My Novel is Not Chick Lit…I Don’t Think

I’m struggling with the genre of my novel. A lot of people think it’s chick lit. First, I thought it could be, but when I say that to other writers I get eye rolls. To illustrate, during my critique in my novel class people said things like “oh, I didn’t realize your characters were going to have substance because you said something about it being chick lit” and “oh, I didn’t think I was going to like your piece because I hate chick lit,” etc. From the very beginning, I knew that the phrase had a negative connotation, which is why I tried to call it Lady Lit. People– I wasn’t just renaming chick lit, I was actually trying to describe a different type of book!  I was basically trying to say I’m writing a book about a girl dating and figuring out life but with substance.  Apparently I didn’t do a good job explaining that.

The other day I actually looked up the definition of chick lit.   I came across a blog that posted about it. I thought it did a good job explaining both the genre and the debate surrounding it. To make things more confusing, it made me think that maybe my novel could be chick lit?! (Only if this blogger is right about the def.)

This is what the ChickLitBooks blog has to say about it:

On the general definition:

Chick lit is a genre comprised of books that are mainly written by women for women. There is usually a personal, light, and humorous tone to the books. Sometimes they are written in first-person narrative; other time they are written from multiple viewpoints. The plots usually consist of women experiencing usual life issues, such as love, marriage, dating, relationships, friendships, roommates, corporate environments, weight issues, addiction, and much more.

On chick lit v. women’s fiction:

It’s all in the tone. Chick lit is told in a more confiding, personal tone. It’s like having a best friend tell you about her life. Or watching various characters go through things that you have gone through yourself, or witnessed others going through. Humor is a strong point in chick lit, too.

On it’s reputation for being “trash” or “vapid”:

Just like in any genre, you have your good, your so-so, and your bad. However, it’s mostly the earlier novels that are excessively light, airy and frilly. As chick lit has evolved, the standard has gone up. Now you can find chick lit that is anywhere from light, frilly and glamorous to deep and meaningful.

On marketing:

Marketing departments at chick lit publishing companies often package chick lit as a lot lighter and more daring than it really is. Don’t be fooled. Some of the covers with embarrassing titles and pictures of legs or shoes or shopping bags are truly masking meaningful, touching, hilarious at times and wonderful chick lit stories.

If this blogger is right, then my novel MIGHT be chick lit. I think my original intention was, indeed, to write a book for women. But I literally spend 50% of the novel in the male point of view and while his relationship is important, that’s not the biggest thing he’s dealing with. For that reason, I don’t even know if I can call it 100% Lady Lit either. My novel teacher says to just write the book and figure out the genre later. I have a feeling that’s easier said than done!!

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3 thoughts on “My Novel is Not Chick Lit…I Don’t Think

  1. I was also referring to the book I’m writing as ‘Chick Lit’ until I was told at a conference I attended that books like mine are now referred to as ‘Women’s commercial fiction. That term seems much more general.

    • It’s really confusing! I don’t mind people calling it chick lit unless it’s going to make the world think my story is something it’s not. Shrug. I’ll figure it out.

  2. Pingback: Someone Read My Novel And She Said… | illegalwriting

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