Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Journey to Women's Fiction

Starting in the late 1970s, I devoted my time to writing SF stories with varying results. I even stopped writing all together in the late 90s due to work stress and fatigue, but the dream never died. After retiring, I wrote and published two devotionals and two church histories, and was a Georgia Author of the Year Nominee for An Easter Walk.  Check out the "Books" tab above for more info on my writings.

Then a story that wouldn't be denied woke me from a nap--only I had no clue what it was in terms of genre. It wasn't mystery, suspense, or thriller. And it wasn't SF, fantasy, or romance.

So, where did the story of a childless widow's progression to be an abused girl's mother bear ready to take on the world to protect her daughter fit? I hunted and could only come up with the amorphous definitions of mainstream or contemporary. Hunting an agent who represented those genres seemed doomed to fail before I even completed the rough draft.

Gradually I became aware of a genre called women's fiction and started investigating the definition and searching for conventions as you can see from these past post--What's the Genre? and What is Women's Fiction? Part One and Part Two. Did my WIP fit? And did I want it to? The cumulative effects of reading definition after definition that said, "Women's fiction is written by women for women readers" really made me want to turn away and run. Then, thanks to Amy Sue Nathan's fabulous blog--Women's Fiction Writers--and all the interviews she does with writers began to sink in. I realized the truth that my wip, FRIENDLY FIRE and its sequels, have been women's fiction all along. Though I know I'm repeating myself, the creation of the Women's Fiction Writers Association has given me a welcome feeling--I feel like I've come home. ; )

And now more from Orly Konig-Lopez, founding president WFWA. Also, check out her post on Writers in the Storm about writers organizations and WFWA's origins.

So, let's back up for a minute and I'll try to fill you in …

The Founding Team consists of the founding board members:
President: Orly Konig Lopez
Vice President-Programs: Kerry Lonsdale
VP-Finance/Treasurer: Laura Drake
Secretary: Linda Avellar
Wise Writer (although we're looking for a different title): Marilyn Brant
Maggie Marr (who is advising on legal matters), Sharla Lovelace, and Florence Fios.

In most situations the founding members would have done the ground work to establish the association before bringing members into the fold, but RWA decided to refocus the specialty chapters so that they better align with its mission to serve career focused romance writers. While that decision was right for RWA and the many romance writers under their umbrella, it left a lot of us feeling homeless...because of the timing with the RWA-WF chapter, we wanted to make sure that all those who voted to dissolve and those who were interested in a more inclusive women's fiction chapter had a home. Which is why we're all on the loop.

That said, we're not an official organization just yet. The Founding team is going through the steps, including developing a mission statement, deciding on board positions, developing a website, filing the paperwork, drafting bylaws, defining the programs we'll offer, what the membership dues should be and when to collect them, and I could go on and on about the many discussions we're having. The thing to remember is that we're starting from the ground up.

So yes, as the founding team we are implementing certain decisions in order to create an association that will benefit women's fiction writers. In the end we really hope to create a welcoming and nurturing community that will provide the resources and networking opportunities that all of us seek as writers of women's fiction (not women writers - there's already an organization for that). Over the next few months, we'll roll out the details as they are solidified.

I can testify to the feeling of home and belonging that the founding members have already created. I'll keep you informed as WFWA shapes up. I do hope you'll join us on the loop if you write women's fiction. The conversations are amazing!

The WFWA website it up!  Check it out at http://womensfictionwriters.org/