Genre Basics - Women's Fiction - article

Women’s fiction is geared towards, you guessed it: women. That it’s read mostly by women isn’t exactly rocket science, right? A lot of this fiction is also popular with high-school girls, thus crossing age ranges. The books are usually mainstream fiction, but a popular sub-genre of women’s fiction is the romance novel. Romance is considered a separate genre, with a female audience, too, so it fits nicely in this category. Like most fiction, manuscripts are typically between 65-80K words. 

Women’s fiction almost always has a strong female protagonist. She is flawed, yes, but she is still the heroine of the novel. There is often, but not always, a love interest, which could be the main storyline or play a more minor role. There is also usually another female character, though she isn’t necessarily the antagonist. 

The women’s novel tends to draw out the reader’s emotions of love and sadness, or the need to befriend and protect, perhaps more so than other genres. Often this emotional tug is not even related to the love sub-plot; there might be a death or other type of a struggle that the woman is dealing with. 

Writers are men and women. Think of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. These are two examples of extremely popular writers of women’s fiction. They write stories that are emotional, have women as central figures, and are popular among female readers. They, and a host of other writers, are identified as women’s fiction authors.

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