Friday, May 18, 2012

What the Experts Say: Transitioning from Category Romance to Women’s Fiction by Joyce DeBacco

There was a time when women’s fiction was synonymous with bodice rippers. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Although romance is still a large part of our reading material, women today want more from their fiction. With more women in the workforce now, either by choice or necessity, our reading time is understandably limited. While it’s fun to occasionally indulge in a fluffy romance, many women prefer to read what’s relevant to them. It’s the reason little girls want dolls that reflect their ethnicity or coloring. And, because we’re strong women, we don’t always want the female to follow the male’s lead; we can think for ourselves. On the other hand, sometimes we want to be taken care of. It’s a fine balance.

It’s not hard to figure out from my writing that my preference is for women’s fiction. Although at one time, I tried my hand at category romance in order to submit to the popular romance publishers of the day, I just couldn’t adhere to the publisher’s strict requirements as to length or timing. I didn’t want my hero and heroine to meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after according to some arbitrary formula. I wanted to do it my way.

Of course, at the heart of any good women’s fiction is authenticity, and family dynamics is an important part of my fiction. One of the greatest compliments an author can get is when a reader says their characters seem like real people. As mothers, we’ve all dealt with a toddler’s temper tantrum or a teen’s rebellion. And it’s the rare woman who hasn’t experienced sibling rivalry or mother-daughter issues. The characters in my books face these problems as well. They may not always say the right thing at the right time, but that’s what makes it real. It’s also why some of my characters are well-educated and some are not; some are professionals and some are not. They’re a microcosm of society. The important thing is that they’re all motivated by their love of home and family.

In the end, women’s fiction is about life. As wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, we strive to keep our home lives and professional lives separate. When they do overlap, we do the best we can to blend them; multi-tasking has always been part and parcel of a woman’s life, from pioneer days to the present. Today’s woman can be the head of a corporation or the head of a family, and women’s fiction has evolved to reflect that. Today the hand that rocks the cradle is just as apt to rock the business world. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Joyce DeBacco

After reading women’s fiction for many years, Joyce knew she wanted to create stories of her own. As the mother of four grown daughters, she’s familiar with the problems women face finding love, raising children, and stepping back when necessary. While raising her daughters, she also ran the office of her husband’s sub-contracting business, so she’s quite familiar with multi-tasking. She is happiest when she’s secluded in her office creating new worlds and people to populate them. When she’s not taxing her brain with plot, structure, and grammar, she likes to sew, particularly quilts. When she really wants to rest her brain, she sprawls out in front of the TV and tries not to fall asleep. Please visit her website, for information about her books, one of which was named Best Indie Romance of 2011 at Red Adept Reviews.

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