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Topic: Difference Between Chick Lit and Romance?

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Subject: Difference Between Chick Lit and Romance?
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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I've been lurking in the Chick Lit Forum and this issue seems to be VERY important to them with many threads addressing the issue and a number of threads where people are sort of scolded for posting about romance novels in their forum. I've read some of the threads which attempt to define the genre but find myself still confused and honestly not sure the difference is all that important, but thats just mho lol. Anyway - they have a thread about Jennifer Crusie and that left me thoroughly confused since I have always considered her a romance author. I guess a number of the authors they consider chick lit authors write what I have always considered contemporary light romance - Jennifer Crusie, Meg Cabot etc....

Sincerely,

Confused in New York ;)

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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yeah that forum borders on unfriendly IMO and some have been downright nasty. I *think* chick-lit is mostly a female main character whose main purpose is not a HEA or romance though there's often sex and a relationship which to me is where it gets confusing. Meg Cabot has some chick-lit that crosses into mystery. and yes IMO Jennifer Crusie is romance not c hick-lit. sometimes you can go by the publisher - red dress ink for example is pretty much chick-lit..written for women in thier 20s maybe 30s. a lot of books cross genres..here you'll see historical romance as well as paranormal romance discussed and there's also a paranormal forum whre paranormal romance is discussed along with urban fantasy, etc.

I call anything chick-lit that has a dingbag heroine..I honestly haven't found much in chick-lit that's been anything but light/fluffy reading though there's a book by red dress ink that's more serious dealing with breast cancer - do they wear high heels in heaven? I've heard this is a tear-jerker yet it's a chick lit publisher.

there are several threads there asking the definition but if you asked 10 people there you'd get at last 8 responses and there will always be someone including an author no one else considers 'chick lit'. usually the covers are the pink/neon are cutesy covers..that's one way I can tell.

anyways I'm not help in figuring it out buy maybe you're comforted knowing I'm probably just as confused?! :) the thread I saw that I thought was nasty was the 'hen lit recommendations'..in fact I may have started that thread after another was talking about chick lit for women in their 40s and up like the Harlequin Next line.then someone posted about an author and someone snipped back that the author wasn't chick-lit and didn't merit bumping the thread back to the top. I thought her post was beyond rude but oh well.

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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It's been awhile since I read any chick lit because I don't care much for it other than the occasssional Jennifer Weiner book.  This is what I take Chick-lit to be: hereoine is usually 25-30 and goes through a major life change in the book: long time relationship is over, she loses her job, realizes she doesnt' want to be whatever career choice it was that she'd always do, all her friends either get married or have babies and she's still single etc...,  There is usually a romance in there somewhat-she meets a new guy or two-but they don't always end up together in the end and there usually isn't graphic sex.  In every chick-lit book I've read, which I'll admit wasn't that many: by the end of the book the heroine had all new friends, a new boyfriend (although he might not be all that serious) and a new career.

Whereas romance you can pretty much guarantee that the hero/heroine of the book will be in love and planning the rest of their lives together by the end of the book.  The book is mostly about them over coming whatever it is that's keeping them from their HEA: be it an ex of one of them, family problems, a stalker  or their own stupidity  etc..,   



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 10:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Oh and I don't hang out on the Chick-lit board for the reasons mentioned above.  They seem almost paranoid that they might actually read something that might be considerred romance.  And will not take kindly to being recommended a book/author that's romance in anyway.  Not bashing the Chick-lit board it's just what I've observed although it's probably been months since I've even just lurked over there. 

There are many authors that are kind of borderline romance/chicklit like Jennifer Cruisie.

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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"I call anything chick-lit that has a dingbag heroine...."   VERY funny. 

May I be the first to offer the opinion that there is virtually NO difference between the two! 
    It is like saying that the difference between the Golden Retreiver and the Labrador Retreiver is HUGE.  It is not, except for the fur coat. 

And I read both.  Of course, this opinion will never get you friends on that discussion board.  They will hang you by your pantyhose and poke a hole in your side with a 4" BDCFMShoe to see if you are dead!  

