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    2015 RITA Category Descriptions and Judging Guidelines

    Contemporary Romance: Long

    Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are 84,000 or more 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.


    Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

    Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 56,000 and 84,000 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.


    Contemporary Romance: Short

    Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 40,000 and 56,000 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.


    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: Long

    Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are longer than 89,000 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.


    Historical Romance: Short

    Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are between 40,000 and 89,000 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.


    Inspirational Romance

    Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system) are an intergral part of the plot.

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religious 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.


    Young Adult Romance

    Novels in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.

    Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, the element of being a young adult is blended with the love story, 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.