On Writing

Why I Write Women’s Fiction — Not Conventional Romance

But I’m pretty comfortable with the “Chick Lit” label

Wendy Cohan
4 min readAug 13, 2023

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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

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Wendy Cohan

Author of character-driven women's fiction, short stories, and essays. Her contemporary romance, The Renaissance Sisters, debuted May 23, 2023.