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 10:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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They have Romancefanaphobia; fear of being considered a romance reader:P  J/k, there are plenty of cross-over readers here who use that forum & this one, and I personally don't care that the chick lit forum seems a little more exclusive; I don't use it.  I don't read chick lit, so I'm not interested in the recos anyway - I think it translates better to film, but that's just me.  As long as nobody "over there" reads topics "over here" and complains when we occasionally include chick lit in our romance recos, it's cool.  This forum is more inclusive & we talk about lots of books that aren't strictly "romance", but like to keep ourselves open to anything that has romance in it; like romantic suspense, chick lit, etc.  Whereas the attitude of one is trying to refine lists & recos down to just what is chick lit in the strictest sense, the attitude of the other is more all inclusive.  I'm sure if there was an erotica forum, it would be the same or very similar:P

Oh - and ETA: there is no excuse for rudeness.  Ever.  There is a nice way to say just about everything, and even if you're tired of repeating yourself, person #100 who schlepped into your not L&R forum & blurted out the unspeakable (a romance title or author - *gasp*) deserves the same consideration you showed to person #1.  I think whoever should just tell them they will find what they're looking for in the L&R forum and everyone else there should consider it taken care of and stfu:P  Just MHO.



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 10:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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To me,the differences between Chick Lit and Romance are clear.   A Romance novel is about the developing romantic relationship between a couple that almost always ends in an HEA (happily ever after) ending.    Although there may be many other aspects to a romance novel, the ultimate focus is always - ALWAYS - on that relationship.  A chick lit novel is a sub-genre of women's fiction that deals with the issues of modern women's lives - usually humorously and lightheartedly and usually young urban women.  

The two genres mix frequently.  Jennifer Cruisie is one good example (I guess, the only Cruisie that I've read wasn't light hearted.)  A romance novel could have a chick lit style (humorous and light-hearted), but if the focus of the novel is a romantic relationship, then it's a romance.  That doesn't mean that it's not chick lit also.  As awful as the idea might be to some, it could be BOTH.     However, in many of the chick lit novels that I've read, there are romances, but they aren't the focus of novel at all.

Does that make it as clear as mud?



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 10:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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Ha! can't even spell dingbat today! :) I like some - loved Heather Wells mysteries by Meg Cabot and liked Jemima J...and some others but I think I like a HEA romance but got to a point where the young heroines just acted like idiots. but then some of the romance I've read is the same way. But I don't even want to start a thread in that forum in case I get my head snapped off!

I remember the Janet Evanovich discussion there once..someone listed it as a favorite chick lit and someone else was like 'those are NOT chick lit'..too many books cross genres..the black and white areas are easy but the gray areas aren't. I mean for it not being romance it seems the women do a lot of manhunting!

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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So maybe the only real difference between Chick Lit and Romance is the guarantee of a HEA?

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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The Stephanie Plum books most definitely ARE chick lit.  They practically define Chick Lit (young woman with romantic and career issues - told in a humorous and light-hearted style).   The only thing about them that isn't chick litty is that they are told in the third person.  Most Chick Lit books are told in first person - which is one of the reasons that it's not my favorite genre.  But the Plum books are also mysteries.    So they're a cross over.   A book doesn't have to be one genre or another.  It can be both.

ETA:  Some Chick Lit purists may say that because the Plum books are told in the third person, that means they aren't chick lit.   Instead they would probably say that they are mysteries told in a chick lit style

ETA again - I was wrong above.  The Plum books are told in first person.

Margaret, I would say that the answer to your question is no.   While Romance novels are practically guaranteed to have an HEA ending, Chick Lit novels can have an HEA ending also.     What really makes it a romance novel is if the main focus of the story is on the developing relationship between a couple.



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
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The way I always define Chick Lit is that the main male character is "Mr Right Now" and for romance books he's "Mr Right" .



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 2:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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Interesting - so why is Jennifer Crusie considered chick lit?

