In defence of predictability

Image courtesy of pat138241 /
Image courtesy of pat138241 /

Romance and chick-lit writers get a lot of criticism thrown their way. Trite, frothy, light-hearted, are all words bandied around to diminish the success of authors in these genres. As though in some way reading a book that’s enjoyable makes you stupid. Or the author who chooses to write in this genre immediately gets labelled a ‘poor writer’ because they have consciously chosen to write something that is not serious or cutting edge.

Well, excuse me.

Many readers of these genres are university educated, professionals and some may also consider themselves as (gasp) feminists.

Why I’m making a stand for predictability

I read a recent review where the reviewer criticised the author for being predictable. Now, I get that in some genres, predictability is the kiss of death. Take for instance, suspense or crime fiction. Realising the ending or character’s actions ahead of time can be a huge let-down. In romance and chick-lit, I don’t believe this is the case. In fact, I’m making a stand for predictability in this genre and here’s why:

  • The HEA (Happily Ever After): this particular reviewer commented that it was obvious in the early chapters of this novel that the lead male was going to end up with the lead female. Well, DUH. I know that’s not very articulate of me, but this pretty much says it all. Romance, chick-lit and romantic comedies are founded on the basis that the reader is assured a HEA. The same way the earth orbits the sun, in these genres the lead men and women will always end up together. If that’s not to your taste, it’s possibly time to consider reading another genre…
  • Predictability is reassuring. That’s right, predictability can be enjoyable. Watching the journey of the lead male and female undergo a series of trials and tribulations (when you know deep down they are going to end up together) is a lesson in positive thinking. This shouldn’t be under-rated. When a reader picks up a book, often they are trying to escape the real world and a sense of reassuring predictability can give them hope.
  • Predictability means you can enjoy the ride. This is one of the reasons I just LOVE these genres. It’s like going to a fun park and lining up for the scariest roller coaster. No matter how imposing or terrifying that ride is going to be, you know that you’ll arrive at the end of the ride still alive. You’re there to enjoy the journey. Romance, chick-lit and romantic comedy are the same. I’m interested in enjoying the journey: getting to know the characters, discovering what antics they are going to get up to, or what hurdles they’ll face. And it’s all completely fine and dandy, because I know that it’s going to work out alright in the end.

Romance, chick-lit and romantic comedy: it’s our little secret

Critics would have you believe we’re deluded. Smart women reading fiction about relationships, sex, sometimes heartwarming, sometimes humourous, with guaranteed happy endings.

Readers of these genres know the truth though. We realise it’s a best kept secret.

Bobbi Dumas writing for Kirkus sums it up eloquently, ‘I sincerely believe romance novels can help women feel uplifted, inspired and empowered.’

Do you agree? And are you an advocate for predictability in romance and chick-lit fiction?


For the full article by Bobbi Dumas (it’s worth a read), click on the link below:

Let’s Talk Romance, Kirkus Reviews

The chick-lit debate: light doesn’t have to mean stupid

2 Replies to “In defence of predictability”

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