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In this brief definition of the Women’s Fiction Genre, the first thing that is apparent is the common knowledge within the publishing industry that women constitute the biggest book-buying segment. Good women's commercial fiction usually touches the reader in ways other fiction cannot.
Relationship stories, generational sagas, love stories and women's commercial fiction must touch on subjects women can relate to in their real lives. Put another way: Women's fiction taps into the hopes, fears, dreams and even secret fantasies of women today.
Women's fiction is a wide-ranging literary genre that includes various types of novels that generally appeal more to women than men. They are usually written by women, are addressed to women, and tell one particular story about women. The genre description is an umbrella term that covers mainstream novels, romantic fiction, Chick lit and other sub-genres.
While the subject of Romantic Fiction genre has been discussed on the romantic fiction section of this site, it is also important to realise that it is clear the romance genre is a staple of women's fiction. The romance market is serious business, producing serious revenues, by serious women.
There are similarities between women's fiction and romance, but also distinct differences. While many of the publishers may be the same for both genres, editors are looking for the key elements that make for compelling women's fiction. The romantic novel is sometimes known as " women's fiction ". A light hearted or acerbic version with a heroine in her twenties or early thirties is sometimes called "chick lit".
Chick Literature, called “Chick Lit” is a genre description disliked by some people. However one thing is for certain: love or hate the term, chick lit continues to find an audience and is growing at an incredible rate. These novels written by women, for women may be dismissed as frivolous, but their immense popularity proves that they have tapped into a cultural tension.
Within the framework of Chick-lit, the sub-genre which has proved most successful is the column-turned-novel. The two best known in the sub-genre (or super-genre) are Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) and Sex and the City (1997).
It was Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, published in the UK in 1996 that marked the arrival of 'chick lit'. It was only 271 pages long but unleashed a battalion of Bridget’s, launching one of the biggest tidal waves in publishing history and launched a flurry of manuscripts that could bury a small nation in typescript. The phrase now appears in the Oxford Dictionary.
Whether the covers are pink or black, have pastel-coloured dust jackets bearing whimsically retro images of cocktail glasses, trendy purses, and spiky heels, authors believe the genre has a viable future because story lines and characters mirror society. The books are fun. They are realistic. The characters are recognizable, often featuring a contemporary heroine that women of today can relate to. Often the protagonists are addressing an issue of today or even ‘the modern female experience’, whether that is single life, married life, office politics, playground politics or all of the above. The term 'romantic comedy' or 'wit lit,' might even be used?
The genre has captured the spirit of the times among young women and its popularity reaches a wide audience. In the future, chick lit could serve as a genre that discusses women's issues, prompting its readers to question gender roles, consumerism, and the global status of women.
A lot of people are still worried about the influence of the popular genre of fiction known as 'chick lit.' This combination of humour, great characters (both main and secondary), fun plot, and an instant association with the main character are a proven hit formula. Chick lit, for better or worse, is here to stay. Some of the books are indelibly etched into popular culture and the genre will continue to evolve and change as both the writers and readers grow.