Monday, September 11, 2006

After reading a fellow blogger's post on the Chick-Lit argument now circulating in the writing world, I feel compelled to post my thoughts on the matter.

Chick-Lit was, for those of you living under a rock the last 5-6 years, the newest trend in romance novels, and probably (though I don't work in publishing so I don't have any figures) the biggest shot in the arm that the romance publishing industry has had to date. The books are usually about a young woman in her 20's who has a career and a swinging single life but for whatever reason she's not satisfied. A lot of times there is attention paid to her shopping/clubbing/dining habits during the course of the story. It is generally believed that Chick-Lit was inspired by work such as Sex and the City, Bridget Jones, etc... The success of these kinds of shows/movies bled into the publishing world and Chick-Lit was born.

Just like any other color of romance, Chick-Lit has some terrific authors and stories, and some not-so-terrific authors and stories. Some stories are sexy, some suspenseful, some are very, very funny. Some outright suck. But regardless, the genre was extremely popular for a while.

But lately, there has been a lot of debate over Chick-Lit, and some name calling besides. It seems that the moniker "Chick-Lit" has fallen into disfavor and many authors are struggling to keep that particular kiss of death away from their work. "It's not Chick-Lit, it's romantic comedy or romantic suspense, or (my personal eye-rolling favorite) it's Women's Fiction." They don't want their precious babies to be associated with that non-serious fluff writing--once the darling of Madison Avenue, now lurking in Literary Alley behind the trash cans.

On one hand I can kind of see their point. Chick-Lit was a great buzz word, and probably got whoever thought it up a nice bonus check. But it got old fast. And by its own design it has a negative connotation--I'm fast, flip and forgettable.

On the other hand, who really gives a f*** ? I mean, personally speaking, if anything of mine ever got published, I think the thrill of being 'out there' for everyone to see would have me bugling my accomplishment from every street corner. Who cares if it's Chick Lit or Women's Fiction?? It's ON THE SHELVES!!!

On that note, I'll step off my soap box. And get another cup of coffee.


spy scribbler said...

That's funny. I think the "women's lit" alias for chick lit is the weirdest one. Romantic comedy, okay, but "women's lit?" I see women's lit as a far cry from chick lit.

All this labelling is so strange. I can't figure out why Jennifer Crusie is not considered romance??? And chick lit at that, really ...

StarvingWriteNow said...

I'd consider Jennifer Cruisie to be romantic comedy. I suppose she would fall under that general "women's fiction" category if she's not a romance author. But doesn't she do a lot of RWA stuff? I know that doesn't make her a romance author automatically, but she does seem to favor RWA...?