Friday, May 12, 2006

Chick-lit, originality, and Brandilyn Collins

Captain’s Log, Stardate 05.12.2006

Blog book giveaway:
My Monday book giveaway is PINK by Marilynn Griffith.
My Thursday book giveaway is THE PREACHER’S DAUGHER by Lyn Cote
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for PINK and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned.

Chick-lit: I did take time today to catch up on a couple e-mail loops I’m on, one of which is the chick-lit loop. There’s been a really good discussion about where the genre’s going—if it’s evolving, if it’s dying, what?

Most people had good points. One woman especially said something that resonated with me, and which I think applies to most other genres as well:

A lot of chick-lit now being published is a lot of the same rehashed storylines. You know what I’m talking about—bridezilla, weirdo mother, dating lots of losers, etc. It’s making chick-lit readers bored.

As chick-lit writers, we have to take the essence of chick-lit—the voice, the plight of the single 20- or 30-something woman—and give it a different spin. If we keep up with the market and see that bridezilla is being overdone, then take a different theme and turn it on its head. It forces writers to be more creative, more unique, more original.

I see this a lot in entries I judge. Some entries have a really unique theme, idea, premise, or characters. However, many of them don’t have that something different to make it stand out as a story.

I think writers sometimes don’t pay enough attention to that aspect of storytelling. The characters are so real, the story so alive in their minds, they don’t want to think that it needs a boost of something to make it memorable.

MEMORABLE.

Scarlett. Everyone knows who I’m talking about.
Bond. Don’t even have to say his first name.
Darth Vader. (Okay, that’s actually movies)
Harry Potter. (No discussions from the anti-HP corner)

They’re all memorable stories. Scarlett puts b*tch in a whole ‘nother level. When it first came out, Ian Fleming’s James Bond was THE man’s man. Darth Vader is not your typical “son betrayed by father” story. Harry’s stories make the wizard/witch fantasy something out of the box.

I’ll take Brandilyn Collins as an unwitting example. EYES OF ELISHA, DREAD CHAMPION—her Christian heroine has visions and solves crimes. Innovative, especially when it first came out, especially within Christian fiction. Not your typical suspense, not your typical paranormal, not your typical crime story.

Okay, okay, my rant is over. But all you writers (and there are a lot of you who read this blog) really analyze your story. What makes you stand out within your genre?

TMI:

Diet: According to my body fat % scale, I’m down one fat percentage! I don’t know how, considering I haven’t been eating that well lately and exercise has been nonexistent. But oh well! I’ll take it!

6 comments :

  1. woohooo down one fat percentage!!!! yay!!!

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  2. Congrats on the diet!! :) And great thoughts on chick-lit!

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  3. I read a lot of books of many different genres. My favorites are romance (of pretty much any kind) and you do see a lot of repetition in the themes, characters, conflicts, etc. What does make the same storylines still interesting is when the author adds that little something special that makes it his/her own.

    Way to go on losing one fat percentage! But, wait a minute...I think...maybe...yep, it somehow made it's way here, lol.

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  4. Actually, heroines solving crimes with visions was done in the romanctic suspense genre before Brandilyn (in films on tv, and by Linda Howard and others). Brandilyn had the schmarts to put the Christian Fiction touch on it and bring it to CBA. :)

    Mir

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  5. Hi Camy -- I sent you an email w/ my address yesterday afternoon -- it must've not gone through. I'll send you another one here in a sec. Sorry about the delay! Thanks!! Ruth

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  6. I think a lot of what you said about the chick lit realm has to do with character. We have to not only care about her, but we have to believe in her and her struggle. True, storylines can become cliched, but it's the characters (like Scarlett, Bond, Vader and Harry) that stick with us after the cover of the book has turned. That's how I want to stand out: memorable characters. Hmmm... maybe I should get back to my WIP on that note.

    And congrats on the lost 1%!

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