Why I Don’t Care About the RITAs

Candy’s Note: Edited a couple of things for clarity. Bad blogger! No cookie!

Robin mentioned that one of my favorite authors, Barbara Samuel, posted an entry on Romancing the Blog about why readers should care about the RITAs.  One of the reasons given is that “the RITA is the Oscar or Pulitzer Prize of romances novels.”

My immediate reaction was “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA,” closely followed by “What. The. Fuck.”

I don’t take the RITAs seriously. In fact, I don’t take ANY of the romance awards seriously. While the RWA has awarded the RITA to some books that were actually good, those works are few and far between. Of the books I’ve read from the complete list of RITA winners, I can count maaaaaybe ten books that actually deserved to win in their categories, most of them going to Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind, Laura Kinsale and Jennifer Crusie.

And before y’all get all het up about how I’m being unfair, because “good” is entirely subjective, I’d like to point out there are plenty of objective standards to writing, which Beth pointed out with great verve and eloquence a little while back, and which I then expanded on in a much more silly manner. But if you don’t want to wade through those two long-ish pieces, here it is in short: I separate craft from personal preference. There’s what I think is genuinely good, and there’s what I enjoy reading, and sometimes the two don’t intersect, and that’s OK—not loving something that was technically perfect doesn’t make me a cretin, and neither does enjoying something that was sloppily made.

The RITAs? Like I said to Robin, the motto for the vast majority of the winners seems to be “Hi, we’re mostly competent. Mostly.” Even authors who have written genuinely good books, like Lisa Kleypas and Connie Brockway, end up winning for books that were sub-par.

I don’t treat the other awards in such a dismissive fashion. The winners of the the Pulitzer, Booker, Guardian, Whitbread, Hugo and Nebula awards have quite reliably provided me with excellent, entertaining reads. But most of these awards tend to skew towards the more literary end of the spectrum, which might make these rather unfair comparisons for the RITAs. That leaves the Hugos and Nebulas, which are genre fiction awards. So why do I perk up and take notice when I hear a book has been awarded the Hugo or the Nebula?

The only reason I can think of is the Geek Factor. My tastes are a lot more in sync with the average geek than they are the average romance reader, and geeks are more plentifully found in SF than romance, and geeks are the ones to vote on the Nebulas and Hugos. To be honest, the average SF/F novel isn’t written that much more skillfully than the average romance novel; however, I tend to find the ideas and plots in SF/F a lot more interesting, and I will forgive a lot of clunkiness if the story grabs me. Neal Stephenson is an example who immediately comes to mind; he does some absolutely maddening things with his prose and characters, but his stories are so compelling that they drag me along. I even find his massive infodumps fascinating, God help me.

So until mainstream romance tastes begin to align themselves more closely to mine (unlikely), or until romance novels start playing with prose, structure and medium in the same interesting ways that literary fiction does (even more unlikely, and frankly, not necessarily desirable), or until the RITAs stop awarding most of their prizes to the literary equivalent of Thomas Kinkade paintings (unlikely, but very highly desirable), I’m going to keep on blithely ignoring the RITAs as a source of good reads while keeping an eye out for recommendations by people whose tastes I tend to trust a bit more, like Beth, or Robin, or Evil Auntie Peril.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Nora Roberts says:

    Roughly 25 years, somewhere over 250 Rita winners and maaaybe ten deserved the win?

    Harsh.

    I guess I should go back to work and keep writing my literary equivilent of paint my numbers.

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    Candy, you’ve gone and hurt Nora’s feelings. Now maybe she won’t come and play at the Bitchery, and that will make me sad. Oh dear!

    I’ve been giving the RITAs and the evolution of romance a lot of thought since you gave me the heads up to the RTB column about why folks don’t take the RITAs seriously.

    I think part of the problem (aside from that old romance=craaaaap problem we deal with) is that the genre – and the subgenres – have changed significantly and the grading curve jumps around like my heart rate after too much caffeine. For example: The Windflower is a historical romance of the more 80’s epic style. I just finished reading it, and so far, the title of my review in progress is “The Book That Completely Horsed my Grading Curve.” That book is so almighty good I don’t know how to judge other historical novels in comparison. A lot, and I mean a LOT, will come up short.

    But then I have to ask, is it fair to compare a recently released historical romance that’s nowhere near the word or page count? Is it possible to label two novels “historical romances” and judge them against each other if one was published in the mega-sweepy 80’s saga style and the other was published last month? Not too many books are published that match Windflower in length alone, let alone scope and development.

