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Entries in chick lit (2)

Monday
Oct242011

Is It Chick Lit or Women's Fiction? An Agent Answers by Sierra Godfrey


Welcome to genre Monday! Ever wonder what kind of books fall under women's fiction? Have questions about chick lit? Today guest contributor, Sierra Godfrey, interviews my lovely agent Sara Megibow and gets us some answers.

Chick Lit vs. Women’sFiction
by Sierra Godfrey

I write women’s fiction—or what I think of aswomen’s fiction—even though most people, including my husband, think of it aschick lit. Many women’s fiction writers are particular about what people calltheir genre, because it matters to the publishing industry. We have heard chicklist no longer sells. We’ve heard editors are looking for upmarket women’sfiction. We think what you call it in a query matters. Or does it?

In my RWAWomen’s Fiction special interest chapter, one of our members definedwomen’s fiction as the story of a woman on a journey. But if my protagonist isa 22 year old woman who is searching for her sense of self, would it beclassified as chick lit? What if upped her age to 36? What if the storyfeatures none of the stereotypical elements of chick lit like martinis, a city,and shoes? Similarly, if I write a story about a 32 year old woman on a journeythat leads her to save herself, that might be women's fiction--but is it stillwomen’s fic if I nudge her age to 21? How much does age have to do with genre?

I asked Roni’s agent, Sara Megibow at Nelson Lit, whorepresents women’s fiction. She had some great—and surprising answers.

Chicklit is selling Sara says not only is chick list selling, but thatshe would never discount a submission based on concept. Sara’s method involvesreading and evaluating submissions based on quality of writing—and looking atthe elements of a book and choose editors whose imprints are producing similarkinds of works. She said, “To that end, Ballantine Bantam Dell produces booksby Sarah Addison Allen, which I would consider solidly women's fiction.Meanwhile, Broadway - another imprint of Random House -produces THE DEVIL WEARSPRADA which I would consider chick lit.”

Knowwhere your book rests The job of the author, Sara said, is towrite the best book possible.
But you should have a general understanding of where theirbook would rest on the bookshelf in a store. But that’s it. The agent is theone who should really be familiar with the different editors, imprints, andhouses.

There isan age-range, but… Sara clarified something I saw her say in asummer issue of my RWA women’s fic chapter newsletter (RWA is a fantasticresource!). Ages do influence genre, but story elements matter. Sara said thata submission about a woman who is learning about life after college, whose daysare filled with the first job, dating, money, apartments, martinis, clothes andboys is a chick lit story. “These submissions are almost entirely ones in whichthe heroine is 22-35ish and she has the only POV (or maybe an alternating POVwith the hero). There can be a happy ending, although there doesn't have tobe.”

Meanwhile, for Sara a submission about a woman who is 35to 55ish is women's fiction. “These stories are about family, marriage, midlife crises, divorce, health and health problems (life REAL LIFE AND LIARS byKristina Riggle). Similarly, the story is in the heroine's POV or maybealternating POVs and the ending can be happy but doesn't have to be.”

But, Sara, said, “If the book is about a mature womandealing with life issues - marriage, health, career, family, children, but thatwoman is,
24 years old, I would still shop it as women's fiction.Then, I would troll through my database and choose editors looking forcommercial women's fiction. If, however, that 24 year old woman is spendingmost of the narrative talking martinis and dating, I would choose chick liteditors.”

Justwrite the book of your heart As Sara pointed out, trying to writeto genre is tough. I certainly have discovered this with a story about a 32year old woman who is learning about life – a late bloomer. I struggled a longtime with whether it would be chick lit or women’s fiction and finally decidedit fell more on the women’s fiction side. I questioned whether I should bewriting it at all. In the end, I came to the conclusion that echoes what Sarasays:
“Honestly, the only thing for a writer to do is write thebook of their heart….If the book is about a mature 24 year old and it's women'sfiction, then it's women's fiction regardless of age. Likewise I could see a 40year old woman partying, dating and etc and sell it as chick lit. A savvyauthor will look at titles on the shelves and see where their book might fit.If that author imagines a pretty pink cover with cutesy pictures on the front,then it's chick lit. If the author imagines a more complex, deeper cover indarker tones and maybe even in trade paperback or hard cover it's likelywomen's fiction.”

Thanks so much to Sara Megibow for taking the time toanswer my questions.

So what would YOU classify as chick lit and women'sfiction? If you write either, how do you feel about the the aboveclassifications? Does genre matter to you?

My recommended read for this month is Samuel Park’s" This Burns My Heart, which is probably commercial fiction, but easilywomen’s fiction. It deals with a protagonist who starts young and grows throughlife into her 30s and 40s. It deals with marriage, love, duty, and sacrifice.It’s a gorgeous story with a wonderful female protagonist who will stay with mefor a long time.

Sierra Godfrey writes stories about women who grow fromthe choices they face—and get the guy at the end. She's amember of RWA and RWA-WF, the women's fiction special interest chapter andworks as a freelance writer and designer. Visit Sierra at her blogor on Twitter.







