J.M. Cartwright's Blog: Wordsmithing 101 - Posts Tagged "rwa"

1. All entries must be book-length romance fiction.
Includes novellas of at least 15,000 words.
-- Note: MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category.
source: http://rwimagiccontests.wordpress.com...

Well, now, it seems we in the M/M world - and indeed the LGBT world - are being slapped in the face with a new reality: LGBT romance is not romance.


The Romance Writers Ink (RWI) Chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) has heretofore allowed same-sex romance books to be entered into their contests. This year, their rules for the 2012 contest show what you see above.

About the Romance Genre http://www.rwa.org/cs/the_romance_genre

Romance fiction is smart, fresh and diverse. Whether you enjoy contemporary dialogue, historical settings, mystery, thrillers or any number of other themes, there's a romance novel waiting for you!

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific subgenres within romance fiction. Click here to better understand the subgenres within romance.

source: http://www.rwa.org/cs/romance_literat...

In the last two days, emails, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, and more have been generated about this inflammatory subject. It's clear that RWA has decided it is acceptable for one of their chapters to discriminate against GLBT people through our GLBT stories. According to the powers that be at RWA, each chapter can make its own decisions about contests and programming, in accordance with the special interests and sensibilities of its members.

So, here's what I wrote to RWA.

I'm forced to conclude that if our chapter - or any other for that matter - refused to accept any books that contained interracial romance in our chapter contests, that would be acceptable to RWA? RWA would not step in and stop the discriminatory behavior of a chapter licensed by RWA? So, the sensibilities of someone who didn't like Latinos and therefore refused to accept any book to judge that had Latino characters, that would be okay? RWA is stating that it's fine to discriminate against a section of the population based on the sensibilities of the chapter members. And by that, I mean that RWA is accepting this discrimination, as the chapter in question is licensed by RWA.

Romantic fiction comes in all shapes and sizes, I think we can agree on that. According to RWA's definition, a romance novel needs two things to meet the criteria of romantic fiction: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending. Since the gender of the protagonists is not mentioned in your criteria, AND since a few years ago, RWA experienced an epic backlash when it tried to define romance as between a male and a female, it's clear to me that RWA's focus and ours are the same. Romance, and that is all.

It is incumbent upon RWA to put a stop to this discrimination, and make it clear to all chapters that discrimination in any form is unacceptable when committed by licensed chapters of RWA.

If you agree with me, kindly share this post - and email RWA at info@rwa.org.
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Published on February 03, 2012 20:07 • 1,122 views • Tags: discrimination, romance-writers-ink, romance-writers-of-america, rwa, rwi, same-sex-pairings-not-romance
Two days into our uprising about the specific "Same-Sex Pairs Do Not Enter" sign posted at the RWI chapter in Tulsa, Oklahoma - and the more insidious "All Things LGBT Keep Out" attitude of some in the writing industry - we're gearing up for a longer haul. Now what to do? Heidi Cullinan, president of RRW, has posted some ideas on her blog today. http://heidicullinan.wordpress.com/20...

The board of Rainbow Romance Writers is treading a fine line, especially in the public postings whether via email or blog, FB, Twitter, etc. I think the current leadership at RWA national has been blindsided by the backlash to what a tiny chapter in OK has caused. I admit to being responsible for starting some of it, along with key blog posts from several other RRW members. So the RWA board president has responded and said she'll take up the point at the meeting next month. I don't know that it would be realistic to expect them to drop everything and hold an emergency meeting. That doesn't seem to be their way. Now, on the for-profit side, companies in a PR crisis, whose survival is on the line, are generally motivated to do that. Seeing the resentment and backlash against RWA that's been clearly shown, I would think they'd act sooner. This could turn into a PR nightmare for them.

I think Heidi is right to talk about what else we can do to effect change. The point is that we've taken the first step, now we need to move beyond that and make a difference with our wallets and our persons. We can't stop now, we've just begun. The petition drive that's been started by Sara York can be found here. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/rwa-...

JenMcJ, Goodreads Librarian, has some great ideas: "Encourage members that have already submitted [to the contest] to withdraw in protest and ask for a submission charge refund. Ask the judges that are being blamed for this (which it looks like are just a scapegoat excuse) to recuse themselves from contests that aren't inclusive. If the majority won't play the game, the game rules have to change."

Read Jen's comments on this link. http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7...

I think Heidi is cautioning some who are really caught up in the fervor of bashing RWA to stay focused on what we need to accomplish. I can't speak for her, of course, but that's what I read from her post today. I don't think she's denying the stupid bigotry that started this whole thing. And to my mind it was ignorant, stupid bigotry - fear of the unknown, fear of those who are different - that started the whirlwind.

We need to fight on. We need to show RWA that we are a viable, mainstream part of the publishing industry, growing by leaps and bounds every day. Our readers are from all walks of life, as are our authors. We deserve and demand representation in RWA, in all chapters.

If you agree, keep liking, posting, commenting, tweeting. Keep going.
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Published on February 05, 2012 14:21 • 258 views • Tags: discrimination, romance-writers-ink, romance-writers-of-america, rwa, rwi, same-sex-pairings-not-romance

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J.M. Cartwright
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