Select one of the keywords
See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit    by Sarah Mlynowski & Farrin Jacobs order for
See Jane Write
by Sarah Mlynowski
Order:  USA  Can
Quirk, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Well-known authors - Marian Keyes, Helen Fielding, Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, and many others - have made a name for themselves in the chick lit genre by writing fun books about real women. Sure, the heroines of these novels are usually young, living in a big city, and dealing with the ups and downs of relationships, careers and family responsibilities, but that's part of the appeal. Over the past few years, many female readers have discovered chick lit, and with the immense popularity of the genre, a book such as See Jane Write was inevitable.

What surprised me the most about See Jane Write is just how comprehensive the book really is. Although it focuses on a very specific genre that follows its own conventions and comes complete with reader expectations, See Jane Write is so much more than a superficial writing manual. Like your favorite pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes, See Jane Write is beautiful to look at, but also surprisingly comfortable and truly uplifting after you've spent some time with it.

From its brightly-colored cover to its green and pink font and caricature-like illustrations, the book makes it clear that writing chick lit is supposed to be just as much fun as reading it. But what exactly is chick lit, anyway? The authors give us a clear definition in Chapter One. 'Chick lit is often upbeat, always funny fiction about contemporary female characters and their everyday struggles with work, home, friendship, family or love. It's about women growing up and figuring out who they are and what they need versus what they think they want.'

Although it's clear that both Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs (a writer and editor of chick lit, respectively) are big fans of the genre, they don't shy away from dealing with the issue of criticism, either. 'The problem with the term,' they tell us, 'is that many (misguided) people automatically assume that chick lit means a tale about a twenty-something trying to find love in the big city. While that may have been true once, these days chick lit casts a wide net: Stories can be about anything from dating to dealing with death.'

With such fun chapter titles as Getting Back at Your Ex and Other Reasons to Write and How Writing Chick Lit Is Like Dating, it's easy to see how this book would make a writer out of any woman who enjoys reading this fun genre. Although Part One of See Jane Write deals exclusively with chick lit, Part Two moves on to encompass broader aspects of writing. Dealing with themes such as Creating Your Main Characters, Structure and Pacing, and Revisiting and Revising, the lessons the authors offer in the later part of the book can be applied to any form of fiction writing. See Jane Write may look quirky and light, but it packs a wealth of useful information within its pink-tipped pages. Just like a chick lit novel.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews