This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
What is Chick Lit?
Officially – Chick Lit is a sub genre of women’s’ fiction perceived to appeal to, or be marketed at, young women, typically concerning romantic dilemmas.
Now tell me what it really is…
Okay, well… I once read an article by chick lit author, Jenny Colgan who, in making a comparison between literary fiction and Chick Lit said…
“Young women aren’t stupid. We do actually know the difference between literature and popular fiction. We know the difference between Foie gras and Hula Hoops, but, you know, sometimes we just want Hula Hoops.”
Now it’s a great article, but as much as I love Jenny Colgan, I have to disagree. Chick Lit is not Hula Hoops. Chick Lit is drinking a fat coke when you have a hangover, it’s getting into a massive bubbly bath after a day at work, it’s meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen in ages and falling into a comfortable and entertaining conversation. If it were food it wouldn’t even be crisps. It would be chocolate. Probably champagne truffles by Godiva.
Chick lit is intelligent, funny, emotionally truthful, hearty, romantic fiction that accurately reflects the lives of women today.
I once read a chick lit book and it was fluffy and rubbish and that kind of put me off.
In EVERY genre, even in *gasp* literary fiction there are badly written books. When chick lit first became popular there was a barrage of bandwagon releases that pulled the genre down. Just look at the amount of rubbishy vampire books that have been released following the success of twilight and you’ll see what I mean.
If you email me, I shall tell you which chick lit books are rubbish so that you can avoid them. But swearing off chick lit because of one bad book is akin to never listening to music again because you once heard a Celine Dion song; it’s silly and you’ll end up missing out.
Isn’t chick lit just about shoes, shopping and fashion?
No! I’ve never really gotten this myth. Many of the chick lit heroines I’ve come across are a bit skint and wouldn’t know a Jimmy Choo if it was flung at their head. Shoes, shopping and fashion do appear more heavily in bonkbuster books, but within the chick lit genre it is definitely a minority theme.
I’ve heard that some authors get offended by the term chick lit – why is that?
Well, I’m not an author so I can’t speak for them, but I guess that it’s because the word ‘chick’ is flippant, possibly sexist, and doesn’t really convey what the genre is all about.
But the term has stuck and will continue to stick, no matter how many people whinge about it. Authors shouldn’t be offended about being part of a genre that outsells any other, should be proud that their fans are intelligent, funny, discerning women who know the difference between good and bad writing, and feel blessed that their writing is adorned with the prettiest covers in the business.
So what makes you so qualified to talk about chick lit, no less run a website about it?
In between swooning over Jared Leto in ‘My So Called Life’ and wondering whether I would ever win ‘best hair’ at the Smash Hits awards, I spent my gawky teenage years reading Sweet Valley High, Judy Blume, and all of those books about girls going to boarding school and having midnight feasts. I loved reading about the lives of girls my age. A couple of years later when Lacrosse and tinned sardines no longer cut it, I bought ‘Lets Meet on Platform Eight’ by Carole Matthews and became hooked on the genre. I started to read every chick lit I could get my hands on – from Chris Manby, Anna Maxted and Victoria Routledge to Jill Mansell, Lisa Jewell and Marian Keyes –I read them all and now, eleven years later, I’m still reading them all.
I have over 1000 chick lit books and the collection is still growing. If you would like any recommendations feel free to email me. I know my stuff!