    So part of the validity of the RITAs for me as a reader is that they compare the current year’s releases against each other, and not with a larger rubric of quality that might compare older styles of romance to newer styles. It might not offer a clear method to trace that evolution of the genre, but at least it offers a more fair field on which to compare and judge.

    I disagree, though, that the writers who have won RITAs are the literary equivalent of ThomasKincadeThePainterofLight. I can think of several who I look for when I’m book browsing.

  3. 3
    Charlene says:

    Personally, I think the RITAs are much more legitimate than the Academy Awards. The Oscars are and have always been deliberately meant as a publicity scheme. They exist not to award the best movies of the year but primarily to increase box office for the major studios. In fact, until some time during the Second World War, they were controlled by Louis B. Mayer, who made sure MGM movies got the lion’s share of the awards. Sure, there are ‘artsy’ awards like those for the documentaries and short-subject films, but that’s to make the Academy look prestigious.

    The Pulitzers, Nebulas, Hugos, and even the RITAs were legitimately created to first and foremost reward talent, even if publicity was a secondary reason. They all deserve much more respect than the Oscars. (And in fact so do the Emmys, which were originally envisioned as technical awards.)

  4. 4

    The Ritas have too many categories.  Or rather, it has no blockbuster category like the Best Picture of the Year.  Think about it, movies, contemporary or historical or sf/f, 90 minutes or 180 minutes, religious or borderline erotica, they all have to compete against each other to be Best Picture of the Year.

    I think RWA should have a best romance of the year award.  That would help. And carry more prestige than saying you are the winner in the short historical category which is exactly how different from a long historical?

    That said, I’m not turning down a Rita for best short historical romance, which I should be getting in 2008.  Right?  Right.

  5. 5
    Robin says:

    Candy:  you rock.

    What I understand about the RITA is this: 

    Entrants have to pay to have their books considered, so there’s already a significant element of self-selection.  This may also account for why some established authors win books that seem comparatively weaker (so with you on the Worth Any Price eval—although it wasn’t as low a point as Again the Magic.  Oy, that book hurt to read).

    Folks over at RTB insist there is not general criteria by which books are judged (outside of eligibility to actually compete within a category).  Of course, the Pulitzer juries don’t have written guidelines either, but perhaps there’s a common starting point there that doesn’t exist in RITA judging?

    IMO there is a serious tension in Romance between the emotional impact of a book and larger issues of craft when it comes to evaluating books.  Like, if a book doesn’t work as a Romance for some readers, it’s not a great book, no matter how skilled a work it might be.  While clearly Romance has a certain emotional element to its evaluation that perhaps is unique to the genre, I don’t think that excludes a stronger focus on the *craft* of writing Romance (in fact, I would argue the opposite is true).  It’s one thing for a reviewer to say that a book was well-written but not romantic for him/her, but is that a legitimate basis for evaluation in a contest that’s supposed to reward the “best” in the genre? 

    Candy, you’ve gone and hurt Nora’s feelings. Now maybe she won’t come and play at the Bitchery, and that will make me sad. Oh dear!

    Although I suspect Roberts was simply trying to suggest that Candy was engaging in over-generalization and hyperbole, my first thought when I read her comment was, “Wow, that puts Candy in an uncomfortable position, where she now has to decide whether to reassure Roberts, and what are the implications of that, yada yada yada.”  Of course, I’m working on a project on what constitutes torture in the “War on Terror,” so I’m feeling particularly cynical right now.

  6. 6
    dl says:

    Ditto darling.

    We love you Nora!!

    The Windflower…yum, must be time for a re-read.

  7. 7
    Candy says:

    Roughly 25 years, somewhere over 250 Rita winners and maaaybe ten deserved the win?

    Harsh.

    I guess I should go back to work and keep writing my literary equivilent of paint my numbers.

    Ooops. I’ve just realized that I left out the “of the books I’ve read that have won RITAs” disclaimer to my writing. DOH! Bad Candy. No cookie for me! Which makes the sample size considerably less than 250. It’s a lot closer to 50.

    Which, frankly, fits quite nicely in my general grade curve—the vast majority of the romances I read get Bs and Cs, while As and Fs are few and far between. Most of the RITA winners I’ve read have fallen in the B and C category, with a couple of Ds, but no Fs.

