Students Say What? · Teaching's in my DNA

Chick Lit Dilemmas

1Leisu2More “back of the book cover” plot ideas from my beginning writing students. As you will see, relationship dilemmas predominate. As well as those so-fun-to-write (but terrible-to-live-through) Girl Wars.

Entice the browsing reader, I said. Snare buyers with a catchy title. Promise a roller coaster ride.

So they did. What do you think?

  • Love at Second Sight

Bella has tried almost every dating tactic imaginable, from blind dates to sketchy dating websites. She’s almost ready to give up, until her high school sweetheart comes back into her life. The problem? He’s engaged to Bella’s old high school rival! It’s not long until before old feelings begin to rush back. But is pursuing the man of her dreams worth enduring the wrath of her old enemy?

  • Time to Get a Boyfriend

Brook wasn’t the hottest of girls. She wasn’t the ugliest of girls either. She had refrained from having a boyfriend for four long miserable years. She had always been the antisocial nerd. But Brook didn’t care what her parents said. She was a sophomore now, not a little middle schooler. She wanted to be like all the other girls. Brook decided to forget about her grades and focus on more important things. Like boys.

  • Claude the Fraud

Mazy Woods is considered a certified loser at Edge Brooke High School. But she might have a change to change all that when she finds out that Claude DuPont, the most popular guy in school, is keeping a big secret–a secret that would be the biggest scandal ever.

Will Mazy keep it to herself and let the school find out for themselves? Or will she expose Claude’s horrifying secret, making her, for once, accepted by her fellow students?

  • Spoiled Gems

Jewel came downstairs and saw her parents sitting at the table. She sat at her favorite pink seat and took a sip of her Starbucks.

“Ugh, what is this terrible drink? Are you trying to poison me, Mother?’ Jewel said.

“What’s wrong, Princess? Isn’t that your favorite drink?” her mother asked.

“No! My favorite is an iced venti triple shot espresso with 2% milk. This is an iced venti triple shot with fat free milk. Fat free, Mom, are you calling me fat?”

“Not at all, my darling,” she replied.

“Gosh. I told you not to marry a blonde, Dad,” Jewel said.

* * *

And now for the reveal. They are, from the top: girl, guy, girl, guy.

15 thoughts on “Chick Lit Dilemmas

  1. Laura, this post should come with a warning not to read it while sipping hot coffee. My mouth burns and this was so funny in many ways, quite insightful. Love the precision of the male take in title four. That kid has some good observation skills!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun these were to read! By writing the back of the cover for the book BEFORE writing the story, your students are well on their ways to writing well. This intrigues me, as one day, I hope to try fiction on for size. So, your high school class is “how to write chick lit?” Oh, how things have changed…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Denise, wait until you see what’s next: Sci Fi. The expressions on the girls’ faces … oh my! Another opportunity to step out of the Safe Zone with storytelling. Thanks so much for following along. 🙂

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  4. I would say it’s an easy class to teach, except that I’ve had to learn writing through doing it, year after year. And grading student papers has taught me to be more ruthless with editing my own work. 🙂

    Basically, I’m giving permission to step out and try stuff (along with guided instruction). The students take it from there, and as the school year progresses they improve.

    I should also mention that our school’s English curriculum is more demanding than most, and fiction writing class offers a sense of freedom. But not from grammar and punctuation!

    On Friday I shared this bit from Ira Glass with my first year students (the ones doing the chick lit). What Glass says is a lot.

    “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

    ― Ira Glass

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  5. The only way I can watch the 2005 P & P is to tell myself it’s just a movie – it’s not P & P. There is so much wrong with it that I could write a complete paper about it. My younger daughter actually did, and she received an “A.” The professor agreed with her.

    The best way to improve your writing is to write more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many younger women love this version, in part due to their age and life experience. And because of the actors and the beautiful vistas. The Heathcliffe Darcy (which is what I call him) is appealing to those who have not read Austen’s work.

      And Robin, isn’t “It’s only a movie” what one says during a horror flick? Uh-huh.

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