M.A. Wohl

Writer on a Quest !

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I was toying with the idea of writing a love story, but I wasn’t sure what genre to write in: romance? chick-lit? romance subgenres?

The project was promptly shelved (I can’t write for full-on grown-ups yet), but I thought I could share the little bit of research I did on both genre.

If you are facing the same writing problem I faced, this might help.

Romance of the past

Back when I was working in a bookstore, the romance novels and the chick-lit novels never shared a bookshelf.

In fact, those two genres never even shared the same bookshelves space.
Chick-lit novels (patriarchal much, I hate the term) were mingling with literary fiction while Romance novels were all by themselves, hiding between the Historical fiction section and the Fantasy section.

As time went by, Chick-Lit remained pretty stagnant while Romance novels got their own sub-categories such as paranormal romance, dark fantasy romance, historical, so on and so forth.

Although they seem to share some similarities, they are two very distinctive literary genres.

Chick-Lit novels

The term has been used since the mid ’90s, according to my research (links below).

To earn the Chick-Lit label, a novel has to be written by a woman for women focus readership. Also, the story needs to be light-hearted, fun, heavy on the self-mockery. A love story of some kind is also present, although not always necessarily the main thing happening.
A Chick-Lit novel is centered around a witty, funny, often a fashion aficionado woman having to deal with social expectations.

A Chick-Lit novel is funny, light and leads the main character to a happy end… until the sequel.

Romance novels

At its chore, a Romance novel is a love story with a happy, optimistic end. Masterclass does have a more precise definition for it, but you get the general idea.

Romance novels were once considered as poorly written novels, then as poorly written soft-erotic novels. They were mainly destined to be consumed by bored house-wives and curious unmarried women.

Now, and even more since the event of ebooks, Romance novels are taking on the world in a wide variety of subgenres.

Still aiming towards female readers, Romance novels are expending constantly to a variety of readers. Hooray!

Thanks for reading this post. Feel free to show your support by buying a ko-fi to this crazy full-time Writer on a Quest, it is always very much appreciated.

Until next time!


According to Wikipédia (in French)

Very good overview of Romance novels

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