About the author, Meredith Schorr: A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After dabbling in children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real chick lit for real chicks.” When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. She also loves to read and is always on the lookout for her new favorite author. A State of Jane is her second novel.
“The Future of Chick Lit”
Chick lit has come a long way since the surge in the late 90s. Common aspects to most books back then included an obsession with designer shoes and handbags, a boss from hell, a gay best friend and a tendency to over indulge in fancy cocktails. While many recent releases still include one or more of these elements, the chick lit heroine has matured over the years both from an emotional standpoint and a chronological one. Chick lit protagonists are no longer put to pasture once they hit 30 and not all of them are single and looking for Mr. Right. Some are married, some are mothers and some are in menopause! I think one reason the age-range of our main characters has broadened is because many of the stereotypes of how women are supposed to behave after 30 or 40 have been proven wrong. Women are getting married and having children later in life than even twenty years ago. Since women are more likely to have careers of their own, finding a husband to support them is less of an issue than it used to be. And as my friend Alan advised me, back when he was young, getting married was the only sure-fire way to an active sex life. Not anymore. Almost any woman or man can walk into a bar these days with the sole intention of getting laid and achieve his/her goal. For better or worse, many people do not want to commit to one sexual partner for the rest of their lives. As a result, many women 35 and older are experiencing some of the same dating drama as their younger sisters. Women look better and feel better at a more mature age than we used to. Forty is the new thirty! I believe these changes in society will continue to be reflected in the books that are written.
The reason chick lit heroines are less likely to obsess over superficial or materialistic things could, in my humble opinion, be a result of the suffering economy. While chick lit is often a means of escape for readers, I think for the most part that readers would rather immerse themselves in the world of someone relatable as opposed to living vicariously in some fantasy world. There are, of course, exceptions to this and the paranormal frenzy certainly puts my “realistic” theory to shame. However, based on the books I’ve read lately that have been categorized as “chick lit”, the trend is definitely leaning toward relatable as opposed to farfetched. Realistic with a happy ending of course
Although I’ve tried to stop listening, I often hear through the grapevine that big New York City editors continue to consider “chick lit” by that or any other name a dead genre. This lends itself to a rather bleak future for those authors wishing to pursue publication of their chick lit manuscripts only through the traditional path of attaining a literary agent to shop the Big 6 publishers. Without connections, impeccable timing and luck or a huge existing platform, it will probably be very difficult. I’ve heard from my peers at Chick Lit Writers of the World that many of them have even taken to revising their chick lit manuscripts to fall more squarely into romance or young adult in order to make their books more sell-able. For those authors open to pursuing other means of publication, whether small press (like myself) or self-publishing, however, I believe the future of chick lit is a bright one. To modify the famous quote “if you build it, they will come” from one of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, “If you write it, they will come,” because it’s not the readers who have labeled chick lit “dead”, it is the gatekeepers. As long as authors continue to write fun, lighthearted, chick lit stories, readers looking for that type of story, and there are a lot of them, will find us.
These are my guesses with respect to the future of chick lit as a genre, but only time will tell if I’m right!
To be continued…
**Buy “A State of Jane!”