Monday, February 27, 2012

What Is Women's Fiction? (Part 1)

If a romance should convince the reader they are falling in love…
If a thriller should convince the reader they are in mortal danger…
If a fantasy should convince the reader they are in a world of wonder and magic…
What should women’s fiction do?

~~It’s a valid question; one I’ve asked often as I write FRIENDLY FIRE and its sequel, LINE OF FIRE.

~~Here’s some definition of the genre:

Katie Shea, agent with Don Maass, at Writer Unboxed
My definition of women’s fiction: An extraordinary story relating to women involving in-depth characters, emotion, struggle, and uncovering life’s unexplainable joy.

Nora Roberts quoted at Ampichellis Ebooks
Women's fiction is a story that centers on a woman or on primarily women's issues, not necessarily the romantic relationship-based books I do, but the woman's story.

Micki Nuding, HarperCollins/Avon senior editor quoted by Lisa Craig
Women's Fiction can be commercial (and usually is) or literary; it can be here-and-now contemporary or a multigenerational saga, like Rosamund Pilcher's books. The woman is the star of the story and her changes and emotional development are the subject.

Also quoted by Lisa Craig:
Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Women's Fiction is about women's empowerment.

Jane Heller defines women's fiction as novels written with any relationship at the core of the plot.

Linda Hyatt of Hyatt Agency: Good women's commercial fiction usually touches the reader in ways other fiction cannot. Relationship stories, generational sagas, love stories and women's commercial fiction must touch on subjects women can relate to in their real lives. Whether there is a happily ever after ending, or a bittersweet one, whether the reader laughs or cries, women love reading stories that touch their emotions-and tug at their hearts.

Find Me An Author adds this about women’s fiction: Women's fiction taps into the hopes, fears, dreams and even secret fantasies of women today.

~~So, what’s your definition of women’s fiction?

~~My next post will list some authors whose work is considered women’s fiction.
Part three of my three part Women’s Fiction discussion will let you into why I think my current WIP are part of this growing genre.


  1. Like the new blog look! Thanks for this. I'm loving all the quotes about women's fiction because I've always thought it quite vague.

    1. Oh, it is vague, Sara. There are no conventions, no suggested word counts, suggested POV, etc. All this makes it hard to write the genre. The key is to have a good story that is character driven. But that can be said for all the genres, can't it?

      And thanks for comment on the new look. I wanted it to reflect the season. ; )

  2. Love the new blog look!
    I try not to think about genres too much - everything gets so micro divided. Though I realise I need to know these things, especially for querying...
    Will miss you Zan Marie! Hope your computer recovers soon!

    1. I'm baaaaack! Thanks for the comment, Deniz. It's going to be a while before I catch up. ; )

  3. Nice collection of definitions. Thanks for that.

  4. Thank you for writing this blog, I think it has helped me clear up a few things about my novel the genre it should go in. I had been thinking women's fiction more and more and your blog helped me clarify that.


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