CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

NYT Best Seller JODI THOMAS on WOMEN'S FICTION



The first writers’ group that I belonged to back in my writing infancy days was the Panhandle Professional Writers in Amarillo, Texas. It was there I tried my fledgling wings and first heard of romance writer Jodi Thomas. In the ensuing years, Jodi has been on numerous bestseller lists, won three Rita awards, been inducted in the RWA Hall of fame and spread her wings too—into the genre of women’s fiction.

The room was packed at the OWFI conference (see my previous post) when Jodi spoke on women’s fiction. Since that’s my chosen genre, I paid particular attention. She shared some interesting facts about and distinctions of women’s fiction.
  • Women’s fiction, which is often called mainstream fiction, is one of the fastest growing genres—a $28 billion per year market.
  • The appeal of women’s fiction is based on the premise that women bond strong and hard.
  • It makes the reader laugh and cry, often on the same page, and tugs at the heartstrings.
  • It explores depth in relationships that can’t be shown in romance
  • The woman is the star of the story—The way she changes IS the story.
  • Not always contemporary. Can often be in a slightly different time period.

    Some writing tips for women’s fiction:

  • Research: Always try to walk the land where the story is set. Interview locals. Visit shops where interesting gossip and social issues may give your story a new twist.
  • Read and ANALYZE many types of women’s fiction to find your niche.
  • Think of yourself as an explorer. Step out and learn new things. Develop a hunger for “the story.”

    Jodi’s recent releases in this genre are Twisted Creek and Rewriting Monday. They’re worth checking out.

One of the opportunities at the OWFI conference is the “Take a speaker to lunch” feature. A couple of my fellow Tulsa Night Writers and I invited Jodi and the Amarillo attendees to meet us. At a table for nine, we had the opportunity to learn more about Jodi Thomas. What a treat! She’s very gracious and willing to share her experiences and expertise. Thanks, Jodi, for a delightful lunch. Also waving to my Amarillo buddies—Phyllis Miranda and Natalie Bright. Seeing them all and hearing them talk my language makes me homesick for Texas.

Next up, I’ll be sharing about a session presented by another Texan with very close ties to Jodi Thomas. Hope you’ll stop back by and join me.

Out of curiosity—are any of you readers of women’s fiction? What authors do you like? Can’t wait to hear your answers.

3 comments:

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, I'm so glad to hear that WF is growing! Someone told me recently it was a down market.

Sounds like you had a great time at OWFI. Why am I surprised? You always make the best connections!!!

Koala Bear Writer said...

Thanks for sharing the tips from the conference. I like the point that "the woman is the star of the story - the way she changes IS the story." Something to think about while I'm working on some of my novels...

carla stewart said...

Myra, I'm with you. I hope this is really true about women's fiction. No doubt all inspirational fiction is needed in today's world.

Koala friend, I like this point, too. I think sometimes we try to overthink our writing and pack too many genres into one book. A woman's journey can be so many things. Hope your writing is going well.