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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Hen Lit - Humor or Not?

This is more of a question than a reflection, but I'm confused and hope my hen litters can help shed light on this for me before I lose my everloving mind.

Okay. Chick lit is full of humorous passages and fun to read. I figured hen lit to be about the same only with older protags.

I had started writing a book (Over the Hill) and when I found out about the hen lit genre, I made sure that I followed the rules. The book came in at 80,000 words so it's basically good to go.

One by one, the agents request the partial and one by one, they turn it down.


So, I figure something is wrong with the first chapter...not a thing is mentioned about any road trip and that's basically what this book is all about.

So, I'm rewriting the first chapter, no problem. Or, so I thought.

I was over at eHarlequin this morning, reading the excerpts from the books they have out in the NEXT line. Is it early morning or am I just not finding humor in any of these? Egads, you know?

I've written an 80,000 word book for what?

Oh, but there's more. In checking out the titles, there is a dang book about a road trip! As in, oh my god. Is someone upstairs trying to tell me something?

Not only did someone already write a book about three older protags going on this road trip, as if that wasn't enough to make me want to eat a whole box of white creamy melt-in-your-mouth donuts in one sitting and down it with a two-litre of pepsi along with two packs of cigarettes, I find no humor whatsoever in the excerpts on the site.

Maybe I should stick to writing about soul mates...groan....at least I know what I'm doing.

Okay, can anyone shed any light on this? I know, I know, just write and don't worry about everything else, but what do I do when it's already written and there's another book out there similiar in the same genre no less, plus there's no hint of anything in it being humorous (I could be wrong...I'm just going by the excerpt on the site). Did five months of my life go down the drain in writing it? What's it going to do...sit in a file for years just like the thousand other projects I've started and forgotten or canned or just chalked it up to practice????


posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Tuesday, August 09, 2005


  1. At Tuesday, August 09, 2005, Blogger Liz Wolfe said…

    Dorothy, I don't think you need to worry about other books that include a road trip. The thing is that what happens to your characters on their road trip will be totally different from what happens to other writer's characters on their road trip.
    As for the humor, I don't know. I've always assumed that there would be humor in a henlit just as there is in a chicklit.
    I don't have an answer for you. Just don't drive yourself nuts over it.


  2. At Tuesday, August 09, 2005, Blogger Dorothy said…

    Thanks, Liz. Man since I talked to you last, I've rewritten my first chapter three times and I'm so confused. I'm really stressing over this and then I read about this other road trip book. You make a lot of sense, though. I've just gotten the "sorry ma'am but we already have something like that" a million times. I'm going for it anyway I guess.


  3. At Wednesday, August 10, 2005, Blogger Kathy Holmes said…

    Dorothy - I agree - don't worry about the similarities - they're probably not as alike as you think. Another writer has a submission at NEXT with "Red" in the title (as does mine) and has an adoption subplot (as does mine.)

    But what you say about NEXT is exactly what I've been saying. The stories have older protags (30+) and are about a woman's journey but where's the chick lit voice? That's what "hen lit" is supposed to be about. Somehow the voice is getting lost amidst the focus on age and journey.

    The good news is, though, NEXT is open to a wide variety of books so here's hoping they'll be open to ours too.


  4. At Wednesday, August 10, 2005, Blogger Dorothy said…

    You made a real good point, Kathy. At least it IS open to a woman's journey and doesn't have to be humorous. It's just confusing. And yet on the other hand, it opens itself up to even more submissions, so that's a good thing.


  5. At Saturday, August 13, 2005, Blogger Lynn said…

    Seems to me that humor is sorely needed in henlit. I wouldn't just base it on romance fiction. Take a look out at the broader world. "Revenge of the Middle Age Woman" and books like that aren't afraid of humor. I say go with your strengths. You may be sending things out to people with a very limited view. Try agents who do mainstream books. Just my opinion. (BTW, I plan on doing a humorous book myself.)
    And road trips are very common. I wouldn't worry about that at all.



  6. At Saturday, August 13, 2005, Blogger Dorothy said…

    Lynn, you say send the mss to agents that are more mainstream...you mean not limit it to chick/hen lit agents?


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