Monday, March 28, 2011

Question from a writer - Women's Fiction

I have gone through your interviews and site. You define women's fiction as something which should depict a female journey and remain focused on a single issue. But how can one describe a river without mentioning the gorge, the valley or the boulders it passes across... or the clouds and the streams which feed it... on its journey to the ocean..

First of all, I have to say you have some great imagery here.
Now as to the single issue question. What I am stressing here is to have a focus in the story. I say this same idea when it comes to many of the other genres out there. Pick one battle and focus on that.

Too often, I see writers that want to pile on the drama in their stories. They might want to simply have their character have to figure out how to deal with say the death of a husband. The loneliness in the house, and so forth. That's fine. But then piling on getting fired from a job, drug abuse of a sibling, finding out she is sick, dating and then getting abused.... you get the idea.

Having a single issue will allow the reader to connect in with the character. Adding all of the other elements makes it too easy to separate ourself from the character - Now this person isn't like them at all.

Tell a great story but focus, focus, focus. Add that depth to enrich the story, but remember, depth is not simply adding more plot lines.



  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My main frustration with some recent Women's Fiction has been the authors' need to include all the current hot topics. I mean, really. How many families deal with adultery/pedophilia/cyberbullying/drug abuse/murder/sickness all in one week? Thanks, Scott for affirming what I've been thinking.

  2. After your workshop for our Rose City chapter and then reading Larry Brooks new Story Engineering book, I'm getting more focused on my theme of my WIP. There's a lot of adventures and events that intertwine with the main and subplots but it all comes down to one theme: they'd all rather have a home of their own than put their heart on the line for love.

    Yeah, not a newsworthy trauma but a subtle reality in view of the foreclosure disaster. :)

  3. Thanks Scott! You have cleared my confusion. My efforts are focused on a single issue but I needed to build the other characters as also the cultural perspective with an objective to help people understand the issue properly. Best!

  4. Great post and answer to the question raised. So pleased to have found your blog - I will pitch my tent here when I have the time and read some more before submitting my 90k word, Women's Fiction novel 'Dreams of Yasmeen' for your perusal. It deals with the single issue of the desire for motherhood and a sample is posted on my blog. I'd be honoured if you can find the time to take a look.