Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Women’s fiction versus Chick Lit and Romance

When I tell people that my novel, “Speechless”,  falls within the genre  “Women’s fiction”, I’m often asked one of two questions:  “Is it a romance novel?” or  “Is it a Sex and the City kind of book?”

Women’s fiction, usually grouped with mainstream fiction in book stores, is neither. It is serious fiction written by women for women. It  can be commercial or literary and deals with the empowerment of women, the issues they face, the relationships that change them for better or worse. Think “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett or  “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana De Rosnay.

While Women’s Fiction often has elements of romance, the plot focuses on the female protagonist rather than the chemistry between lovers.  There is also deeper characterization, and more intricate sub-plotting than in a romance novel. The ending may not be happily-ever-after. And yes, the cover will not have Fabio holding a swooning  woman in his Photoshop enhanced arms.

Women’s Fiction is also different from the fun, frothy “Sex and the City kind of novel” known as Chick lit.  While both  genres are usually about women’s issues (relationships, motherhood, coming-of-age), Women’s fiction usually has a serious, strong plot requiring emotional investment from the reader, and so tends to be more memorable than Chick lit.

Lastly, the three  genres are  unique in terms of target audience. Though Women’s fiction, Romance and Chick lit are all read primarily by women, a woman who reads Romance is unlikely to read Women’s fiction or Chick lit and vice-versa.

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