A chick, in my book, is a baby chicken covered in downy, yellow feathers up until the age of 6-weeks. I’ve always bristled when the term is applied to young women, and I have always subconsciously disassociated myself from Chick lit, believing the genre to be driven by scantily clad, sex-driven female main characters. I couldn’t have been more wrong and, although I’m not a fan of categories, it’s time to reassess the genre I think I’ve been writing in.
I have just received my first rejection for Just Say It this week. It’s only my first since revamping the manuscript, so I’m not lying down in a darkened room, yet.
‘I’m afraid I did not feel enthusiastic enough about your work to offer the necessary commitment, so I regret it is not something I could successfully handle.’
There are many things to think about when submitting to a literary agent, and choosing the right one is so important. It is also a challenge. I’ve been so focussed on who they represent and what they are currently looking for, that I’ve lost sight of what I’ve been trying to sell them. And, you know what? I think has the proverbial penny has just dropped.
Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction?
I’ve been pitching Just Say It as Women’s Fiction, which may well is my first mistake. If I were to liken my MC to any other famous fictional character, it would be Helen Fielding’s, Bridget Jones, which was published under the genre of Chick Lit.
Just Say It, is without a doubt, Chick Lit. It is my first novel, and I know I still have much to learn. So what do I need to do to stimulate more enthusiasm? What do I have to do to get an agent to love my manuscript and spark their commitment to offering representation? Literary agents have read everything, so they are understandably hard to please. Pitching Just Say It under the right genre might be a good place to start.
Chick lit or chick literature is genre fiction, which “consists of heroine-centered narratives that focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists”. The genre often addresses issues of modern womanhood – from romantic relationships to female friendships to matters in the workplace – in humorous and lighthearted ways. Wikipedia
Between freelance assignments, Lisa started writing a novel called They Always Look at the Mother First. She told Adele that it was ‘a work of fiction’, as well as ‘a satirical trip down therapy lane.’
JUST SAY IT © 2020 TESSA BARRIE
So, what audience am I trying to appeal to? Am I delusion in thinking Just Say It would appeal to a younger age group? The story starts in 1957 and finishes in 2002. One editor suggested that I added a short glossary of the ‘factual aspects’ of the story during the 50s and 60s. I am a 1950’s baby, but I still had to research events that happened before I reached adulthood.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE?
So maybe, Just Say It is Chick Lit for the over Fifties? A trip down memory lane for those of us who were teenagers in the Seventies, which homes in on romantic relationships, female friendships, to women in the workplace, in a humorous and lighthearted way. In 2018, Cindy Roesel asked the question – Never too old to be a chick? Her conclusion…
‘Right now, while I complete the sequel to my first novel, the goal is to finish the book, so I’m not focused on any of the character’s ages. We are beyond that. At this point, everyone seems to be at their perfect stage of “chickdom” and womanhood.’ Cindy Roesel.
You’re Never Too Old to be a Chick!
After all, us older chicks, are wiser chicks. Right? Well, we have a larger memory bank to draw from, because we’ve been around for longer and, you know what? We might even have been a little bit hip, back in the day.
Maybe the novel in the mix, The Secret Lives of the Doyenne of Didsbrook, will be the one to spark an agent’s interest? I’m quite clear about it being a Murder Mystery genre, even if it is a spoof, but it is a heroine-centred narrative.