Almost two years ago I started Women’s Fiction Writers (WFW) because these things were true.
1. I write novels for women about women’s lives, but I do not write romance.
2. There was no place online for like-minded writers and authors or to discuss these works.
What I didn’t know was also true, was that controversy about what I called Women’s Fiction bubbled under the surface and spilled onto the floor. Some don’t like the label Women’s Fiction because there’s no Men’s Fiction label. Some don’t like the label Women’s Fiction because the common misconception is that it simply means fiction for women, including romance. Some don’t like the label Women’s Fiction simply because they enjoy being contrary. Others don’t want anyone to think their books are more appealing to women than men.
Frankly, I have no problem with my work being called Women’s Fiction, although I also gravitate toward the term Book Club Fiction. I have no problem with the fact that THE GLASS WIVES will likely appeal to more women than men. I know I write with women readers in mind. That’s not an accident. Why would that bother me? I am a woman after all and I enjoy books that explore women’s families, relationships, lives, and worlds. I honestly don’t care what someone calls it, as long as she (or he) reads it. And I realize that a book cover with tea/coffee cups is geared to women readers. YAY FOR WOMEN READERS! YAY WOMEN’S FICTION! YAY WOMEN’S FICTION WRITERS, AUTHORS, SUPPORTERS, FRIENDS!
Why focus on the negative when there is so much that’s good about books for and about women?
No matter what you call it, there’s usually something brewing around the idea of Women’s Fiction and the latest brouhaha was the fact that Romance Writers of America has tightened its rules and disallowed the inclusion of anything other than straight-up romance categories in its contests and in its chapters. And you know what? They can do that! The problem for me ensued when the RWA-Women’s Fiction Chapter realized it had to change its mission statement of serving Women’s Fiction writers to serving Romance Focused Writers.
Many of us no longer belonged. Me included.
So there’s a new organization starting up. Right now it’s just an email loop but the Founding Team is working on the legalities of a brand spanking new non-for-profit, professional organization called:
Is there a clear definition of Women’s Fiction? No. And that’s okay. The Founding Team (of which I am not a member) is striving for this organization to be inclusive, not exclusive, but inclusive within the realm of Women’s Fiction.
The email loop, at this point, is the place for very lively banter about what is women’s fiction and what is it not. It’s where participants are sharing Women’s Fiction projects and writing goals, query angst, and writing craft questions and conversation. What this email loop is not, is a place for promotion. That’s right—until the kinks are worked out and the guidelines have been set, no one is promoting his or her own blog posts or books. BIG NEWS will be shared, but the loop moderators are doing a fabulous job at keeping the group focused.
Think this sounds like something you might like?
Here’s the official word from the Founding Team Leader:
“The need is for an organization dedicated to women’s fiction. Whether the stories are contemporary or historical; literary or commercial; include a dash of romance, a heap of romance or none at all; the stories all have one common thread—they are about a woman’s emotional journey.
A new organization—Women’s Fiction Writers Association—is being launched to fill the need. It will be an inclusive community of career-focused women’s fiction writers with networking, education and support at every step in their career path.”
To join the email loop and be part of the conversation, contact Laura Drake at Laura_drake1123 [@] yahoo [dot] com
I am thrilled with how this blog—WFW—has evolved and the community it has created. But I’m also thrilled for the chance to be part of something new and different. Nothing will change here. I think it will all just get better!
I was on the Board of Directors of RWA-WF and will be proud to be a founding member of WFWA. In the future I know I’ll be involved, volunteer, and maybe even run for a position on the Board of Directors or chair a committee.
But for now, I’m just part of the conversation.
I hope you will be too.