Monday, November 01, 2010

Ten steps to write a chick-lit novel

1. Start with a heroine. She has to be thin and have other characters tell her from time to time that she is pretty. So that readers know that inspite of her modesty, she *is* attractive.
1a) Heroine could have been fatter/uglier before current time - this opens possibilities for adding dimensions to heroine's character.
1b) Heroine has to be a sweet little innocent thing. But most importantly, she is also "endearingly" stupid. Foolish women look a lot more convincing as damsels in distress.
1c) Heroine is grown-up physically only (can be anywhere in her 20s). Mental age is about 3.5 years with generous doses of selfishness, self-centeredness and neediness thrown in. All of which only adds to her endearingness.
2. Introduce heroine's female (or gay male) friend/sister who is way more interesting than the heroine and also functions as a responsible adult acting her (his) age. This person is great friends with the heroine. Opposites evidently attract.

3. Put heroine in a situation from which anyone with an IQ greater than -30 could have got themselves out of satisfactorily. Heroine though, should wait with enormous bambi eyes to be rescued.

4. Enter the tall, dark and handsome (or blond, blue-eyed and gorgeous) hero to the rescue. Note: hero should not look like he is rescuing out of a general sense of pity for stupid people. He should be rescuing because he is charmed by the heroine's endearingness (see point 1c above).

5. Heroine starts mooning about hero. Exhibits innocenter and innocenter(read: stupid) behavior. Hero gets more and more charmed.

6. Ominous music - introduce hero's current girlfriend. Current GF is a totally hot, confident, independent and smart woman. Making her the total b*tch.

7. Add episodes showing how hero and current-GF are totally unsuited for each other. Hero obviously did not realize he digs only innocent and helpless (read: stupid) women.

8. Make hero and current-GF break up over some trifle. Note: don't make current-GF look jubilant like she got the luckiest break of her life.

9. Let hero make a move and proclaim undying love for heroine. Let heroine accept endearingly.

10. Hero and heroine should continue proclaiming undying love for each other and sail off into the sunset together.


- ex-boyfriend for heroine. This BF can be used to create the next optional situation.
- in between, allow the hero and heroine to have misunderstandings and then understandings and then make up and continue down the path of true love.
- if the story warrants, pick unbearably smug over endearingly stupid as the heroine. The pretty and thin requirements stay the same.
- throw in conflicts with parents/siblings etc to show why heroine/hero is to be pitied for being such a brave little soldier.

Ugh, ugh, ugh - do most easy-breezy rom-com type novels have to be this annoying and formulaic? Ever since Bridget Jones' Diary came out, most chick-flick novel writers seem to be laboring under the impression that dumb, wishy-washy, immature women constitute the most attractive female species on the planet. Just because it worked once (I loved reading Bridget Jones' diary), it does not mean that the reading public does not want to bean the next self-absorbed twit of a heroine on the head as hard as possible (case in point, Rebecca Bloomwood of the Shopaholic series - ugh ugh ugh).

Serves me right for reading such books, I guess.

p.s. These are NOT M&B books - I have not read M&Bs and never will. These are the supposedly easy-reads written by authors like Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot etc. Not that these are superior to M&Bs or something.


SK said...

Arch! Why in the world are you spending time reading such books?
You know you can stop reading it midway no? :--)

Anita said...

lol. Totally agree

Anonymous said...

ah, yes. Read too much, that am frustrated with the whole thing. Put down pretty well! :)
keep reading ;)

Deeps said...

Love love love this post. This is pretty sad, but I still continue to pick up such books (hoping for something different) - maybe I'm as stupid as those heroines :-D.

Kausum said...

I can so totally see Bella Swan of Twilight as your role model :)

Archana Bahuguna said...

Brilliant work girl! You should direct a movie ... or soaps ... :-)That is your third possible and brilliantly successful career (second is writing) ... :-)

Archana said...

SK - good question! Somehow I feel very guilty about abandoning books midway - so I at least try to skim till the end in the worst case and for these books, even that is awful!

Sindu - :-)

onthedayofcolors - yup, sure will do!

Deeps - ROFL - that is too funny!! But not to worry, that level of stupidity is not achievable by mere mortals... :-P

Kausum - thankfully, have not had the (mis)fortune of reading that series yet.

Archana - hahah - ya, hopefully that will happen someday (at least career #2)