Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Webster's Evil Twin

Despite the fact I'm sitting at the computer when I'd rather still be in bed. Despite the fact I have a headache. Despite the fact yesterday was one crummy day at work. --- I'm in a good mood.


Because my current WIP is suddenly flowing well. I just finished chapter four and for the first time in several weeks I can feel that surge of energy I only get when my writing is going well.

My friend Alex Keto has asked me to define Women's Fiction. Check out his blog and be sure to follow his link for the modern day motivational poster. It is hilarious. I'll probably screw this up and I fully expect somebody out there to disagree but I'm feeling froggy this morning so I thought I'd jump.

Fiction about women, for women, and USUALLY written by women. I'm guessing that most people would use something like this to describe women's fiction.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree but I think it is much more and still think the term is a bit misleading, at least in my instance since I read a lot of novels that fit this category.

A story dealing with real world people and true-to-life complications where the emotional journey of the character, is as important as any other plot point. Maybe there is a romance, maybe not, but either way the protagonist, male as well as female grow in some way. And even if there is a romance and the two characters end up together I think it is important that neither becomes dependant on the other. Women's fiction is not damsel in distress and man rides to her rescue. She must find a way at least mostly on her own.

I say that but at he same time I think women's fiction can have a male as the main character so long as the man appeals to women readers and does some other than trying to bed hot women.

I know there are quite a few women's fiction authors who read this blog and more than a few who are published. Help me and Alex out by explain why I'm wrong.


Dawn said...

I certainly hope someone does print your words, Travis, because I find this an interesting concept, and would like to see how you handle it.

Yeah - I would have gone with that "about women, for women, by women" description, but it's an appealing idea to think of a man writing woman's fiction. A man would almost automatically, I think, bring an extra dimension to it.

Be interested to see what some of your female romance writers think of this one.

Jenster said...

Good for you and your writing energy!!

I think the term "women's fiction" is very limiting and a bit misleading. Does Nicholas Sparks write "women's fiction"? Because his books appeal to men as well.

And as I read your description, which I agree with, I could think of other books that are NOT considered women's fiction but that fit that mold. Dean Koontz has a couple that come to mind.

My husband reads Nora Roberts and while that is women's fiction, it appeals to him because he likes the stories she tells.

Bluefingers said...

Case in point, to second Jenster, my husband enjoy's Jennifer Weiner just as much as he enjoys King, but then again he loved Irving's Cider House Rules. Women's Fiction is a misnomer and I think you and Alex have a point. I propose a different term. Grocery Store Fiction. I think there is a wide range of grocery Store fiction that appeals to the masses. In the grocery store you can find something for everyone. So be it, I think most womens fiction is more or less something that appeals to everyone for what ever reason.

Is that clear as mud?

Womens fiction, as I found out when I met you, doesn't have to be written by a woman, but there sure is a lot of prejudice against a 6'whatever tall man who loves meat more than any other food group and writes a tale about women in despair. But, as I have said before, you write one hell of a tale.



alex keto said...

"About women, for women, by women"

Hmmmm. The last in that list seems awfully constraining and seems to be part of the "only write about what you personally know" theory in general. Which is fine as far as it goes.

Of course, under this theory, science fiction can't exist because no one has been there. Historical fiction is out on the same grounds the time machine is on the blink yet again.

And so forth

I would go with a boiled down version of Travis's later point.

Women's fiction is a story in which the emotional transformation of the characters is at least as important as the plot?

Don't know, anyone want to kick those tires for a bit.

Holly Kennedy said...

One has to remember when discussing women's fiction and romance novels how successful Mr. Nicholas Sparks has become (not to mention RICH) writing stories that are read mostly by woman.

Good for you, Travis! Push on and you will be published with flair soon, I've no doubt.

P.S. I finally updated my blog roll and added yours to the list. :)

Tena said...

Alex Kato asks:
"Women's fiction is a story in which the emotional transformation of the characters is at least as important as the plot?"

Yes. As a woman, character transformation is primarily why I read. That, and for voice.

Merry Jelinek said...

This is an interesting discussion... I ran across, Nikki Leigh's explanation of women's fiction, hers compares women's fiction and romance and is an interesting take.

I tend to the think the classifications, women's fiction, chick lit, urban romance... those are more marketing tools than anything else. Much of what they deem women's fiction can logically fall into literary fiction. Women can certainly enjoy a great many books that are not considered women's fiction, and what, then, is men's fiction? War books? Westerns? hmmm... You have to label it to pick out your core readership, and I think traditionally women's fiction has a female protagonist.