How To Tell The Difference Between Chick Lit and Romance


I use the phrases ‘Romance’ and ‘Chick lit’ interchangeably; not because I’m not aware there is a difference but because the difference is so subtle that I usually can’t be bothered to be anal about it.

Today I feel like being a little anal; so here are a couple differences that I have drawn up:


  • Chick Lit tends to have a happy ending. The girl will end up with the right man, no matter what fate tries to throw at them. Romance, on the other hand, could end happily or sadly.
  • The protagonist in a chick lit story will usually be a female; whereas in romance it could be a man or a woman. Heck, it could be a child.
  • Chick lit stories tend to keep things upbeat, light, fun; whereas a romance novel is free to delve into the deepest darkest fears of our hearts.
  • Chick lit novels will usually not surpass 400 pages but a romance can go on and on if it so wishes.


There is a third ‘genre’ which I like to call the ‘Mills and Boons genre’ (cuz that’s how I got introduced to it). This genre can be easily identified by conflict between the heroine and hero, very masculine hero and one or two steamy sex scenes.


Keep writing!

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Oyinkan Braithwaite

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May 2019
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