Monday, January 12, 2015

Inspiration Romance

THE SCORE SHEET
~ ALL SPECIFIC SECTIONS
2016 --Two questions are currently under review

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 Inspirational judging panels have been emailed.

*INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE*
Romantic novels with an inspirational message/theme, including romantic suspense, historical, etc. An example is the 2014 RWA RITA winner: FIVE DAYS IN SKYE by Carla Laureano.

SPECIFIC TO THE INSPIRATIONAL CATEGORY
Possible 20 point total to award, 5 points per question
        Do the inspirational elements reflect not sermonizing and seem a natural aspect of character and plot?      
        If you took the inspirational element out of the story, would the plot still work?    
        Is the protagonist’s faith, belief system or values (or lack of) apparent or foreshadowed?
        Is the tone appropriate for inspirational romance? (language, sexual tension, etc.)

PLEASE remember that “faith” may not necessarily reflect your personal beliefs.

Breaking Down the Questions
        Do the inspirational elements reflect not sermonizing and seem a natural aspect of character and plot?   
Answering this question is a matter of the judge’s opinion. Please refer back to the balance of introspection and dialogue. A balance is needed in any story.
        If you took the inspirational element out of the story, would the plot still work?     
Are the main threads of the story woven together in such a way that the plot would unravel without one of the threads? In other words, if the inspirational element is removed, this story shouldn’t fit another category.
        Is the protagonist’s faith, belief system or values (or lack of) apparent or foreshadowed?
MANY published inspirational romances focus on characters who do not have faith at the beginning of the story; instead, the story is about them developing faith. Our score sheet does not necessarily reflect this reality as well as it should.  So, for our purposes, think of the category-specific question as being about whether there is a foundation for a journey of faith as well as a journey of romance.
        Is the tone appropriate for inspirational romance? (language, sexual tension, etc.)
Tone. If you don’t read several types of inspirational romance, this question may be a mystery to you. Please contact the coordinator for help. But each type and length of a Amish, suspense, category or single title inspirational has its own feel. It’s what a reader would expect when picking up a book not only on a designated/tagged bookshelf, but also by an author.

Sexual tension in inspirational romance is appropriate, just as it’s needed in any romance.
Now … the frame for this will be different because lust doesn’t get mentioned, nor can you have any of the physiological reactions that you would probably show in most other types of romance.  However, these are people falling in love, and as an author, you don’t want that to come across as a brother-sister kind of thing.  In showing attraction or sexual tension in inspirational romance, my approach is similar to what you’d see in solidly family films.

Some of my models for how to do this are the relationships between Jack and Lucy in While You Are Sleeping, Hawkeye and Cora in Last of the Mohicans (1992 version), Danielle and Prince Henry in Ever After,  and Mary and Steve in the Wedding Planner.  In each of these, it’s obvious these people are falling in love, but the tension is as much emotional as it is physical.  And because the focus is on the emotional, you just know the physical will be just fine.
~ inspirational author, Sharon Mignerey

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.

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