“...a sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more!" –Jo Davis, author of I SPY A DARK OBSESSION

CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!
Read an excerpt here.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|

Thursday
Mar252010

The Beta Club: Karma Kameleon (Chick Lit/Romance) - Come Critique!

 


Today on the Beta Club, we have our first sequel!  Stephanie's first book will be available soon from Lyrical Press.  To find out more info about her and her debut book, go visit her at The Writer's Cocoon.   Now, on to the critique...




For newbies:  If you haven't been here on beta club day yet, don't be afraid to jump in with your comments.  All feedback is welcome as long as it's constructive.  And if anyone has an itch to be critiqued, the rules for submitting to the Beta Club are under the "Free Critiques" heading at the top of the page.

 

Alright, please read through the author's excerpt, then provide your feedback in the comments.  My detailed critique is below.

 
Author: Stephanie Haefner

Title: Karma Kameleon

Genre: Chick Lit/Contemporary Romance



Excerpt:

 


“Rich, I’m pregnant.”


The last time I said those exact
words to him, it led to our breakup and my entrance to a dark and dreary pit of
misery. This time his reaction was much different. Instead of the dumbfounded
confused look he wore last time, a huge grin formed and he kissed me and
laughed and told me how happy he was and how much he loved me.


“This is perfect,” he said as we
lay on our bed. He combed his hand through my hair and found his way to the
edge of my tee shirt, his shirt that I wore as a night gown. He lifted it up
and rubbed his hand across my stomach, then leaned down and kissed it. “Only
one thing would make it better.”


“Yeah? What’s that?”


“You saying ‘yes’. Marry me, Lexi!”


My heart leapt into my throat and I
felt the fluttering in my stomach. I stared at Rich, his adoring eyes staring
back at me. Was this for real? I’d never been proposed to before.


“Really? Are you sure? You don’t
have to marry me just ‘cause you knocked me up!”


“You’re kinda ruining this moment,”
he said with a sly smile and reached into the nightstand drawer next to him. He
presented a black velvet box and popped it open. Inside sat a princess cut
diamond ring and not a small one either. “I’ve been trying to find the perfect
time to ask for weeks now.”


I immediately teared and felt
stupid for doubting his sincerity.


“Will you marry me?” Rich asked
again.


My body shook as I nodded my head.


“Is that a ‘yes’?”


“Yes!” I screamed and leapt onto
him, covering his face with kisses.


“Wait,” he managed between
smooches. “I want to make it official.”


“Didn’t we just do that?”


“Not yet.” Rich pulled away and
plucked the sparkly gem from its box. He slid it onto my left ring finger and I
did exactly what all newly engaged women do. I flexed my wrist and held my arm
straight, admiring my hand and its brilliant adornment.


“Do you like it?” he asked.


“I love it!” I exclaimed and truly
meant it. The square-shaped stone looked flawless, at least a karat, maybe
more. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect setting myself—simple and elegant
platinum, nothing fru-fru about it.


“I know it’s not as big as Abby’s.”


“Uh, there’s no need for it to be.
I’m sure your penis is way bigger than Daniel’s.”


“What?”


“Everybody knows that big fat
diamond rings are to make up for tiny di**s! Trust me—you have no need
what-so-ever to buy me a big diamond!”


I placed my lips back on his and my
hands found their way to his large hardness. Rich slipped his own hand under my
shirt in preparation of removing it from my body. We then heard a thud at the
door and then wailing. Rich and I looked at each other wondering what the heck
happened. I started to get out of bed and heard Marcus’s voice on the other
side of the door.


“Sorry guys. Preston
got away from me.”


“It’s okay. Bring him in!” I
yelled, still hearing my little man’s cries. Marcus pushed the door open slowly
and
Preston immediately smiled and reached his
arms out to me.


“He’s getting really fast,” Marcus
said. “I turned around to pick up some toys and he crawled off down the hallway.
I think he crashed head first into your door.”


“Poor baby!” I reached out and
Marcus put my baby in my arms, though I couldn’t really call him a baby
anymore. It had been almost eleven months since his birth and it seemed like he
grew an inch a day. You always hear people go on about how “fast time flies”
but you never realize how true it is until you have a child.


“Should we tell him?” Rich asked as
he gazed into
Preston’s eyes. I nodded.


“Guess what, my precious boy! Daddy
Rich is gonna make an honest woman of me! See!” I wiggled my fingers for him.
He pointed at the diamond and giggled. I knew he had no clue what it meant or
how huge it was, but I liked to pretend that he did and that he was happy about
it.






Below is my critique, click on FULL SCREEN, then once the document opens, RIGHT CLICK to zoom so you can see the comments.






Alright, so what do you think?  Are you hooked?  What did the author do well?  What things could be improved?  Thanks ahead of time for offering your feedback!




 


*Today's Theme Song (Author's Choice)**


"Manic Monday" - The Bangles


(player in sidebar--go ahead, take a listen)