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    2014 RITA Category Descriptions and Judging Guidelines

    Contemporary Romance
    Novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are greater than 65,000 words.

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic. Entrants determine whether this is the appropriate category to enter based on their own calculation of word count, not publisher definitions. As authors cannot always be certain of the final word count after editing, a small amount of flexibility (5 percent of the total word count) over or under the word limit is permissible.

     

    Erotic Romance
    Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, scenes of explicit sexual interaction are blended with and form a significant part of the love story, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Historical Romance
    Novels set in any historical time period. 

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Inspirational Romance
    Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship. 

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are blended with and form a significant part of the love story, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Paranormal Romance
    Novels in which the future, a fantasy world or paranormal elements are an integral part of the plot. 

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, a futuristic, fantasy, or paranormal element is blended with the love story, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Romance Novella
    Novellas that focus primarily on the romantic relationship. 

    Judging guidelines: In this category, a love story is the main focus of the novella, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Romantic Suspense
    Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot. 

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, a suspense/mystery/thriller plot is blended with the love story, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Short Contemporary Romance
    Novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are less than 65,000 words in length.

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic. Entrants determine whether this is the appropriate category to enter based on their own calculation of word count, not publisher definitions. As authors cannot always be certain of the final word count after editing, a small amount of flexibility (5 percent of the total word count) over the 65,000 word limit is permissible.

     

    Young Adult Romance
    Novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship between two adolescents. These novels are marketed to adolescents and young adults. 

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

     

    Best First Book
    A Novel entered in another contest category. To be eligible, the author (or authors in the case of a writing team) shall not have had any other novel or novella previously published in any format.