Women’s Fiction versus Chick Lit.

                                                   Photo : Love from Aunt Owwee

Call me naive, call me an idiot, but I had to check the definition of Women’s Fiction and Chick Lit, as in my mind they were two different styles. I believed that Chick Lit featured a protagonist who was in her 20’s to 30’s, and was a career-driven woman who was obsessed with her appearance and shopping. It had a contemporary setting, and was often light-hearted and humorous.

My view on Women’s Fiction is that the protagonist is an older woman, from her forties onwards, who doesn’t have the perfect physique or life. She may have battle scars from a divorce or the death of a loved one; she may have a dysfunctional family, money worries or psychological difficulties. Humour still has a role to play too, and sometimes difficult subjects can be raised in a gentle way – such as the author Marion Keyes, who deals with issues such as domestic violence and addictions.

I was surprised to see the author, @KatieFforde in the Chick Lit section in Waterstones, as, her protagonists are not trendy young women a la Sex In The City genre. I love reading her novels as I can identify with her protagonists in many ways – and she makes me laugh at times.

Perhaps it is my prejudice that makes me believe that Chick Lit will have little substance to entice me as a reader, and perhaps I am mistaken and should re-evaluate my thoughts. I write about women who have dysfunctional lives and are in their forties, but I can’t somehow find a way to say that I write Chick Lit. I find the label worrying as my novels may be dismissed as ‘not proper literature’ – but should I care?

Chick Lit may have been an important genre trend in publishing when Helen Fielding’s novel Bridget Jones’s Diary was released, but I wonder if the term is too flippant for today’s society, as it can perhaps also mean  light and fluffy, not worthy of reading.

Women’s Fiction is an umbrella term for books that are marketed to female readers, according to Wikipedia, and includes many mainstream novels, romantic fiction and Chick Lit. Maybe the title of the genre is not vitally important, as I noted that on the back cover of Katie Fforde’s novels, the genre is simply marked as ‘fiction’.

I love writing in this genre, and i have tried others such as crime and thriller, which although i enjoyed at the time, I’m having more fun – not all the time mind you – writing in this genre. So I write Women’s Fiction and if an agent chooses to call it Chick Lit – I’ll go with the flow.

Happy Word Flow One & All.

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