Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Important: If you write women's fic, no RWA

If you write women's fiction, you might belong to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) association; maybe you belong to the women's fiction chapter. If you do, you need to know what's happening with that. Basically, you're out of the RWA.

Last summer, RWA changed rules for its national contests--contests that are prestigious, and can and have gotten many writers notice from agents and editors as well as national accolades within the very large organization that is RWA. Heck, being in RWA by itself shows you're professional and smart about your career. The changes to the contests essentially excluded fiction that didn't adhere to romance guidelines. Put simply, people who wrote women's fiction--defined very well by author Therese Walsh as fiction that "focuses on the woman's journey as opposed to the journey of a couple in love"-- were excluded from participating in the contests, which are one of the reasons people join the RWA.

The women's fiction chapter of the RWA is a huge chapter. I've been a member for several years and met wonderful ladies in it at all stages of their careers. 

Recently, it came to light that RWA will no longer support the bylaws that governed the women's fiction chapter; in essence, RWA does not support chapters of members that write fiction with romantic elements. As a result, the women's fiction chapter is disbanding from the RWA. Where it ends up is not yet determined, but the chapter is strong and the members passionate, so it will likely emerge in a new incarnation.

If you write women's fiction, this is important information. RWA has been a great resource, but if you join the RWA you need to write romantic fiction, not fiction with romantic elements or any other type of fiction that isn't defined as romance.

As the WF chapter evolves, I will post information about how to find them. 

There is a post on this from last year's chapter president Laura Drake at Writer Unboxed, which is positive and focuses on the fact that these things evolve and there's no hard feelings.

Personally I have decided not to renew my membership with RWA as it hasn't been as supportive as I would have liked; the exclusion of my work in contests and chapters is a bit rough as well.

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