Friday, January 30, 2015

Judged Entries Due Saturday Jan 31st

That's right everybody!

All judged entries are due back to the GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org
Saturday, January 31st

If you need more time, please contact the coordinator.


CONGRATULATIONS
the
Single Title Romance Judges
who have all finished !


Saturday, January 17, 2015

TOPIC: PACING

Is the story well-paced, or does it seem to lose momentum? Does it have you wanting to turn those pages?

"Whether you’re using fast or slow pacing, things must happen. While description makes the story more vivid, it shouldn’t be what’s happening. If you put people on every page and in every paragraph and have them doing something, pacing will unfold naturally. The more things that happen, the faster the story pace."   Maggie Touissant


Maggie's words are great to judge by. Pacing is about something happening in the story . . . fast OR slow.  If you find yourself reading the entry and you've forgotten to judge it . . .  That's a clear indication that the pacing is right on target.

Too Much Back Story * Jarring Sentences * Inconsentent Information
CAN STOP A READER

That when we mark the confusing passages in the manuscript, then zip down to the scoresheet and give the author page numbers to refererence. Let them know why (or which sentence) affected the stopping & starting.

Need some pacing articles? Try the Romance Univerity blog-- http://romanceuniversity.org/
They have lots of tips and may have exactly the verbiage you need to validate your feeling about the entry.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

~Angi

Friday, January 16, 2015

TOPIC: International Writing Differences

Isn't it amazing we can help writers all over the world reach their potential? Unfortunately, our PCs are not always as friendly.

Some of your entries may have international spellings. Please do not count off for this unless the word reappears and is spelled inconsistently.

In addition, international entries may use one quotation mark (standard in the UK) or leave out the period in formal address words such as Mr., Mrs. and Dr. as is used in the U.S.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

~Angi

Thursday, January 15, 2015

TOPIC: WRITING STYLES

Please keep the following in mind:

QUESTION: I’ve judged entries in various contests where an author wrote “said he”, instead of “he said”. At first I would mark them down and explain the correct way. Then I found out in some countries “said he” is the correct way of writing. I still comment that in America it’s written ‘he said’ and editors and agents may see this as inexperience, but I understand other countries don’t write in the same format as we do. I don’t take off for it, and I tell them I’m not taking off for it. Have you come across this and how would you handle it?

RESPONSE: Subjectivity
Bottom line?  Is it a good story and does the style work in that story.

An author's style and voice are their own. But so is each story. The way a character thinks and acts in one book won't necessarily work in another. Same thing goes for readers...what one likes, another says maybe not so much. Basic grammar rules may be broken if they don't jar the reader from the story. They may even be used to tell a specific story in a specific way.

So authors may use different tags to identify different POVs or characters. But it has to work.

If it's a distraction, then it should be counted down, but please leave a comment about the distraction--not just the gramatically inconsistency.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

~Angi
Angi Morgan                   AngiMorgan.com
                WEST TEXAS WATCHMEN
The Sheriff           The Cattleman            The Ranger 

 JAN                              FEB                             MAR

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TOPIC: POV SHIFTS

QUESTION: Can it be pointed out to the judges that a scene break or blank line or ### is NOT required with each POV shift?
                   
ANSWER: Blank lines are not required with a POV shift.
If they aren't used, we refer to that as a transition.

IF a blank line, * or # is used for the POV shift, there's nothing wrong with this style either.

POV SHIFTS for scoring purposes
If the POV changing (or lack of changing) is distracting you as a reader then there's a problem. Many times as a judge I explain to the contestant that I’m not a POV purist, but “head hopping” is not simple POV shifting. "Head hopping" doesn’t allow the reader time to invest enough emotion with one character before shifting to another POV. It's the author's goal to get me to connect with the storie's characters. If I’m not in the character's POV long enough to connect...then the POV shifting is not working.

IDENTIFIERS that might indicate a POV problem
Point of View that shifts every couple of paragraphs?
There's no rule that says a writer can't do this. (I love to use this tool in a love scene.)
     --BUT, does it jar you from the story?
     --DOES it keep you from investing emotion into the characters?
     --DOES it have you wondering whose POV you're reading?

