Tag Archives: Women’s Fiction

Yes, I love Women’s Fiction, and here’s why…

I’ve become a glutton for Women’s Fiction, or, in other words, the new PC term for the once aptly named “Chick Lit.” It makes sense, as a kid I spent hours watching Lifetime movies. I’d revel in the scandal of it all—psychotic backstabbing, sultry betrayal, and opportunistic behavior. Sunday afternoons were the best, I’d tune in for the 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm showings of the latest (and greatest) segments of MILFs in distress, power charged (female) attorneys intertwined in violent scandal, and of course, the smooth talking,  muscular, glistening-with-sweat (or tanning oil) male counterparts who treated them—proverbially of course—like s**t.

Thankfully, my ‘girly-girl’ literary choices go beyond Susan Lucci on the page. I don’t read Danielle Steel—whose novels turn to Lifetime flicks as ice turns to water—nor do I delve in genre romance novels, though I have read one or two and haven’t hated them, but found the standard formulas to be as fixed as a magician’s hat trick. On the contrary, the great works of Emily Giffin, Sarah Pekkanen, and Kristin Hannah go a tad beyond the made-for-television-movie level.

In truth, the three new (I say ‘new’ as in new to my personal reading experience) authors of the Women’s Fiction genre I’ve been in short, not reading, but devouring lately have got me ‘hating the haters’ so to speak, those of you who claim these literally denizens are, and I’ll paraphrase, “shallow,” “petty,” “frivolous,” and “small-minded.” In fact, and I assert they are instead, “witty,” “relatable,” “entertaining,” and yes, “significant.”

These are characters that are living the ‘Cosmo Girl’ lifestyle many of us dreamed of growing up. What’s more, is that through these characters’ struggles with family, career, love, and weight gain, we get a clear picture of the way these coveted lifestyles sometimes turn out. Plus, in some ways didn’t Jane Austen do the same thing?

It’s not shallow, it’s our lives. It’s our experiences. It’s figuring out what it is we really want, and how to go about getting what we really need. It’s the constant juggling that is expected of women. It’s the people who screw us, and the people we screw. It’s like reading about you. And what’s even better? You get to experience it without the trite dialogue, the impeccable, yet unrealistic hair, make-up, body type, and clothing, and of course the commercial breaks. Lifetime gives you guilty pleasure; Women’s Fiction gives you conundrums, heartache, perseverance, and in the long run…real pleasure.

Check out these author websites if you aren’t familiar:

http://www.emilygiffin.com/

http://www.sarahpekkanen.com/

http://kristinhannah.com/

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Filed under Books and Literature, Inspiration

Sensory details

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.”
—Ray Bradbury

Bradbury’s right on with this one. We intrinsic writers need to tickle our senses. I’m learning that in order to grow and flourish as a writer, I need to surround myself with “things.” All things. At any given moment, I am reading a new book, listening to new songs, delving into a new magazine, cooking a new recipe…it’s imperative. Ideas, if we let them, run rampant in the sensory details.

It’s important to mix it up, too. If I read nothing but literary fiction (my personal taste) I will dry out. If I depend solely on FM radio to provide me with music, I’m frankly, screwed. That’s what itunes is for, that’s what Rolling Stone is for, that’s what Pandora is for. Even Sirius radio. See? Exploration. Different sources, different sounds. And while I’m a writer who reads lots of writing magazines, I’m not ashamed of my subscription to O (Oprah). Know why? Ideas are in there. Lots of them. Handfuls of fun and chunky ideas.

I’m currently reading a novel that would likely be dubbed as “Chick Lit.” Not my personal style, but I got to put Jane Eyre down once in a while. I’ll sneeze from all the dust. I’ve read trashy romances, rock ‘n roll biographies, astrology books out the wazoo, and atlases…yes, atlases. I love atlases. I had a child’s atlas as a kid. It’s the number one reason my geographical/cultural knowledge is broader than most. As for music, I’ve taken a liking to sixties soul. Sam and Dave, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Coasters, Three Dog Night (actually, they are mostly considered ‘rock’ but I feel there is some soul-influence in there). But again, I’m scouting.

I find reality television empty and unbearable, but some new TV dramas–Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter–are fabulous for stimulation. They’ve got all the right ingredients: complex characterization, crafted plot lines, superb dialogue, thematic undercurrents. I think television series are more closely related to the novel. TV shows expand and develop over time, they run deeper. Film are like short stories. Clean, one shot. Not as much time for evolution.

Ideas come from garnering information, as much as possible. But if you’re intrinsic, you know that already.

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Filed under Inspiration, Prompts & Writing Ideas, The Writing Life, Why We Write, Writer's Block, Writing Details, Writing Process, Writing Tips