Why I Write Women’s Fiction — Not Conventional Romance
When I began writing fiction, I just wanted to write the stories that came to me, full of rich characters with their own quirks and personalities. I didn’t carefully consider genre, initially, possibly because I’m a pantser: I write by the seat of my pants, and I believe in following my characters wherever they lead me.
So far, I’ve focused on writing about women’s journeys, geographical and spiritual, and I allow my characters’ personal growth arcs to develop and unfold on the page. Because I’m a big fan of love, I’ve included a romantic interest in each of my books. But here’s an important point — the romantic story is not the only story, or even the primary story; not every plot or scene is intended to draw the two lovers closer and closer until they reach a literary climax (pun intended). Instead, the growth and development that each of my female characters experiences — through encountering and conquering obstacles, or by being steadfast and patient — is the point.
In women’s fiction, the central female character’s personal growth, change, and emotional journey is the point— and this is what distinguishes my books from a conventional romance. I’m not saying that either genre, romance or women’s fiction, is superior to the other. I am saying there’s a difference.
Although my books contain romance, I don’t consider romance to be the only, or all-important, thread. In a work of romantic fiction, even a story with a happy-ever-after ending, an engaging romantic couple often encounters obstacles.
But in women’s fiction, the obstacles encountered don’t necessarily have a chutes-or-ladders impact on romantic relationships. Sometimes life gets a little strange, or a little difficult — and a good writer can make life both interesting and unexpected. It’s also important to keep in mind that, in women’s fiction, the romantic relationship isn’t the only one that matters. Relationships with siblings, parents, co-workers, and children can have a huge impact on the central character’s personal growth, and contribute to the cohesiveness of the book.