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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.
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.
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!
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Until next time!