Monday, January 12, 2015

Specialized Romance Category

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.

Specialized Romance category entries were emailed 1/14.

*SPECIALIZED ROMANCE*
 Alternate Earth /Dystopian / Futuristic / Fantasy / Time Travel / Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Romantic novels of any time setting (historical or futuristic) with Alternate Earth Histories, Dystopian, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel, Paranormal or Urban Fantasy. Please keep in mind that the emphasis should be on the romance. An example is the 2014 RWA RITA winner: THE FIREBIRD by Suzanna Kearsley.

ONLY ON THE SPECIALIZED SCORE SHEET
This third setting question is not seen in other categories.
SETTING:  possible 15 points 
        Is the world well defined yet understandable for the reader without being overwhelming?
While all novels feature an element of world-building, in that the author makes the setting ' real' for the reader, novels in the Specialized category expand on this skill and build alternate worlds that become more of a character than merely a setting. The world built should seem plausible and well-defined, without confusing the reader with excessive technical jargon. The setting should accentuate the characters and their actions, not overpower them.

SPECIFIC TO THE SPECIALIZED CATEGORY
Alternate Earth /Dystopian / Futuristic / Fantasy / Time Travel / Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Possible 15 point total to award, 5 points per question
        Is the protagonist a unique, well-defined, relatable, character who is complex enough to sustain a story of this length?
        Are the protagonists’ actions and motivations believable?  Do they face their problems in a believable manner?
        Are the secondary characters necessary, interesting, and believable?

While stories in this category will require an unworldly atmosphere the reader may or may not be accustomed to, they must also have some ‘specialized’ element as an integral part of the plot. The category is not simply an alternate reality--it is also a ROMANCE. So an element of romance/attraction or the potential of attraction has to be evident in the first pages.

Breaking Down the Questions
        Is the protagonist a unique, well-defined, relatable, character who is complex enough to sustain a story of this length?
As in any sub-genre of writing, a character should have these qualities to sustain a story. Keep in mind this isn’t a point deduction when one of these may not be present. Look at the point definitions and evaluate the character.
        Are the protagonists’ actions and motivations believable?  Do they face their problems in a believable manner?
The protagonists should behave and interact in ways that makes sense for their character traits and work within the parameters and the 'rules' set in their world. As in any good novel, the reader needs to believe that the protagonists' behaviors are consistent with their internal and external driving forces.
        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 gives purpose and makes the character necessary (or you can make a note that the secondary character is talking a lot).

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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