Write Your Own Chick Lit

I found a spectacularly bad (or good, if you like) example of Chick Lit in the book box at work the other day.

By the way, according to Wikipedia – you’ve got to love that site! – Chick Lit is comprised of “stylish female protagonists, usually in their twenties and thirties, in urban settings (usually London or Manhattan), and follows their love lives and struggles in business (often in the publishing, advertising, public relations or fashion industry). The books usually feature an airy, irreverent tone and frank sexual themes. ….. Variations have developed to appeal to specific audiences, such as Christian Chick Lit, Mom Lit (aka Hen Lit), Young Adult Chick Lit (also Teen Lit)….”

It’s worth adding that the women in these books are also, for the vast majority of the time, white, educated, middle-class and stoically, monogamously heterosexual.

Yep. Bet you’re aching to delve into the genre now, aren’t you? Go on, admit it, you want to find the sex scene!

Well, anyway, I was taken in by the book in the book box, believing that it might be a little more than a spectacularly crap example of the genre for the simple reason that the cover wasn’t pink. Oh, how wrong I was.
The blurb – which was written in a pink font, so I was wrong twice – was, to misquote Eddie Izzard, the cutting edge of Mom Lit in an extraordinarily boring way…

I can’t remember the blurb as such, but that’s ok; I’m just going to make a couple up, add a few [insert information here]’s and sit back, waiting for people’s attempts to flood in. Or maybe I’ll just laugh at myself. Who knows?

Blurb 1:

Curvy [insert “normal-girl” name in this place] used to think life was pretty good. She had a {fantastic/ loving/ considerate} {husband/partner/ best friend} and a {stimulating/ enjoyable/ interesting} job as [insert profession here].
But since Svelte [insert “annoying thin-girl” name in this place] appeared on the scene, all of this has come crashing down, and now Curvy can’t seem to hold on to anything she once had.
As she watches her life slip away, Curvy decides that enough is enough. She embarks on [insert life-changing journey/ experience/ quest here] hoping to solve her problems.
But things aren’t always that simple, and soon Curvy realises that she has her own difficult decisions to make…..

Chick Lit at its most uplifting; Curvy had a modest amount of everything, lost it due to the timely intervention of “Super-bitch” Svelte but in the end discovers that she was making do with second best, and ends up with a much better amount of everything. Woo.

Blurb 2:

Mumsy [insert “gentle older-woman” name in this place] has spent the last 25 years of her life being a perfect and devoted wife and mother for her husband, Mr. Man [insert “generic slightly-older man” name in this place] and their 2/3/4/infinite number of children [insert appropriate number of “middle-class teenage” names here].
But one day, [insert simple chance event here] changes everything.
As Mumsy tries to come to terms with the shocking infidelity/ stupidity/ duplicity of Mr. Man, she realises that the only way to make it is to confront her rival Svelte*, who, as a young, stunning blonde bombshell with 34DD breasts and a designer wardrobe that would make a WAG green with envy, is everything that Mumsy is not.
Svelte has a fight on her hands, though, as she realises that Mumsy might not be as sweet and cuddly as she looks.
And when the new, improved, toned, tucked, tightened and fully made-up Mumsy is revealed, Other Man [insert another “generic man” name in this place] and Mr. Man both see what Mr. Man had missed. But who will get there first?????
*Yes, Svelte appears in this one too. Well, you wouldn’t want to deviate too far from the chick lit norm now, would you?

Chick lit that not only makes you want to bash your head against a brick wall, it makes you want to build the wall first!

Ok. So. There are your blurbs.
These are the generalisations.

Girl will think herself perfectly content in her insular little world until something life-changing happens. She’ll have been surviving peacefully on a diet of take-aways on a friday night, cuddles and pyjamas in bed, and a vague, gnawing sense of confusion.
This something is always Another Girl, who will always be a “sex-goddess” skilled enough to put every hooker out of business, only far too up herself to try unless she sees a challenge and/or career advancement. She will, essentially, be a “bigger, better” version of Girl.
Another Girl will “steal Girl’s man” in a way that would “make you ashamed to be a woman” – cue gratuitious sex-scene (well, it wouldn’t involve Girl at this point, would it? She’s still curled up in her cosy pyjamas with a mug of hot chocolate, wondering where “Her Man” could be!)
There will be a long, messy, drawn out competition between Girl and Another Girl, with each attempting to outdo the other. Of course, because of the vast amount of love that Girl still has for Her Man, despite his massive cock-ups (usually fairly literally!), her determination to get him back is greater than Another Girl’s determination to keep him – a desire which only lasts until the next great shag / promotion anyway.
And so Girl beats Another Girl on her own territory, becoming even bigger and even better than her own “bigger, better” rival.
And story number 1 will pay lip service to common sense, with Girl telling Her Man that now she could have him back, she realises that he is a knob and not worth fighting for, and she is about to run off into the sunset with Another Man, who is himself “bigger and better” than Her Man. Her Man realises the error of his ways and lives sadly ever after. Another Girl loses everything and becomes a nobody, her worst nightmare.
Story number 2 does no such thing, and so Girl will carefully, reluctantly, joyfully let Her Man back into her life, just like it was before, Another Girl is beaten, shamefaced, and learns how silly it was to try to take on Girl like that. Girl and Her Man have a long talk and Her Man promises to be the ideal man from now on. And everybody live happily ever after, maybe even Another Girl.

Right, come on, I’ve written the blurbs, I’ve told you all the stories, now add your names in the proper places, and let’s all write our own chick lit……

Actually, I kind of mean that.
People I know in real life, I’ll buy a drink for the person who comes up with the most entertaining chick-lit blurb! (It has to be from your imagination, though! And I’m not buying Champagne!)


2 Comments on “Write Your Own Chick Lit”

  1. Toby says:

    I’m so tempted to knock up a website which auto generates Chick Lit books… maybe if I get bored.

  2. Kirsten says:

    Off topic- We NEED to get hold of this magazine-
    Marie Berry, KnockBack’s 25-year-old editor, is blunt when she explains why she and her contributors decided to start a feminist magazine. “We don’t read women’s magazines. They’re shit,” she says. “We write KnockBack because, fuck, someone had to.”

    And we should get them to employ us.


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