Chic Lit versus Romance.

Love Stories versus Romance. 

Why is there a difference?  Why is it important to be clear about what we are reading and what we like? 

What I title as Chic-lit is usually called women’s fiction.  It is stories that tend to be geared towards the female population. These stories are also going to be shelved at books stores and Libraries with Fiction.   They can encompass a plethora of different story lines, but one of the main components for it versus regular fiction tends to be the relationship, not always romantic ones.  Many Women’s fiction stories the relationship provides comic or story line relief.  It provides a built-in character for the main character to talk to or vent to about the main antagonist of the story. 

Over the course of my adult reading I have read my fair share of Women’s Fiction.  Many fiction writers try to elevate their stories by not including romantic engagements because of this choice it is often difficult for me to connect with the story.  Many pure fiction writers do not want to be associated with the Romance Genre at all.

In a Romance Novel the main component of the book is the relationships.  ALL the relationships not just the one of the main characters.  Romance is more than just two people getting together and having sex. It is about the path to love.  The obstacles they must overcome to be together. Once an author embraces the love and relationships there is a deeper connection to the story. If you remove the relationships from the story there is no story. These two people are solely in each other’s orbit to be together.   

Recently I have heard some people to term Romance Novels as Love Stories.  While yes, a Romance Novel is a love story not all love stories are romance.  As fan and reader of pure romance stories I think we are diluting the genre by calling them love stories.  There is a place for love stories but in my opinion just not in the Romance World.  Love Stories belong to the Women’s Fiction Genre.  There are softer romances that don’t have to have all the angst and steam to them and those belong to Romance because at the end of the day without the relationship they’re isn’t a story.   The relationship of the 2 coming together is the key piece in the story. In a love story it is more about the journey of two.  In a romance the focus is the relationship, how they get there, what they must overcome and the connection but at the end of the day the main focus is the Relationship.  In a love story the focus seems to be on the two individual journey and what finally brings them together.  It is a more personal growth story. At the end of the day if you remove the relationship would you still get to the same ending? 

The reason I write this is for the purpose of support to the romance genre.  I worry that if we start to dilute the genre, we are not going to get the same quality stories we have come to expect.  I also fear authors might sensor themselves to fit into a more acceptable genre like Chic-Lit.  I have always unapologetically loved romance.  I am not afraid to talk about the steamy sexy stories.  I am not afraid to recommend to others that they might live this angsty bully romance.  There is value in these stories.  Even if it just provides an escape from the dumpster fire that is our current world.  So please authors continue to write ROMANCE.  Don’t feel you have to sensor yourself and write softer love stories so that they are more acceptable.  I have left the tea room and parlor and am totally in for the sex dungeon.