Why I Write Contemporary Women’s Fiction
I think in some ways, the genre you write in chooses you. I always knew I would write a novel or two (or three, or four), but originally wanted to write mystery and suspense. I started a couple of stories, and jotted down the odd scene that popped into my head, but these stories never eventuated.
After a few years of a ‘too-busy-for-anything-else’ induced writing fast, I sat down to write again, and what came out was completely different.
Somehow, a character just took shape, and her dreams, fears, mishaps, and emotions poured out onto the page (this character was Miranda, one of the three main characters in my manuscript The Life Makeover Club).
So through her insistence, I brought her to life in a world of fiction; Contemporary Women’s Fiction. This genre explores the complexities of women’s lives, dealing with issues that contemporary women may be going through, or have been through. It is often humourous, but can also be deeply emotional. Relationships of various kinds are often central to the story. Some books deal with lighter issues, whereas others deal with more hard-hitting issues. Whatever the book is about, this genre is mostly written by women, for women (although there are some exceptions to this). Some have used the term chick lit, and although many are okay with this, it is starting to be used less and less. Dorothy Koomson has written a good article about chick lit and how it is changing, here.
I began reading more books in this genre, which fuelled my desire to write books that I would like to read myself. I also like to call them feel-good books. Although many may address difficult or painful issues, most have a happy ending of some kind, and leave you feeling positive. I want my readers to feel entertained and inspired.
Although I still love a good thriller, both in books and movies, when it comes to writing I’ve realised that I want to be immersed in something fun! I want to laugh with my characters, cry with my characters, and feel positive about the plot; that it will somehow connect with readers emotions and make them want to be part of the story. I’m also a big believer in the law of attraction; what you think about and focus on most you attract into your life, so I’d rather be focusing on writing an overall positive story than a murder or a crime story.
I like finding the humour in the everyday and the extraordinary in the ordinary, taking women’s lives and giving them a shove into new realms of possibility!
And that is why I write what I write, and read what I read. There are so many wonderful books in this genre out there, and many talented emerging authors, and I believe there is still room for more! Some books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed recently include 29 by Adena Halpern, Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor, What Kate Did Next by Lisa Heidke, Three’s A Crowd by Dianne Blacklock, Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, and many more!
What about you? Why do you write what you write?, or what do you like about contemporary women’s fiction books?, who are your favourite authors in this genre?
Posted on May 14, 2011, in General, Reviews, Writing and tagged books, genre, themes, women's fiction, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.
You are so right, Juliet! Characters and genre definitely choose you. I was really unsure as to where my manuscripts would find a home and I think you’ve just clarified it for me. Thanks!
The characters in my head tend to nag me to write their stories and won’t leave me alone until I do. This usually results in speed writing with really bad structure, poor spelling and awful grammar but once it’s down on paper (or in the modern world, on disk) they seem quite happy to leave the editing up to me 🙂
Thanks Juanita, I’m glad my post has given you some clarity! 🙂
Lovely post, Juliet and you’re right! Some writers know immediately where their ‘voice’ fits, but I think most of us grow into our genre.
And I think Contemporary Women’s Fiction is much more appropriate than chicklit – gives it more credit for tackling the issues in women’s lives!
Thanks for commenting Helene, and I agree about the genre name 😉
Great blog, Juliet. I love your quote: ‘I like finding the humour in the everyday and the extraordinary in the ordinary, taking women’s lives and giving them a shove into new realms of possibility!’
So do I! That’s why I write the characters I do – the women I write about aren’t necessarily going to end up living a fairy tale life but but by the end of the novels I write, they are generally moving forward in a positive direction!
Thanks Lisa. That’s exactly right, and I think women like reading about these sorts of characters because they can identify with them.
Oh, and I’m kinda impressed with my quote too! 😉
Great Blog, Juliet. It took me a while to find where I fit in the market, but once I discovered this I feel very much at home writing contemporary woment’s fiction, too.
Thanks Laura. That’s exactly how I feel – at home, when I write what I write. 🙂
Thank you Juliet for this post. I do believe that a genre chooses it’s writer. When I was a little girl I wrote poems and skits. Four years ago, writing, “Women’s Fiction,” found me. I’ve learned that I want to write for a mature audience, and that means writing from experience.
I really enjoyed this post. Thank you
Thanks Janiese, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! It’s great to put our life experience to good use 😉
Yay! I finally found my genre home 🙂 Thanks for bringing such clarity to something that has dogged me for a while. I simply didn’t see myself as a romance writer but knew there must be an audience who wanted a strong female lead who brought grace (sometimes!) and humour to the challenges facing her.
That’s great Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by. All the best with your writing! 🙂
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