Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Chick Lit Guide to Writing a Novel by Alicia de los Reyes

Chick lit - a genre I think sometimes gets a bad rap from the days of $.05 novels at the grocery story check-out. But that is a mistake! Chick-lit is not a novel covered in a half-naked man or woman groping at each other in a sunset of pink and purple - that's smut. Chick-lit is the basis for movies like 27 Dresses, The Devil Wears Prada, or It's Complicated; "novels with entertaining storylines and characters who are flawed but funny — and, yes, who occasionally romp in the bedroom or kiss in the park. Chick lit is the romantic comedy of books. It can be thoughtful, provocative or just plain fun" (Reyos).

Alicia de los Reyes has put together a guide to take a lover of Chick-lit from reader to writer in only 30-minutes a day. Yep, 30-minutes a day. And it can be done. I'm currently in the middle of writing my own Chick-Lit novel and that's about how much time I devote to it because I have this horrible thing called a full-time job.

Each chapter outlines a separate writing focus starting with the obvious of "Getting Started" to more intricate chapters like "The Man" or writing advice of "First vs Third Person."

Her no-nonsense approach to the ingredients of a Chick-Lit novels reads like a simple grocery shopping list:

  1. A flawed main character with an unfulfilled dream
  2. A mysterious main man
  3. A plot that escalates
  4. A happy ending that includes kissing the mysterious man and fulfilling the secret dream
Easy right? She goes on to prove this scenario is well-loved (and well sold) with chick lit novel examples like Bridget Jones's Diary and Confessions of a Shopaholic. I confess my own chick-lit work in progress follows this outline.

Each chapter contains writing exercises to get your creative mind working from simply identifying the aspects of a chick-lit novel you already love to actually outlining a bio of the main character - what color is her hair? Her eyes? Her skin? What kind of clothes does she wear? and so on. These seem simple, but within the writing of your novel, you must be able to picture each character - they are not living only on the page, but also in your world - alive and real.

Overall, the guide develops the necessary ingredients to start a rookie writer on the path to creating something others might want to spend an evening with.

The Chick-Lit Guide to Writing a Novel is currently in ebook format published by KMR Publishing. Their website is currently under construction, but can be found here: KMR Publishing.

You can also find The Chick-Lit Guide on Tumblr:  http://chicklitcookbook.tumblr.com

I admit, my only request to the author is a better cover photo - the young woman drawn here looks scared to death and while writing is not for the faint of heart, there is joy in every word.

Buona Lettura! (Happy Reading!)

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