The Washington Romance Writers’ Marlene is a must-enter contest for unpublished manuscripts for many writers every year, and one reason for that is the quality of the feedback with which they are provided and exposure to industry professionals.

Contest Opens: November 1, 2019

Contest closes: December 31, 2019

Entry Fees: $35 WRW Member, $40 Non WRW Member

One electronic copy of a synopsis (up to 5 pages) and the beginning of the manuscript not to exceed 35 pages total for synopsis and manuscript pages. Your manuscript pages will go first and then your synopsis second. Total page count must not exceed 35 pages.

Category Definitions

Contemporary Short Romance (Short)
Romance novels of 40,000 to 65,000 words that focus primarily on the romantic relationship. The love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Contemporary Single Title Romance (Single)
Romance novels of 65,000 words or more which focus primarily on the romantic relationship. The love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Erotic Romance (Erotic)
A romance novel where the sexual content is integral to the development of the romantic relationship and may go beyond that of most romance novels including the use of sexually explicit language. The love story is the main focus of the novel and the resolution is emotionally satisfying and optimistic. The novel may be in contemporary, historical or paranormal settings.

Historical Romance (Hist)
Romance novels set in any time period prior to 1945 and taking place in any location. The love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements (RE)
A work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements may be the primary focus of the story. Novels of any tone or style, set in any place or time are eligible for this category. A romance must be an integral part of the plot or subplot, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Paranormal/Speculative Romance (Para)
Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot. In this category, a futuristic, fantasy, or paranormal element is blended with the love story, which is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.  (Note: Steampunk, Diesel Punk and other non-magical alternate worlds belong in this category. The determining factor in categorizing a romance as a Paranormal/Speculative, as opposed to a fantasy or science fiction story with romantic elements, is the romance is the main focus of the story.)

Romantic Suspense (RS)
Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot. The romance plays a significant part in the story and the resolution is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Young Adult Romance (YA)
Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers. In this category, the love story is an important element of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

DEADLINESThe contest opens for entries on November 1, 2019. All entries must be received electronically by 11:59pm EST on January 17, 2020.  Entries received after the deadline will be returned. Finalists will be notified by March 1, 2020.  Winners will be announced at the annual WRW Retreat April 24-26, 2020. Those winners and finalists not attending the retreat will be notified after the event.

ENTRY FEEEntry fees vary based on entry date.  From November 1, 2019 to 11:59 PM EST, December 31, 2019 the fee will be $35 for WRW members and $40 for all non-WRW members. From January 1 to 11:59 PM EST, January 17, the fee will be $40 for WRW members/$45 for all non-WRW members. All entries must be paid via PayPal option on www.wrwdc.com. All entry fees are non-refundable unless your category is cancelled, and you do not choose to switch to another.

JUDGING:  Three judges will score each entry on a 50-point scale. Judges will be encouraged to comment on the score sheet and/or manuscript, but WRW cannot guarantee that all judges will comply with this suggestion. The lowest of the three scores will be dropped. The top three scoring entries in each category will be ranked by an editor or agent. The decision of the judges is final.

ENTRY FORMAT:
Entries:

  • One electronic copy of a synopsis (up to 5 pages) and the beginning of the manuscript not to exceed 35 pages total for synopsis and manuscript pages. Important: Your attachment file must be received as one.doc or .rtf file that should include your manuscript pages first and then your synopsis second. Total page count must not exceed 35 pages. Files must be saved as: storyinitials-Marlene-category.doc or storyinitials-Marlene-category.rft (example: Little Red Ridinghood should be: LRR-Marlene-YA.doc). The categories for purposes of file saving are: YA, RE, Single, Short, Para, Erotic, RS, and Hist.
  • Entries must be presented in proper standard manuscript format: double-spaced on 8 ½” x 11” pages with one-inch margins using a standard 12-pt. font such as Courier, Courier New or Times Roman.
  • The title and category of entry must appear in the top left corner and the page number in the top right corner of every page.
  • The author’s name may not appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis. 
  • Each entry must also include the following information:
    Entry title
    b. Author’s name
    c. Address
    d. Phone number
    e. Email address
    f. Projected word count
    g. Targeted publisher/line

For the purposes of this contest your typed author’s name and submission of the appropriate category form will be considered your acceptance of the contest terms.

Entrants who do not comply with the above rules will be contacted and given until the contest deadline to make corrections. Failure to comply by the deadline will disqualify the entrant and the entry fee will be forfeited.

NOTE: If fewer than 10 entries are received for a category, that category will be eliminated and the author given the choice of switching the entry to another category or having the entry and fees returned.  If 30 entries are received for a category, that category will be closed, regardless of date.

We also reserve the right to extend the submission deadline in order to boost entries if a category is in danger of being canceled due to lack of entries.

Contact: WRWMarleneCoordinator@gmail.com