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Are Certain Genres Really 'Better'?

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Old 04-08-2016, 01:33 PM
LittlePenBigHea (Offline)
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Default Are Certain Genres Really 'Better'?


I love what is commonly, if pejoratively, known as 'chick lit'. I love the humour and the lightness of it, which serves as a great contrast to the troubles of everyday life. I like knowing that at the end of it, everything will come up roses.

Recently, though, I read something that suggested it's a genre of writing that is frowned upon by the literary community. It isn't elevated enough to be considered 'good' writing. The impact of this snobbery is exactly the reason it has been given the term 'chick lit' in the first place - a combination of elitism and sexism, tightly bound in a package that makes female fiction writers of a particular kind sound and feel less worthy than those in other genres.

The problem with that is this: it's a little off-putting to a wannabe writer of the genre. It's the writing I love and therefore the writing I'd prefer to do. But the feeling that I should be trying for something more respected creates a sort of cognitive dissonance.

Do you have an opinion on so-called 'chick-lit'? Are you a fan? Do you consider it too basic? What are your thoughts?

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Old 04-08-2016, 02:37 PM
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Jane Austen wrote chick lit. It can certainly be highly regarded.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:08 PM
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I'm not sure who the literary community is these days. If you're talking about critics and academics, who cares? The publishing industry is in a state where they're mostly concerned with what sells, and chick-lit does, as far as I know.

I deal with the opposite end of it, where people assume I'm a snob because I only read so-called literary fiction. When I say I don't like fantasy or science fiction, the assumption is that I think I'm above it, which is nonsense. It's just not my thing.

If you like reading and/or writing chick-lit, go for it. My wife reads plenty of it and she is quite the smart cookie.
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Old 04-08-2016, 05:04 PM
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Hi Hea(D).

I've read some chick lt and liked it. I used to moderate writer support groups and there were members working on novels in the same genre.

Here's my take. The idea of taking a bunch of stories, identifying what they have in common, then inventing a title for that commonality (the titles of all the genres) is very lazy thinking, although it does help bookstores and libraries put them together on a shelf.

Genres are nothing more than stories having the same elements.

If you read the description of any genre and write something it's like writing with a recipe. Or paint by the numbers for artists.

Most successful writers tell a story and to hell with the classification system.

The genre I like to read and write is hardboiled/noir stories. But I don't follow the recipe. I have written stories which elements from many genres. I just finished a story with the following elements: adventure, suspense, action, a love story, sex, with touches of humor and surrealism. I don't know what genre it is and I don't care.

BTW, when you answer the question, "What do you write?" with "Chick Lit" you are reinforcing the lazy thinking of so many.

My advice is to know the elements of the genre but let the story and characters have some freedom to develop outside the recipe. Don't write by the numbers...

Have a nice writing day... wrc
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:04 PM
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Romance novels sell by the ton. Wuthering Heights and the ilk still are read and enjoyed by many. Everything falls into a class in one form or another and each has a loyal readership.

What I find interesting is how some female writers of hard boiled crime fiction use only a first initial before their last name. A marketing ploy so the male reader will pick up the book assuming it was written by a man instead of the fairer sex and at least give it a perfunctory flip through.

If "chick-lit" is your thing then go for it and do consider if you take your work to market to just use a first initial. There are plenty of ladies that assume men lack the sensibilities to write believable romance stories. They assume we have a poor understanding of the female mind and in many respects we admittedly do.

I know that any woman that ever watched a football game with me would comment on how cute the players butts looked in those tight uniforms. WTF.

As I suggested use an initial instead of a full first name but if you must use a first name try using a generic name that is suitable for both sexes, like Leslie or Bailey.

Chuck or Myron somehow lacks that feminine appeal.

Most great literary works have a love story somewhere in the pages, even The Call of the Wild.
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Old 07-15-2016, 04:14 AM
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I love chick lit. I do not, however, consider it serious reading dealing with weighty and deep issues. It's not intended to be. It's a light escape and a bit of fun. I don't have a problem with that.
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Non Serviam View Post
Jane Austen wrote chick lit. It can certainly be highly regarded.
from a woman of her stature should she not had written about men's grandure?
chick lit is rather rit,
every man persona in her books she had depicted were rather questionable they were all either
stupid infamous or pompous. and the list goes on, it cant have been a nice life.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:18 AM
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To address the post title "Are Certain Genres Really 'Better'?"

Its all subjective. All the lists and rankings out there at the end of the day is an opinion of either an individual or group. Whether they are an authority or not, to me, it is still just an opinion.

To address the question in the body of your post about "chick lit" it's not a genre I have a huge interest in but it deserves it's place on the shelf and in any discussion.
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