by Anna Bell
I hate the word predictable, it gets branded around like a dirty word in book reviews. I’ll hold my hands up straight away and say that my books are predictable. The leading lady will get herself into a predicament, go on a journey and learn about herself, probably finding herself a leading man along the way, and end up living happily ever after. Sound familiar? It probably describes most chick lit novels. It’s what I love about chick lit. That familiarity, that warm and fuzzy feeling you can almost guarantee you’ll feel know it’s going as you read it. If I wanted unpredictable I’d read a grizzly crime book or a thriller.
For me, reading chick lit is about going on a journey with the main character. I can probably guess where she’s going to end up, but it’s about what happens to her along the way. My absolute favourite chick lit author is Sophie Kinsella. I’m sure from the first few chapters of reading I’ve Got Your Number or Wedding Night you can guess who’s going to end up with who at the end – but for me it’s all about how those characters get to the end.
I think I’d even go so far as to say I don’t like unpredictable chick lit. If it’s a novel where the heroine could end up with one of a few men, I like to think that as the reader we’re given a strong hint as to which one she’s going to pick. There’s absolutely nothing worse than spending four hundred pages reading a book, investing in a character, rooting for her to end up with one man, then a random man steals her heart on the last page. As a hopeless romantic, I want to see the wooing and the build up.
I’m not saying that you can’t have a good shock or surprise in chick lit. I love a good twist and turn as you go along. There are even a few authors that do brilliant twists at the end – Melissa Hill is an author that springs to mind. She has these shock ending with such ease, yet they still give you exactly what you want. I’m in awe to those authors that make those twists at the end work as I think it’s really hard to pull off.
So maybe sometimes I’m predictable, but I’m proud to be so. At least readers know that with me they’ll always get the happily ever after ending that they’re rooting for all the way through.
Anna Bell is the writer of Don’t Tell the Groom and its sequel Don’t Tell the Boss which will be published in June by Quercus. Send her a tweet at @AnnaBell_writes.