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

~Angi
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Angi Morgan                                    AngiMorgan.com
                   WEST TEXAS WATCHMEN

The Sheriff           The Cattleman            The Ranger  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TOPIC: WORD OVERUSE

I LOOKED at him.
She LOOKED great.
He had a nasty LOOK in his eyes.
LOOK, there’s the mailman.
Who LOOKED at me?

QUESTION: Where on the score sheet do we comment on words  or proper names being over-used? 

ANSWER:  Let’s consider these "style" issues (unique voice/strong writing style) ... I wouldn't mark an entry down much for overuse of dialogue tags or proper names, but if it's distracting a slight reduction would certainly be appropriate.  Just note that the duplication of words is distracting. 

Try highlighting the use of mirrored or overused words. The highlight will draw attention to the distraction when the author reviews the manuscript. But as for any deduction, always leave a comment as to why. 

NOTE: Some authors use repetition deliberately -- for emphasis, for comedic effect, etc. So, again, only mark down if the repetition genuinely interferes with your ability to read the story.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

~Angi
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Angi Morgan                                    AngiMorgan.com
                   WEST TEXAS WATCHMEN
The Sheriff           The Cattleman            The Ranger 
     JAN                            FEB                         MAR

Monday, January 12, 2015

Young Adult

THE SCORE SHEET
~ ALL SPECIFIC SECTIONS

Most of the opinions on judging and interpreting the questions’ intent are my own words. I’ve only been in the business 15 years and have spoken to many authors, gathering information. A lot of the time when a question is asked, I go to authors who publish in that genre for advice. Please use your own expertise and experience, but keep our humble interpretations in mind. Thanks, Angi

~If you have an additional question regarding your specific category, please send it directly to GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

~Some of the explanations are the same for general questions which require some expected knowledge of the sub-genre. If you require a more in-depth definition of the genre...please send an email for additional information. Additional resources are being posted this week.

~For your convenience we’ve included a description of each category as described on our FINAL EDITORS page.

The Young Adult category entries were emailed 1-13.

*YOUNG ADULT* 
Novels appropriate for young adult readers. Includes young adult heroes and heroines not exceeding 18 years of age. An example is the 2013 RWA RITA winner: THE FARM by Emily McKay.

Need more about what the trends in YA are? Try Romance University
Or how about Publishers Weekly

SPECIFIC TO THE YOUNG ADULT CATEGORY
Possible 20 point total to award, 5 points per question
        Does the main character face his / her problem in a believable manner?
        Does the author capture the dialogue of a young adult romance?
        Is the main character moving toward discovering who he/she is as a person?
        Are the secondary characters necessary, interesting, and believable?

Breaking Down the Questions
        Does the main character face his / her problem in a believable manner?
Young adult manuscripts encompass a wide range of subjects, tones, and styles. Contemporary to historical paranormal, first person or third person, slow and steady or action-adventure. Anything goes. The goal of any manuscript is to provide an excellent book. Please keep the writing in mind.
        Does the author capture the dialogue of a young adult romance?
Dialogue is an important part of any manuscript. Do teens curse? Yes. Do they use slang? Yes. Do you still want the story to flow? Yes. Finding the perfect balance is difficult. The most important thing about dialogue is to convey information, progress the story, and NOT interrupt the reader. If you’re jarred from the story…you might want to verify why. Is it because you can’t understand? Or was it a good shock? Only you as a reader can decide this answer. I like the Writing YA for Dummies dialogue section: “blurt it out.” As in teens often TALK first and THINK second.
        Is the main character moving toward discovering who he/she is as a person?
 “The elements of storytelling are the same for young adult fiction and adult fiction, but writers of young adult fiction must come at those elements with a wholly different mindset. After all, this category has its own rules, its own quirks, and its own very opinionated audience: teens and tweens.” ~ Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies by Deborah Halverson  The main character must overcome their obstacle.
        Are the secondary characters necessary, interesting, and believable?
As with any length and any sub-genre of romance, the secondary characters must have a purpose in the scene. One point to watch out for is if they’re info-dumping. Now, a second character in the room is the perfect way to give the reader information without the POV character just thinking about it. Dialogue is always better (in my humble opinion). A dialogue (or mental note that the secondary character is talking a lot LOL) gives purpose and makes the character necessary.

If you have specific questions regarding this section, please contact GEcoordinator@ntrwa.org.

Additional help tips for this category may be available through the coordinator or on our blog.