from issues that just arise because someone starts talking about them. I’ve written about how I don’t really have an independent bookstore in my community and how the reading police don’t exist.

4. Discussing reading/book habits

Another topic that seems endless! We can talk about book reading, book buying, book borrowing, how we read(slow, fast, multiple chunks, whenever we can get a spare minute, etc.) I can discuss how things influence my bookish habits or just explain a habit I have. I’ve talked about how I side-eye long books, how I’ve fallen back in love with re-reading, and how I’m a one-sitting reader. I always like these kinds of posts, too, because they’re often more personal than the types of discussions that #1 or #3 above invite.

LET’S CHAT: If you’re a blogger, how do you come up with discussion posts if you write them/what’s your favorite kind to write? If you’re not a blogger, what kind of discussion posts do you like reading?

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9 responses to “How I Come Up with Ideas for Discussions

  1. I’m definitely bookmarking this one for future reference. I really love reading (and sometimes writing) discussion posts, but I have an incredibly difficult time coming up with ideas. I’ll sometimes be struck by one, but it’s rare. I’ve already come up with a few ideas while reading this post!

    • Stormy

      I think my ideas goes in cycles. Sometimes I’ll have dry spells for MONTHS and feel like I have nothing new to say. Personally I find that once I come up with one idea, they tend to kind of keep on coming, though I’m sure it doesn’t work that way for everyone. But yay, I hope it’s helpful!

  2. I enjoy reading discussion posts, but have just started writing them more often. I am not a shy, retiring person, but I used to think, “Why would someone want to hear my rants or thoughts on any topic?” To push myself I signed up for the 2015 Discussion Challenge. You may want to think about linking in. You have great, very organized thoughts on discussion posts. http://itstartsatmidnight.com/2015/04/april-2015-discussion-challenge-link-up-and-giveaway/

    • Stormy

      I totally get that train of thought. I don’t think I’ve ever had it with discussion posts, necessarily, but I *do* sometimes have those self-doubting questions when it comes to blogging in general. On the hard days, it can feel like shouting into a void. But thanks for sharing about that link-up–I haven’t seen it around, but it looks awesome!

  3. I love discussion posts, especially if it’s a conversation with the readers, not just a “this is what I think, the end” post.

    I always enjoy reading about how bloggers rate their books, when they DNF books, re-reading, and favorite/least favorite tropes. I also like discussions that are targeted specifically to other bloggers, because I’m always thinking about whether or not I should start one. (My current thought is “no.”) I guess this isn’t as much of a a discussion, but I do like reading more personal posts from bloggers, because it gives their reviews more meaning for me.

    • Stormy

      I love them too!
      It’s really interesting to me that you do like discussions that are targeted at other bloggers, though. I try not to write too many of them because I don’t necessarily want to be talking to an echo chamber, but now & a then a topic just grabs me and won’t let go. It makes sense, though, that it kinda helps if you’re thinking about whether or not you should start a blog.

      I really like personal posts too! I probably like them more than discussion-based post. It’s nice to get a sense of feel from a blogger.

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