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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What Does ChickLit Mean To You?


Adhering (somewhat loosely) to my Story Construction theme, I have a guest blog post for you all!

I thought that, having kicked off with a bit of readership/audience/critical reception consideration, it might be a good idea to delve into another area for a few posts - that of the PREMISE.

Crucial to any part of a story is the starting point, the idea. The identity of the actual product may not become clear to you for a while, or develop organically, or even evolve from the start to the end. You may find that the initial idea, which leant itself so well to one niche, has migrated subtely along the shelf and is now firmly wedged in another.

The issue of identity often overshadows the premise itself, and it's a sticking point that many writers get, well, stuck to. It's important to allow your story the freedom to discover its own identity, rather than attempting to impose one upon it like a strict parent with a rebellious child. Stay true to the premise, and allow your story to discover itself. It may well remain firmly in the bounds of a particular genre, as mine did, but if you're writing contemporary fiction minus the dragons and spellbinding drama, then you may find it more difficult to work out what your story is.

Here are some thoughts on the evolution of your precious plot bunny's identity from aspiring author Alexandra Rosa, whose book Emotionally Compromised is now featured on wattpad.

 

What Does ChickLit Mean To You?

By: Alexandra Rosa


     So, what is ChickLit?
    
 I had to ask myself this question one day when I stumbled upon the new funny genre-name, but I found my self intensely curious because I felt my writing was getting lost amongst the generalities of genre. Where do I belong? I kept thinking.

     It wasn’t long until I found my glorious definition:

     Spotlighting the plight of smart, strong female characters, ChickLit is a form of fiction that looks at the journey into womanhood and all the little hiccups that are faced along the way.
     Brilliant.
    
Reading that definition was a jubilant epiphany, seeing as I never knew it had existed until recently, and I didn’t know how to define my first finished writing endeavor, “Emotionally Compromised”. It wasn’t quite a romance, but it really wasn’t a crime thriller either.

     ChickLit could easily define my story, only because I had one goal in mind when writing it:

     I wanted a strong, kick-ass female character. Period.  (No transitioning hormonal female pun intended).

     While making it a point to read a lot of books last year, I realized I had pretty much only read Romance —this was an accident, but I found myself such a sucker for the genre. Who doesn’t love: girl-meets-boy, girl-falls-in-love with boy? *Fans-self* “Oh-Oh! ME!”

     BUT there was something frustrating about half of the books I read.

     Their leading lady was flimsy, and at the whim of her leading man. The build of her confidence would be slow, and overwhelmingly frustrating to me, and all I thought was:

     When does the girl get to take the wheel on this weird road of love?
    
Well, the truth of the matter is, men never let woman drive.
    
I needed to change that.
   
  ChickLit was a discovery I found enlightening because I think it gave the female character, and the avid romance reader hope.

    A main character perfectly flawed, but driven to do better, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Not to mention I wanted my main character to have the emotional range of a teenage boy, because let’s face it, not all girls know what the hell to do with their emotions.

     Okay, I must confess something though, because my main character is not only emotionally underdeveloped, but a federal agent; trained to kill on a whim, her morality hits a grey area constantly when it comes to the value of a human life, and on top of everything else she openly prefers her gun to a boyfriend. So, is she an impressively strong leading female character? Or an emotional nightmare?

     That’s the wonderful thing about ChickLit. She’s both.

     The genre gives the ability for all sorts of strong struggling female characters to succeed in a myriad of different ways. The leading lady of Emotionally Compromised, Agent Alex Turner, struggles to do her job, somehow manages a potential love interest, while at the same time keeping her sense of self, and doing the right thing —whether that means pulling the trigger or not, or taking down her emotional wall to do something as simple as telling her boyfriend how she feels.

She’d argue pulling the trigger might be easier.

     With this newly created genre it becomes easier to have all of the personal growth, wonderfully complicated emotional range, and heartfelt struggles of a powerful woman.

Can I say you had me at personal growth, and wonderfully complicated?

     Now I don’t need to give my story three different labels, but instead can finally wrap-up my strong, beautifully flawed, powerful female driven tale up in one nice little package with a pretty bad-ass bow to gift as:

            ChickLit.

... Click here to read Alexandra's work, and if you like it, you can also Like her facebook page!

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