Thursday, August 8, 2019

Scott's Thoughts On Women's Fiction

Women's fiction is a tough genre to write. This is one of those genres where it is either done right or it is done wrong. There is no middle ground. It is for this reason that I really struggle with finding really strong women's fiction.

Let's start first with knowing what this genre is really about. I do believe a lot of present day authors are getting this one wrong.

I am going back to some things I wrote about a while ago to define the concept. Women's fiction novels focus on seeing the world through, what I call, the female lens. This is not simply saying the protagonist of the story is a female, but it is how this characters tells the story to the reader. Women's fiction gives the reader an idea of how the female brain works and how the female examines every day issues all of the way through complex issues.

For many writers, they seem to think women's fiction are simply stories that do not have a sexual relationship as a plot element, or stories where there are no happily ever afters. This is far from the case. Other authors also seem to think women's fiction is about mature women and not simply cheesy romances. Again, this is not the definition.

Women's fiction stories create conversation moments for readers. This is often why we talk about women's fiction as "book club" style books. But here is the stand out difference. True women's fiction is a jumping off point for other conversations in the group. Instead of spending the time talking about a scene in the book or the things the characters say or do, the conversation focuses on the "take away" from the story. The book creates opportunities for readers to internalize the novel in their own lives.

Women's fiction novels are also emotional. No, this does not mean the stories are full of tearful moments, but stories that make us feel. Often you hear phrases such as "stories that make us laugh and cry." It is a bonding experience with these characters.

This is part of the reason this type of novel is tough to write. The stories have to be real, and no, I am not saying the stories are fictionalized biographies or memoirs. When I say the story is real, these need to be about characters that we can easily see or meet in our every day lives. This means that the issues the characters have to face or similar to ours.

Too often, writers create stories that are so complicated, or so over the top, that people simply cannot relate to the events. Divorce? OK. Divorce, with cheating, losing a job, kids committing suicide and other similar things happening in a single book - too much!

The key here is making a story a REAL representation and a REAL view of the world from a female view.

I think I have a fairly good definition of women’s fiction. These are not simply stories with female characters but stories that tell us the female journey. Women’s fiction is a way for women to learn and grow and to relate to others what it is to be a woman. When I think of literary fiction, the emphasis is placed more on the telling of a good story instead of making the female journey the centerpiece.

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