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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chick-lit: It’s Predictable

Every once in a while I get a review of my book that says it was predictable. Um… yah. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t all chick-lit predictable?

Essentially, there’s a formula for chick-lit. It varies from book to book and writer to writer, but it basically stays the same. There’s the heroine/hero, there’s the love interest, there’s the drama, and then there’s the happily ever after.

I wonder in their remarks that it was predictable, were they looking for something unpredictable? Maybe a not-so-happily-ever-after? Let me tell you what would happen if I wrote a book with a not-so-happy ending. Ten percent of my readers would think “huh, that’s different”, and the other ninety percent would throw the book across the room (unless it was on their kindle, and then they would very gently, but sternly, delete it from their files, never to be seen or read again).

I also wonder, if by unpredictable, are they looking for something more realistic? Now, I don’t know about you, but when I read, I’m not looking for “real”. I have enough “real” in my everyday life. When I read, I’m looking for an escape - a way to go on vacation, without actually having to go on vacation. So for me, I like the predictable. I look forward to it. I know that when I open Sophie Kinsella’s newest novel there will be a happy ending and that makes me want to read it.

After all, isn’t the joy in the journey? How will they get from A to B? How will the love blossom? How will they work through whatever drama will be thrown their way?

So is chick-lit predictable? Yes. And I would like to keep it that way, thank you very much. If you are looking for something less predictable, might I suggest a mystery, or a biography. Perhaps a dystopian novel would do the trick (I’ve thrown a few of those across the room). But let’s keep chick-lit the way it was meant to be: predictably lovely. 

3 comments

  1. I totally agree with you! Nothing worn with chick lit just as it is!! <3

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  2. If it weren't predictable, I don't know if we would like it as much. I always say that even though I know where it is going to end up, it's the journey there that is the important part. Honestly, in life, we all know what our ending will be. "Make that dash between the years mean something." Or something like that ... :-P

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  3. I agree.

    First off I am a middle aged man (45 if anyone cares) so I am far from the target audience for chick lit; but, I still read a lot of chick lit. Just as I said on twitter last week (when talking about chick lit) just because you know the destination it does not mean that the journey is not fun.

    Good writing can still be good writing even if you know the ending within the first 10% of the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If there is good fun stuff in between the first 10% or so and the ending who cares if it is predictable? Enjoyable is enjoyable. Yes there is exceptional writing out there that is not predictable but what is wrong with very good (or just good) writing? My point is that being predictable does not mean that there are no redeeming qualities in a book.

    As long as it is a good story and it is well told . . . none of the rest really matters . . . at least to me!

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