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Friday, September 29, 2006


Is Chick Lit Over?

Will-Write-for-Shoes-coverIt’s a rumor which I hear and read from time to time—that Chick Lit is waning and on the way out. I have no idea where this particular trend is heading but one thing is certain—we can be uncertain. To look for an answer and insight, I’m going to turn again to Will Write For Shoes by Cathy Yardley (since she writes these types of books). Her book is fun to read and loaded with good insight and information. I loved her chapter on outlining and the subhead, “Cathy’s Insane Guide to Outlining.” Just the title gives you a hint at her unconventional (yet working for her) methods.

Toward the end of Yardley’s book, she has a chapter called “Questions I’m Asked All The Time.” Here’s one of those questions: “I read that the chick lit trend is over. Should I even bother writing one?”

I loved Yardley’s answer:

“People who say that the Chick Lit trend is over don’t understand what the genre really is. Chick Lit is a different way of viewing women. (Forgive me while I pull out a soapbox here.) Back in the day, women’s fiction was populated with either glitzy super-bitches a la Dynasty or ideal martyrs dealing with hardship after heartbreak, a la Danielle Steel novels. With Chick Lit, you saw women who were still dealing with hardship, but they weren’t “perfect” about it. They broke down, they cursed, they drank, they hung out with their friends and commiserated. And then they picked up the pieces and —with some hard work, humor, and an unsinkable attitude—they wound up on top.”

“And a lot of readers picked up these books and thought: these women are a lot like me. And consequently read a lot more of them.”

“Chick Lit is a recognition of today’s woman. You see a reflection of the changing roles of women in culture. The issues that Chick Lit addresses are relevant to any woman in today’s society: the fact that the age that most people get married is going up; the fact that women are in upwardly mobile careers and are buying their own houses; the fact that gender roles are changing; and the fact that women still want to get married and have kids, and face their own challenges around that. In addition, Chick Lit often reflects a change in societal structure. Today, most women’s “families” are built around a knot of friends, while their blood families are the source of both love and great tension (elements also covered in Chick Lit novels).”

“I can’t say if “Chick Lit” will continue as a marketing moniker. But relevant women’s stories are always going to thrive, no matter what genre name they’re sold under. Why?”

“Because women read.”

As I’ve written a number of times in these entries, good storytelling will continue and the issues underneath the storytelling in Chick Lit will continue—no matter what it is called in the days ahead. Your challenge is to write relevant and moving stories—and do everything in your power on the journey to learn this skill then practice it daily.

4 Comment:

At 10:58 AM, Blogger CHickey Left a note...

I can't imagine this genre leaving to go anywhere. I believe it's here to stay.

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Richard Mabry Left a note...

I remain hopeful that someday, somehow there will be an audience for "guy lit."

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger Gina Holmes Left a note...

Ray Blackston did well with "lad lit". I loved his Flabbergasted books.

This is encouraging, Terry. What I keep hearing is that chick-lit is branching off like with Camy Tang's soon to be released Asian chick lit.

Appreciate the insights.

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger Dorothy Left a note...

Personally, I love chick lit. I've written a hen lit, which is an off-branch of chick lit, and I don't see the genre going away, but authors are getting skiddish about using the terms when trying to acquire a contract. It doesn't matter either way with me, but I did call my hen lit a women's fiction the other day. I felt like a traitor, lol.

 

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