    And Nora, while I adore your on-line presence and do the happy dance every time you post here, I’ve read four or five books of yours, and they’re not really my cuppa. I haven’t read any of your RITA-winning books, so I can’t say whether I think the RITA went to the best book that year or not, but odds are good that I wouldn’t think so. I say this forthrightly, and with great respect for you.

    (Also, Thomas Kinkade isn’t paint-by-numbers. He’s paint-by-pastel. An eerily competent paint-by-pastel. And millions of people love it. I really, really don’t get it. When it comes to modern painters, I’m more of a Mark Ryden and Camille Rose Garcia type myself.)

    It’s not solely a question of craft, either. Like I said in my piece, when it comes to genre awards, it’s also a reflection of the disjunct between what I like vs. what most romance readers like, and it’s part of the reason why I tend to pay more attention to Hugo and Nebula Award winners, even though in terms of craft, SF/F isn’t that different from romance.

    I disagree, though, that the writers who have won RITAs are the literary equivalent of ThomasKincadeThePainterofLight.

    I disagree, too—authors like Laura Kinsale, Barbara Samuel, Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, Loretta Chase, Theresa Weir, Anne Stuart and a few others certainly aren’t. This is exactly what I said:

    …until the RITAs stop awarding most of their prizes to the literary equivalent of Thomas Kinkades

    Not all of the RITA winners (and keep in mind I’m referring to specific books, not authors-as-a-whole) are bland and mediocre. A disappointingly large proportion of the ones I’ve read, however, are.

    I’m waiting for other Bitchery regulars who’ve won RITAs like Lani Diane Rich to come over and smack me into next week for impugning the honor of the majority of RITA winners, because they think I’m talking about their entire body of work instead of specific books. Le sigh. (Lani, I haven’t read Time Off for Good Behavior yet, either.)

  8. 8
    Candy says:

    Also:

    Candy:  you rock.

    Shit hasn’t been thoroughly stirred here lately, so here I go and stir it with a vengeance. Nothing like utterly brutal honesty with a healthy dose of hyperbole, eh? WHEE!

  9. 9
    Robin says:

    Shit hasn’t been thoroughly stirred here lately, so here I go and stir it with a vengeance.

    Heh, I didn’t even realize I made an appropriate, if cheesy, little pun there.

    Carol Irvin, whom I don’t know except for her posts on AAR ATBF a couple of weeks ago (apparently she was a reviewer there years ago), was talking about how the RITAs get no mainstream respect, whereas even the HUGO has now crossed over to mainstream recognition.  I wish I could recall the sum of her arguments, because she was very articulate on the matter, and I didn’t really have the same context in which to understand the significance of what she was saying until these conversations.  It was related to how the awards are chosen, how nominees are selected, and the overall quality of books in the genre, but beyond that . . . well the only thing beyond at this point is some stuff about the Geneva conventions, so that’s probably irrelevant.  Anyway, maybe someone else can pick up the point or can remember the argument as Irvin presented it.

  10. 10
    Myriantha Fatalis says:

    Somehow, I feel compelled to go OT here & announce that I happen to be one of those folks who like Thomas Kinkade’s works.  Of course,I’d like them even better if they were done on black velvet….

  11. 11

    I think the biggest problem with the RITAs is that they’re very much like the homecoming court… who is the most popular among the authors judging, not who neccessarily is the best.  I can say this now—because I entered this year but nothing has been announced—without sounding like sour grapes.  But since all the unpublished contests require you to submit anonymously, the writer holding your entry might not remember you’re the person who vomitted on them at conference last year.  Not so with the RITAs.

    I mean, honestly, if you’re judging the RITAs and the OMG BESTEST WRITER EVAH according to sales and general fame is the entrant you end up judging, are you going to have the cajones to put on record that you didn’t like their book?  Similarly, if you’re holding a book by an author who is getting more attention at your publisher than you are, are you going to be objective?

    It just seems like this endless spiral of who-is-prettier-than-who.  That’s why the lackluster books show up as being absolutely the best of the best.

  12. 12
    Arin Rhys says:

    These sort of discussions about the Romance world kind of make me glad that I write lesbian romance and therefore have no chance of ever winning one of these contests.

  13. 13
    Kass says:

    “One of the reasons given is that “the RITA is the Oscar or Pulitzer Prize of romances novels.” “
    1. Did she say “romances novels” or did you? If she did, I’d say she undercut her argument right there. If you can’t even properly use English grammar and spelling in your argument that the RITAs deserve respect…well, need I say more?

