For this one in particular, at least for what I felt from the first weeks with Daisoujou and these last couple of weeks with me, it’s actually proving to be very manageable. I suppose it’s a case by case thing and it greatly depends on the VN, but I’m very satisfied with aiming for a character range, to be completely honest. It’s also a massive help that @ccookf is researching in advance <3 , that makes it much much easier for me at least. It’s also a fun little game, looking for the convenient spot of the week , you always end up finding one.
Nesting on a summary since I'm going a bit off-topic
This is all going to be coming from me personally as a reader and not as a club organiser (which I don’t see myself as, being completely honest, as of this very moment I see this club as a regency where everyone contributes to make it work together ). The thing for me, if you don’t mind me exposing my raw opinions on the whole book club thing, is that low commitment weeks just don’t seem to be fun for me. A low workload week can kill the mood for me in the same way a very high workload week can. I know that many people like to participate on book clubs and read many things at the same time, have a little of many things to discuss at the same time. I think for me I’m the opposite, I prefer to take a bigger bite of fewer things. That’s why I tend to view each book club as an individual entity instead of a supplement to other book clubs, meaning that in my mind they should have a reasonable weekly workload that makes it engaging for its members to participate in conversation and anticipate each week. The book club in my mind should make it challenging enough to not bore its participants in the process, and should be enough as the sole weekly assignment you have, if you so wish. Now of course, people are completely free to take up other clubs if they still have the energy for more. But in my mind, I see the clubs as individual priorities that should adapt its contents to the level of its participants, regardless of those participants taking part in other clubs, meaning that participants should under normal circumstances adapt to the club and not the other way.
In terms of difficulty, what I just mentioned is easy to achieve with the other book clubs, because you can simply pick the one you find is challenging enough to keep you active for a week. If the easy one is too easy, you jump to the intermediate. If the intermediate one is too easy, you jump to the advanced one. But in terms of VNs, with the participation as low as it is, we can’t do that because we would have empty clubs. Balancing everything to make it engaging enough so as to keep everyone happy and keep them from dropping out becomes really, really challenging, especially if everyone shares different conceptions of the book clubs. So relying on different tools like occasional polls on pace, difficulty and the like might even be essential.
It’s also a highly subjective thing, sharing one club for any potential difficulty, what is hard for me is easy for another person, and their comfortable workload is going to look a lot different than mine. I think it’s fair to assume, based on the regulars of this club, that the reading we aim for falls somewhere around the intermediate or the advance book clubs in comparison. I don’t know, it’s just a guess. The reading quantity we aim for is probably going to be already high. One good thing about VNs is that there’s a lot of repetitive language, and the voice acting certainly helps a lot. Personally I don’t feel them as hard as a pure novel, so far with the ones I’ve played or that have been nominated.
I’ve mentioned before some other time that this is the only club I participate in, and the same is true for a couple others if I’m not mistaken. That’s a personal choice of course and everyone can take up as many clubs as they feel prepared for. However, personally I feel for me the pace we had with Loopers is already outdated, and prefer to have a higher workload to keep me engaged.
None of these opinions will influence any of the choices I get to decide for the club, as I mentioned initially these are just my very own personal preferences as a reader, so don’t worry about me trying to push the club that way because none of that will happen, I always consult with the rest. Would I love to have permanent 12,5k weeks? Oh for sure I would, but the club has to cater for the necessities of its participants, which is currently 10k to 12.5k characters each week as we have voted. And while this is true, it also needs to make sure that it moves forward relentlessly under normal circumstances, meaning that, as much as I would love for everyone to never fall back or drop out, it’s probably not a good idea to keep it from moving forward with its usual pace. I see it as a double commitment: the club should work for its participants, giving breaks when people need and making it easier for everyone to manage their own private lives, and the participants should also work for the club, committing to a weekly pace they’re comfortable with to keep everything moving forward.
Why am I writing all of this, you may ask. To be fair I kinda lost track of what I was thinking initially because it’s been too long lmao forgive me. I guess it was a long cry expressing that managing things to keep the ones that are caught up engaged while making it easy for the ones catching up is a much harder thing than it looks, perhaps. Not that it’s currently the case particularly, it’s no issue that we suddenly have an 8k character week, it’s fine. The 14.5k week wasn’t met with much resistance, either. I guess what I’d love to do is stop the club for three whole weeks and have everyone catch up fully and then come back to a super active thread with a lot of people reading again, but I know it’s not realistic because people have their lives, and it’s also not fair for the other part because it would kill the club. I’m also not dissatisfied with the current participation, I mean it’s just a few of us but I’m happy nonetheless to read this with other people, especially knowing each other for a bit already. I mean I guess I expected more participation in this one as per the polls, everyone did. It’s also unfortunate that you or Daisoujou are unable to participate right now, which makes me a very tiny bit guilty for continuing with the normal pace or increasing it like last week, because while the rest of us are happy to read as much as we’re reading, it’s also the same amount that is added to your catch-up pile, potentially reaching a point of no return and inconveniencing everyone in the process. Nobody’s fault, but still feels a bit sour. That is probably the major challenge, to keep moving forward regardless with as much participation as we can, otherwise there’s no club.
How is Bustafellows faring in terms of participation and drop out rates?