2018 Golden Heart Category Descriptions and Judging Guidelines

All entries must contain a central love story and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

With the exception of Erotic Romance, all categories may have varying levels of sensuality.

 

Contemporary Romance
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are greater than 65,000 words.

 

Contemporary Romance: Short
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are less than 65,000 words in length.

 

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

 

Historical Romance
Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.

 

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
Mainstream Fiction novels in which themes or elements other than the romance are integral to the story even though a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic resolution to the romance are still present. This category is intended for romances that do not fit neatly into any other category due to their mainstream fiction nature but where the central romance could not be removed without damaging the storyline.

 

Paranormal Romance
Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

 

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.

 

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

 

Young Adult Romance
Manuscripts in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.