Picture this. You take a woman who is an avid reader of romance. She loves both historical and contemporary. With or without suspense. She’s been reading it since the time she was about thirteen. So what kind of book do you think she would probably write? I bet you’d logically said romance. However, since today’s letter is W and the topic is women’s fiction, it must be women’s fiction, and that writer would be me.
From the time I first read a teen romance I fell in love with the heroine and hero falling in love. What would always get in the way of the two getting together. It always drove the story forward for me until I finished the book. They weren’t very long back then. Maybe 100 to 150 words a book. I loved them all.
Then I eventually transitioned into more adult romances which were mostly historical ones. Nora Hess, Virginia Henley and Amanda Quick were three of my favorite writers of all.
After my daughter died, I started a dedication site to her where I wrote through my grief journey (mommysangelinheaven.com). Then I started a memoir about my daughter, which in turn lead me to start writing my first fiction book. I honestly figured I ended up writing a romance since that’s what I knew really well. I wasn’t interested in writing historical, because, to be honest, I didn’t want to do all the research. I just wanted to write. I mean, I may do that eventually, but for the time it was more important that I just get the words written down.
So I took my story idea and began working on my first scene. From there things evolved and took form, although it did take a long time. As my story continued to grow, I noticed it didn’t seem to have the same feel as the romances I know and love always do. First off, I didn’t have a hero that I could introduce right away. I mean, I have one in there but he’s not the main part of the story, or I should say, he’s not part of the main part. It’s mostly about the heroine and her journey. This didn’t make sense to me now. I didn’t have any idea what genre I happened to be writing in then.
Then I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and I began to hear about a genre called women’s fiction. I honestly didn’t know much about it and I didn’t even know if I’d ever read a book in this genre either. I also became a member of the big critique group they have and started to submit my chapters one by one.
In one of the critiques I received back, a very nice woman took the time to thoroughly explain why not only my story was women’s fiction but also where I needed to start the story at. The basic gist is this: If the romance thread is taken out of a book and you know longer have a story, then the book is a romance. However, if you take the romance out and you still have a story along with a solid plot then the book is women’s fiction. The whole essence of women’s fiction isn’t about romance if it happens to be in there. It is an issue/character driven genre. Once I understood what genre I’d been writing in, it was like a weight had been lifted (I know, clique, but it works here 🙂 ).
Then I found out later that a couple of authors I’d read before were actually women’s fiction writers. Emily Giffin and Francine Rivers. Once I thought about the books they’ve written I realized that they were more about the woman’s journey than any romances that were in them.