Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Why I Write Chick Lit

on April 3, 2014

I was given (read: I chose) Longbourn by Jo Baker for Mother’s Day.  It’s a sort-of-retelling of Pride & Prejudice, from the point of view of the household servants.  It’s a wonderful book, but at one point I found myself feeling really down, because I felt that my books just couldn’t compare to it.  No rich detail in mine.  No beautiful descriptions.  Some drama, but not on that scale.  Generally predictable plots.  Chick lit, in other words.

The thing is, though, my books don’t need that.  I write contemporary fiction, so I don’t need to include lots of detail about what life is like for my characters as my readers already know.  As for beautiful descriptions – honestly, I tend to skip a lot of them when I’m reading.  Just give me the bare bones and I’ll make my own mental pictures.  I don’t think I’m alone in that.  If I had no imagination, I wouldn’t be reading fiction.  It’s the plot and the characters I’m interested in.

But the thing that really made me feel good about what I write was that I felt bad when I finished the book.  Although the end was happy, the whole thing painted a picture of bleakness.  Harsh, lonely lives of physical and emotional endurance, where moments of happiness were few and far between.  I spent half the evening feeling teary and depressed.  And, you know what, I don’t want to write books like that.  I don’t want to make people feel like that.

There’s plenty of bad in this world.  Most of the media seems to be devoted to reminding us of that.  I don’t want to add to that.  I want to make people feel better.  Remind them that there is still much good out there.  That just because today was crap doesn’t mean tomorrow will be.  That there’s humour to be found in everything.  And that’s what chick lit is about.  So that’s what I write.

4 responses to “Why I Write Chick Lit

  1. vscot848 says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy for us all to walk around tired, stressed or angry, so to give someone a moment and make them laugh, smile or relate – priceless. Great post.

  2. Exactly! I want to write the type of books I love reading and that’s chick lit. Though my novels keep slipping into a more mystical genre if there is such a thing and they don’t all centre on a woman.. hmm..

    • There’s lots of off-shoots of chick lit now, like paranormal and mysteries. I don’t know if it still counts as chick lit if it’s not centred around a woman, though. Lad lit – or whatever they decide it’s called – maybe?

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