9/23/06

Read Any LDS Chick Lit Lately?

In one of your critiques, you mentioned Chick Lit. Can you talk a little more about this? Are there any LDS authors doing this type of fiction? Is it currently selling?


Chick lit refers to books specifically written for women, generally dealing with a twenty- or thirty-something woman who is trying to find her place in the world. Sometimes there's a traumatic event triggering the response that creates the story (as in paragraph 20), but more often they are light-hearted, often first person, with a sort of sassy, humorous or conversational tone (as in paragraph 19). Some definitions consider it to be a romance sub-genre; others broaden it to include books where romance is the secondary plot line.

Kristen Nelson is a national literary agent who represents chick lit. (This links to her chick lit titles.) You can get a good sense of this genre just by reading the titles and looking at the covers of her books.

On the national market, chick lit often includes scenes and themes that might be considered--uhmmm, how do I say this politely--uncomfortably provocative for LDS readers. In many publishing houses, this sensuality is part of the definition of chick lit. Obviously, that wouldn't be the case in the LDS market.

On the national market, this genre is declining somewhat. Publishers aren't accepting as much of it, probably due to a glut on the market. But I would expect it to continue as a recognized genre for quite some time.

As for the LDS market, I think there's a place for women's novels that use a breezy, fun chick lit tone. I don't read a lot in this area, so I can't give a definitive answer as to who might already be writing in that genre. Although I haven't read them yet, just based on their descriptions and what I've heard people say about them, Josie Kilpack's Tempest Tossed and some of Rachel Nunes' novels might fall into this category.

Readers, can you give us some examples of LDS chick lit?

4 comments:

Stephanie Black said...

How about Stephanie Fowers' "Rules of Engagement"? That's a fun read.

Anonymous said...

To judge by the criteria of 20-something woman trying to find her place in the world, light-hearted, first person, and sassy I'd say Sheralyn Pratt definitely writes chick lit. Ostensibly, her three books are mysteries, but it seems to me that the romance part is a very strong sub-plot.

Sariah S. Wilson said...

The decline of chick lit in the national market is of great interest to me because it's a genre I love to read and hope to write someday.

Unfortunately, what happened is what happens with any new phenomenon. This brand new market opens, the readers voraciously devour it, and publishers jump on the bandwagon. They publish anything that calls itself "chick lit" and put a pretty pink cover on it and expect it to sell.

Initially it does sell because the demand is so high...and then...readers realize that what they're reading is not all that great and nothing like those books they loved in the first place.

So the readers stop buying chick lit, much to the publishers' astonishment as they realize they can't just call any piece of dreck "chick lit" and sell it.

A winnowing process has to take place, and the market is declared "dead" even when there's still an audience. Like traditional Regencies - there aren't any NY publishers that will even publish them anymore because they're "dead" and yet there are thousands of women who still want them - and so e-publishers like Cerridwen pop up to fill in the gap. If NY publishers stop putting out chick lit all together, there will be someone to step in and publish them.

Often the way to circumvent this sort of glut is to combine the dying genre with another one - like paranormal chick lit which is doing very well.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I agree -- Stephanie Fowers was the first name that came to mind. Also "Beyond Perfection" - although I'm not pulling out the author's name right now.

As far as Josi Kilpack and Rachel Nunes' books go, they're more issue-driven and feature deeper plots than your typical chick lit, so I wouldn't say they fit -- they're more along the lines of "women's fiction."