    2. The Oscars are a popularity contest and nothing more. There were far better movies in 1996 (all of them) than The English Patient, yet it won Best Picture. As another writer pointed out above, the Academy selection process shuts out most movies, especially independent productions and overseas movies, from consideration. If the RITAs are truly like the Oscars, they deserve jeers and sneers, because they’re based on major authors kissing butt, not quality.

    3. Pulitzer? Please. I love romance novels. I really do. And I know some of them address real-world, serious issues like spousal abuse. But they aren’t anything close to the world-changing effects that the winners of the Pulitzers have. Mostly, even the most serious romance novel is entertainment first and everything else last. Period. Nothing wrong with that. But I don’t want to see us make the mistake that some people do when they defend an often-maligned genre and say it can cure AIDS and make julienne fries when it’s obvious that it can’t. That’ll just hold romances and romance readers up to more ridicule than we already get.

    4. I just recommended Miss Wonderful and Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase to my rather serious mainstream reading mother. It’s the first known “please, read a romance” effort I’ve ever made, and I hope it proves successful.

  14. 14
    Stef says:

    As a member of the Board of Directors of RWA, as well as a RITA winner, I have zero objectivity when it comes to this blog post.  I will therefore refrain from comment.  But I will pose a question:

    If one considers the RITA contest to be broken, how does one propose to fix it?  As a person who has some ability to wield the tools of repair, I would sincerely like to know.

  15. 15

    You fix the RITAs by getting new judges.

    I know…good luck. :-)

  16. 16
    Stephanie Feagan says:

    Please disregard my question.  This is not the venue to query for responses.
    My apologies.

  17. 17
    Nora Roberts says:

    Ten out of fifty read I can buy. Ten out of fifty read that YOU felt deserved the award strikes me as perfectly reasonable.

    My books aren’t everyone’s cuppa. But one day, Candy, one day the scales will fall from your eyes, and you will be mine.

    As for comments on the entry and judging criteria. Any member of RWA can enter a book—doesn’t have to be their book. I can’t remember what the entry fee is, and I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’m thinking around $25. To qualify, the entered book has to meet the criteria—clearly outlined—for its category.

    A couple of years ago I judged several books in the preliminary round. One of them was a cozy mystery. There was no romantic relationship in it. None. The female protagonist solved a mystery. No sexual tension with anyone, no smoochies, no romantic overtones. Nothing. It was a competent book. It was not a Romance. It didn’t meet the criteria. Should I have judged it on its merits as a cozy mystery? I don’t think so. I was judging a contest for Romance novels for an award given by RWA. Even if it had been entered in the Strong Romantic Elements category—which it wasn’t—it wouldn’t have fit.

    There has to be criteria.

    Lastly, I believe Candy can handle a comment from me without sweating about reassurance. Just as I can handle one from her. We’re both grown-ups.

    Of course, I’m older and wiser, and the time will come when I’m not only her cuppa, but she guzzles me like a wino guzzles Run, Walk and Lie Down.

  18. 18
    Nora Roberts says:

    ~I mean, honestly, if you’re judging the RITAs and the OMG BESTEST WRITER EVAH according to sales and general fame is the entrant you end up judging, are you going to have the cajones to put on record that you didn’t like their book?  Similarly, if you’re holding a book by an author who is getting more attention at your publisher than you are, are you going to be objective?~

    If you can’t, you shouldn’t judge.

    The entrants don’t know who’s judging their entry. Why would it take cajones to judge a book—by anyone—on its merits without worrying about the author’s fame and sales?

    I don’t get that.

    Entrants who also judge don’t judge in any category in which they’re entered. Obviously that could lead to stickiness.

    I’ve lost plenty of times, and since—to the best of my knowledge—I’ve never booted on anyone at a conference, I believe there are many who are able to judge fairly. Though, of course, they were wrong whenever I didn’t win.

