Women’s Fiction Genre

Women’s fiction genre is the genre that targets women as their readers. They are about issues and relationships, not necessarily romance, and about strong female protagonists at a crossroad in their lives. The stories should connect with women reader’s lives on an emotional level. 

Women’s fiction usually 80,000 to 100,000 words and has multiple point-of-view subplots that are deeper, more descriptive, and more introspective than romance novels. Although there may be romance, the man is not given equal time as he is in romance novels. These are novels about women.

Women’s fiction touches its reader at a more emotional level. As stated, the stories are about relationships, generational sagas and love stories, but more importantly the stories should touch on things that women readers can connect with in their own lives.

Karen Kingsbury, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rivers Siddons, Anne Tyler, and Nora Roberts are examples of authors who write good women’s fiction.

Sub-categories of Women’s Fiction: 

Romance: Romance in women’s fiction is different than in the romance genre. This romance doesn’t always play be the rules. It’s a story about a woman who is in love and how that influences her life. In a women’s fiction romance, there can be subplots that have nothing to do with the romance but are a part of the heroine’s story. And it doesn’t have to end with the woman walking off in the sunset with the man of her dreams. It will have a satisfying ending, but it may not be a happy ever after one like in romance novels.

Love Stories: Love stories are different than romances in one very fundamental way. They are tear-jerkers. In a love story, somebody is going to die. Nicholas Sparks is the master of this sub-genre.

Chick-lit: The main difference between chick-lit and traditional women’s fiction is the tone. Chick-lit is lighter and more humorous and is geared toward women in the twenties and thirties. Many times, it’s also shorter, usually 50,000 to 70,000 words. It usually has an urban setting and involves protagonists who struggle to advance professionally and love shopping.

Historical: This is women’s fiction in a historical setting.

Amish: Amish women’s fiction is very popular amoung Christian fiction, but a secular publishing company is now coming out with a line of Amish novels. This involves stories about women in the Amish community. Beverly Lewis is the best known author of Amish novels.

Heroine: These novels usually involve a strong woman or group of women fighting to protect their families or the rights of others. Basically this is the heroine risking all to defend the helpless.

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This entry was posted in Sharpening Our Writing and tagged , by Tamera Kraft. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tamera Kraft

Tamera Kraft has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She is also a writer and has curriculum published including Kid Konnection 5: Kids Entering the Presence of God published by Pathway Press. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

11 thoughts on “Women’s Fiction Genre

  1. This is a great break-down of the genre, Tamera. I didn’t realize that I was writing Women’s Fiction until an editor told me that’s what it was. Why it should feel so satisfying to finally know what to call it, I’m not sure, but it is. This post helps even more with the definition.

  2. This was very helpful. Thanks for posting it. I’ve been marketing my book as a contemporary Christian romance, and that’s not quite right. By your definition, it’s not a straight romance because there are a lot of subplots going on. How would you tag it? Romantic contemporary Christian women’s fiction? That seems too long. Maybe just romantic women’s fiction? Thanks!

  3. Tamera – your description of Women’s Fiction is excellent! In days of yore “Women’s Fiction” was fiction written by women; now it’s done a one-eighty, and is fiction BY and also ABOUT women. It’s been an intriguing journey to discover this is what I write — a genre as richly complex as are women ourselves. I’ve become a spokeswoman for the genre at multiple events. Would love to include you in an upcoming on-line forum.

  4. Well said. Funny thing is that I have a book, women’s fiction, on Kindle free today and is #6 for Romantic Suspense but the love story is not the main focus. I’m wondering how many people are going to be disappointed out of 6,000 downloads today.

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