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I have no idea Margaret - I've always considered her 'romance'..

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2007
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It is like "Tomato" and "Tomahto" :)

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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I never did know the difference - thanks.



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 4:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 4:38 PM ET
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ETA:  Some Chick Lit purists may say that because the Plum books are told in the third person, that means they aren't chick lit.

All the Stephanie Plum books are in first person.



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 4:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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Lynne, I've really never known how to classify the Plum books..I don't consider them romance yet from what I've heard - and the little I've read- of c hick-lit the goal is self-improvement or overcoming something and well I've given up on Stefanie ever accomplishing anything LOL though I do still enjoy one of her books every so often for the humor and mostly Grandma Mazur! she's my fave along with Ranger..

but so many books appeal to different genres and fall into different genres...I've read christian chick-lit where I swear 90% of the story was the woman wanting a man with maybe 10% of self-realization though I guess since she didnt' start out with 'the man' and was working towards that goal that it makes it more chick-lit. I dunno. and honestly it was one post by one person that soured me on that forum so it's really not fair or right of me to judge the entire forum based on one nasty reply. I mustlve been pms'ing earlier!

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 5:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2005
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Heh.  Great thread.   I tend to agree that I'm not sure the distinction matters much.  Lots of cross over book and authors.

Books that are more purely "chick lit" tends to irratate me because it seems like most of the time the woman in question is about as deep as thimble.  I really can't take 300 pages of self generated angst over being slightly over weight, wrong job, etc, etc. 

Bridget Jones Dairy is a example of annoying (to me) herione in "chick lit".  I was feeling very sorry for Darcy by the end.  (Bridge Jones Diary is based on the storyline from Pride and Predudice, with Darcy being himself and Bridget Jones Elizabeth.  I read a review that it suggested that Darcy ended up somehow really ended up with Kitty in BJD.)

Anyway, I know that romance is filled with annoying (and too stupid to live) heorines.  However, they usually redeem themselves to me by a few spicy scenes, a more clearly defined HEA, and more time spent on the guy/relationship.   Bascially, more reward for the time.  :)

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 5:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
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Totally agree with you, Amy. I suspect the chick lit fans are eager to grab onto Crusie etc. as "one of them" so as to have some really good writers under the umbrella. :-\ (It can't be romance, it's good! *rolls eyes*.)  Not that there isn't good chick lit, but the ubiquitous shallow heroines and perky narrative styles tend to annoy the heck out of me too. Great comment about Darcy really ending up with Kitty in the BJD books.

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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ETA:  Some Chick Lit purists may say that because the Plum books are told in the third person, that means they aren't chick lit.

All the Stephanie Plum books are in first person.

Thanks Allie!  It's been a few years since I read a book in this series, and I really thought that they were in third person.  Obviously I was wrong LOL.

I occasionally get the itch to read a chick lit book.   But I read one and the itch goes away again  - for a long time.  Some have been pretty good.  I really like the Pink Carnation series, which is partially chick lit.   I agree with Amy that the heroines in chick lit tend to get annoying.  



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 8:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2009 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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Is Susan Elizabeth Phillips considered  chick lit?

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I've always considered SEP to be romance..that's where I find her in the used bookstore though come to think of it I DID see a couple of Crusie's at the edge of woment's fiction with the chick lit stuff or near it..but others were in the romance and some had the same titles as these...

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
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.



Last Edited on: 7/2/10 12:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/29/2009 6:44 PM ET
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I heard an NPR interview with Nora Roberts a few months ago... the interviewer asked why romance gets so little respect, and she said because it's written by women for women.

My guess is that the chick lit folks want to define chick lit as books written by women for women that deserve respect. :)

Date Posted: 11/29/2009 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
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Crusie, at least her older stuff, is most definitely romance.  Heck, she started out writing for the Loveswept and Harlequin Tempation lines!  I've read very few of her more recent stuff but, what I've read I would definitely classify as romance.

I don't see a huge difference either. 

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