Monday, January 30, 2012

Is Chick Lit Dead?

For a while, chick lit was alive and kicking up its stilettos. Seriously, everywhere you looked, there it was. The market got saturated. And once the shelves and bookstores and publishing houses (and readers) were soaked, so started the drying up process.

Now, they say chick lit is dead. But I disagree. While the term "chick lit" may be buried, the heart of chick lit is still breathing. It may be disguised as "romantic comedy" or "contemporary women's fiction" but it's still there. And it's still selling. In my opinion, it always will be.

Why? Because women can relate. Chick lit's main components tend to be friendship, fashion, and finding Mr. Right. But most of all, chick lit is fun. And with the busyness of being a woman, fun is always a welcome reprieve!

Chick lit has been around forever. Jane Austen was a 19th century chick lit writer. In fact, six of her novels were recently given redesigned, glossy, "chick litty" covers in order to appeal to today's woman.

A few years before the term "chick lit" made its debut, Sue Grafton came out with her Alphabet Series (still going strong- she's up to letter V). While protagonist, Kinsey Milhone, isn't your typical Prada handbag chick, she's got the other main components that make up a "chick lit" character: she's single, she's sassy, and she's smart.

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is a huge hit with readers. In fact, one of her titles, One for the Money, has just come out as a movie, starring Katherine Heigl. Other secular books you've probably heard of that could be (or are) labled as Chick Lit include:

  • Something Borrowed
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • The Nanny Diaries
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Cofessions of a Shopaholic
  • In her Shoes
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  • Lipstick Jungle
Chick lit expands to the Christian market, too. Kristin Billerbeck is one of the authors who helped define "Christian Chick Lit." Her Ashley Stockingdale series (What a Girl Wants) was, and remains, a hit with readers. With Christian chick lit, you have everything found in general market chick lit, only it goes deeper. Under all of the fun, fashion, and finding Mr. Right, also lies a message about God's love and forgiveness. 

Some popular Christian chick lit authors include:


Of course, chick lit has also expanded to other areas, such as Mom Lit (which is what category Mind over Madi falls under), Hen Lit, Mystery Lit, even YA Lit. 

No matter what, the form and style of chick lit will never die. As long as there are chicks (that's US, ladies!), there will be chick lit. No matter what genre or sub-genre it's hidden behind.

What are your thoughts about Chick Lit? What are some of your favorites?


cbalmony said...

I LOVE the voice of chick lit, which is why I read it. However, I don't relate to all the shopping and special coffee drinking. One of my favorites is Split Ends, by Kristen Billerbeck. That character I totally loved!

Lynda Lee Schab said...

I loved Split Ends, too. Kristin has that natural chick lit her stuff. :-)

Jessica R. Patch said...

I love Chick Lit. A big fan of Grafton and I enjoyed Something Borrowed.

I'll have to check out Billerbeck. I've heard good things but never read anything by her. Yet!

Holly Magnuson said...

I enjoy Chick Lit!! I love to escape into the crazy that some of the authors you mention deliver, including your Madi! Thanks for the post!

ExpatDiaries said...

Great post, and I think you're exactly right. I've been asked to define chick lit many times and to me it's about tone - it's a distinctive writing style that puts the reader right in the scene. It's fun and funny and very very accessible.

Before writing Single in the City I'd never written chick lit. My first three books were "literary fiction" (so said my agent anyway). They were good but not my natural voice. Then I came up with the idea for Single in the City, which lent itself to a different writing style. The book wrote itself (and was by far the most fun one to write!). Chick lit may wear stilettos, Crocs, trainers or flip flops, but it will always be chick lit and we fans will always know it when we see it. And we'll always love it.

Lynda Lee Schab said...

Thanks for chiming in, ladies. I agree that chick lit is a natural voice - you either have it or you don't. And is so much fun to write! :-)

Cozy in Texas said...

I think chic lit has evolved into several sub-categories, but definitely not dead.

Madi Brown said...

The thought that Chick-Lit is dead is laughable. They might as well wipe out the entire female population while they're at it. Chick-Lit is a reflection of who we are, what we enjoy, and we do as women.

Lynda Lee Schab said...

So true, Madi! Thanks for stopping by and long live chick lit! :-)