Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why Read Women's Fiction?

Today, I'd like to welcome Darian Wilk to my blog.  Darian is a women's fiction writer. Her book, Love Unfinished, was released in October. We thought it might be fun to write about what makes Women's Fiction special. She blogs at Crazy Lady with a Pen, where I'm her guest today!

Here's Darian's take on why you might like to read women's fiction:

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
 “…Memoirs gradually unfolds to reveal the courage, love, daring, and hope of an intensely human — and, it turns out, surprisingly modern — woman.”

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
“…In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, she spins a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide.”

Something Blue by Emily Griffin
“Highly entertaining . . . Despite a happy ending, Giffin raises thorny questions. A long friendship can (like marriage) turn claustrophobic or abusive. Is infidelity the solution? And why are pretty girls so easily taken in by scheming Plain Janes?”

How to make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto
“An extraordinary and moving reading experience, How to make an American quilt is an exploration of women of yesterday and today, who join together in a uniquely female experience. As they gather year after year, their stories, their wisdom, their lives, form the pattern from which all of us draw warmth and comfort for ourselves.”

These reviews span from The Boston Globe to New York Times.  Almost all of us will recognize these titles, have read them, or seen the love for these books bring our favorite stories to the big screen and touch the nation.  What do all of these titles have in common?  They’re women’s fiction. 

There are many misconceptions about women’s fiction, one being that it is some sort of hybrid; Sex and the City meets chic lit meets romance novels, it’s a blanket term people throw around without really knowing what they’re covering.  But the clearest definition of women’s fiction is this: it’s fiction for women readers.  Meaning, fiction for all of us, fiction about all of us.

So why read this genre that all too often accidently gets dumped into genres we might not wander to?  Because they’re books that are relatable to all of us on some scale, grand or small.  All of the women in these stories are us or parts of our life, in some form.  They’re flawed, beautiful, ordinary, the wallflower, weak yet strong, blinded by love or push their love to the side for the sake of someone else.  They break molds, they fill molds perfectly.  They are the smile we paint on during the day, and the quiet tear we shed in the darkness.  They are what we hope to become, they are our secret dream, they are what we fear to become.  They are the victim and the clumsy hero.  They are everyday women. 

Reading women’s fiction is the same reason I write women’s fiction; because I love love but hate the perfect hero.  Because I love a character that I can relate to, flaws and all.  Because I love stories that feel real, and stories that make me feel.  Because I love stories that imitate life in realistic yet entertaining ways - that life is messy and complicated, not always what you expected but still the best ride of you’ll ever go on.  Because being a mom, wife, daughter, lover, friend, being a woman is hard – and the most rewarding challenge we will ever face. 

The books I mentioned at the beginning are best selling books, so much so that they were all turned into movies to touch an entirely different kind of audience.  They’re not chic lit, romance, or drama’s, they’re women’s fiction.  And they’re bestsellers for a reason; they’re all stories with real women inside them.  Like the very women who bought these books. 

Why read women’s fiction?  Because they’re books about you, about me, about your mom, your friend, the boss you hate, and the co-worker you love to ignore.  They’re stories that unravel our lives, the lives of women we see every day, our failures and growth.  Revealing a whole new woman and world we never expected to find from the seemingly ordinary woman on the surface.  They’re written about us, for us, tailored to things we think about, whether we say them out loud or not.  They do for readers what we as women do every day; make you feel, think, fight, try, grow, and love.  Women’s fiction shows the complexity and beauty, of us. 

Darian Wilk is the author of Love Unfinished, released in October, and blogger at Crazy Lady with a Pen.  Please visit her website to read more about her debut novel, or enter the current giveawayLove Unfinished is available through Darian’s website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords


  1. I totally agree, Darian. I write women's fiction because I, too, love to read it. However, I got sick and tired of reading about women who's only dilemma was how to pay for their designer shoes and which man they were going to date. I wanted to read about real, women; women who had lived real lives. Hence, took it upon myself to write such a book. Somebody had to do it. "Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever," about a group of women in their 50s who first met in high school and have survived multiples marriages, devastating divorces, terrible teenagers, and even maddening menopause together. The book has hit a chord and has been optioned for the big screen. So, your definition of women's fiction is bang on - it's written about us and for us.

    Best of luck with your book!

    Judith Marshall

  2. Judith, yes I understand what you mean as well, but in my experience those types of "Oh my God, I love Gucci!" books are ones that fall closer to the chic lit side. I think the women's fiction genre has a lot to offer readers with a deeper meaning, a deeper connection to the characters, such as books like yours. Best of luck to you as well!

  3. This is such a fabulous post - as a women's fiction author myself, I'll be quoting it forever. I've already tweeted it, and posted it to my Facebook page. Love the line 'They break molds, they fill molds perfectly.' So well said!

  4. PS: I've also added the link to a recent post of mine - The Chick Lit Debate continues.

  5. Thank you Dianne, that means so much to me that my words struck you so! I'll be reliving your words all day, thank you!