Monday, January 12, 2015

Mainstream with Romantic Elements

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 MRE judging panels have been emailed.

*MAINSTREAM WITH ROMANTIC ELEMENTS* 
Novels that include an element of romance but in which traditional romance conventions are not followed and in which there are themes and conflicts beyond romance. Mainly women’s fiction and chick lit. An example is the 2013 RWA RITA winner: THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLAIRE by Simone St. James.

Please note that the Mainstream with Romantic Elements category only needs to hint at the possibility of romance. Please do not judge the entry based on the romance, MRE normally focuses on one protagonist’s journey.

SPECIFIC TO THE MAINSTREAM w/ROMANTIC ELEMENTS CATEGORY
Possible 20 point total to award, 5 points per question
        Does the story focus on one protagonist and/or their journey?
        Is there an element to the story that takes it beyond a traditional single title romance? 
        Does the author build a sustainable story beyond using the traditional romantic elements? (The story should set the groundwork for a potential romantic relationship but should not be the central focus of the story.)          
        Are the secondary characters necessary, interesting, and believable?

Breaking Down the Questions
        Does the story focus on one protagonist and/or their journey?
Mainstream or women’s fiction. One protagonist on a journey…normally that is not a journey to find love (although that subject isn’t ruled out as long as the main focus is on the one protagonist). Emotional reflection and action that is a journey of self-discovery. Here’s an article by a women’s fiction author on what to expect.
        Is there an element to the story that takes it beyond a traditional single title romance? 
Wow…now that’s a serious question, right? Beyond a traditional single title…reference back to a journey of self-discovery. It may or may not involve a hero (traditional single title romance must have a hero). It is normally a protagonist over thirty. AND the protagonist saves herself through her self-discovery.
        Does the author build a sustainable story beyond using the traditional romantic elements? (The story should set the groundwork for a potential romantic relationship but should not be the central focus of the story.)      
With many MRE entries, one of the two protagonists may not be introduced in the first 5000 words. Each contestant had the opportunity to view the score sheet before entering the contest. Please use your judgment as best as you can.
        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.

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