It doesn't have to be this way. You can have women's fiction that is inspirational and is happy. No, I am not saying to go to the extreme end of "chick lit" level of humor, but you don't have to be so over the top depressing.
I do get that many authors, in my humble opinion, seem to believe that only romance ends with a happily ever after, and, if their story doesn't end that way, it must be women's fiction. Please, stomp this idea out of your head.
Let me remind you of something I have spoke of here on this blog time and time again:
- Romances have the central story arc focusing around the building of the relationship heading toward that happily ever after. This is a relationship and character driven story. This has nothing to do with the level of sensuality or even the focus of the protagonist, although, in the majority of the cases, in the mass market out there, the protagonist will be a woman.
- Women's fiction is a novel where there may or may not be a romance. The goal of the story is to see the world through the female lens. To understand how women see the world, deal with conflicts and react to things around them. In the case of women's fiction, these stories often deal with universal themes.
- The not quite romance or women's fiction stories are those where the author has tried to do several of the following:
- No happily ever after and depressing
- My protagonist is female
- The determination is based around how much sex they have
- It is set in a romantic setting.
- Women would read this