  19. 19
    Jackie L. says:

    Let me just say, Candy, dear, LaNora is the best storyteller in the genre.  If you’d get over your apparent squickie sticky amour for historicals you’d know that.  Ok to be nice, our taste in romance is completely opposite.  Even Sarah’s taste.  I haven’t read Windflower since the 80’s, but I distinctly remember throwing it against the wall, thinking, bad, bad, bad, caca, caca, oooh, yuckie, or maybe even less polite thougts.  First romance I tried outside of Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart or Jane Aiken Hodge.  The comparison was dismal, I assure you.  I agree that the overabundance of categories makes the RITA useless as a vehicle to legitimize romance for the larger public.  I mean historical inspirational, inspirational history, not-so-romantic romance, too romantic romance.  Don’t give a frick personally.  But if they went to top romance of the year, would LaNora win every year as she is clearly the best, or be like Meryl Streep, who seldom wins because she is so much better than the average Hollow-wood hack?  As for the Hugo and the Nebula, I only read the novels that win BOTH, like Lois McMaster Bujold.  I know I’m only a doctor, but I did major in lit in college, so I read all those famous guys too—like Rousseau in the original French.  But with far less enjoyment than my romance.

  20. 20
    Selah March says:

    IMO there is a serious tension in Romance between the emotional impact of a book and larger issues of craft when it comes to evaluating books.  Like, if a book doesn’t work as a Romance for some readers, it’s not a great book, no matter how skilled a work it might be.

    This is where the rubber meets the road, as far as I’m concerned.

    A week ago, I stumbled into this conversation over on the Juno blog (check the comments for the important part):

    http://juno-books.com/blog/?p=118

    So long as a certain segment of the reading population—and I have no idea how large or small that segment is, but I harbor grave fears—buys a “feeling” instead of a story, we’ll always be marginalized in terms of artistic merit. We can hold as many award ceremonies as we like, natter on about craft ‘til the cows come home, but to some, we’ll always be literary Prozac. Emo porn. Crack disguised as ink on paper.

    Should we discontinue the Ritas because of it? Nah. But neither should we kid ourselves, because while the folks judging the contest—being authors themselves—may have an elevated appreciation for craft, they began as romance readers and are likely looking just as hard for that “glow” as the next Borders and B&N browser.

    Is that a bad thing? I dunno. But it’s a thing.

  21. 21
    Jackie L. says:

    Another half of a thought.  Sci-Fi is becoming more acceptable, i.e. less embarrassing to admit aloud that one reads it, because of the ascendancy of the geek.  It is now ok to be a geek.  Women are finally on the ascendant as well—a female speaker of the House, a legitimate candidate for President who is demonstrably XX in chromosomal make-up.  Maybe the RITA’s should go to Best Romance of the year.  We would have to have a fan side award too—like the Hugos and the Nebulas—one author voted, one more popular.  Maybe romance readers (OMG, maybe even romance writers) would finally get a little respect.

  22. 22
    Alison Kent says:

    There used to be a Best Romance of the Year (or whatever it was called).  It was discontinued for lack of voting participation in the final round (I believe).

    Anyone could nominate the books to be considered, so oftentimes RWA chapters would “encourage” their membership to submit a title by one of their members, making sure it hit the top ten and then made the final cut for the full membership vote.

  23. 23
    Miri says:

    As for making a Best Romance of the Year, I would put out there that it would be sticky to say the least. Romance is the most genreized (yes I’m making up words, you can’t stop me!) of all the genres! And there is a lot of elitism among(st) it’s readers:
    “I’ll read historicals but I won’t touch that vampire crap.” or ” Prefer to stay in the 21st century when I read all the flubs in historicals it makes me crazy.”
    So I can tell you for certain if RWA gave a RITA to saaaaay a Paranormal for BEST of 2008 can you imagine the bitching/whining/knashing of teeth that would insue?  I think it’s a good idea to keep the RITA’s the way they are.
    I am I right? or should I cut back on the Diet Coke?

  24. 24
    Robin says:

    Lastly, I believe Candy can handle a comment from me without sweating about reassurance. Just as I can handle one from her. We’re both grown-ups.

    Okay, I’ll admit that my first thoughts weren’t *exactly* as I posted them, because I wasn’t really worried about Candy’s ability to handle anything.

  25. 25
    Robin says:

    So long as a certain segment of the reading population—and I have no idea how large or small that segment is, but I harbor grave fears—buys a “feeling” instead of a story, we’ll always be marginalized in terms of artistic merit.
    [...]
    Should we discontinue the Ritas because of it? Nah. But neither should we kid ourselves, because while the folks judging the contest—being authors themselves—may have an elevated appreciation for craft, they began as romance readers and are likely looking just as hard for that “glow” as the next Borders and B&N browser.

    I got the impression on the RtB blog that books are basically judged like this for the RITA.  I also get the impression that “craft” is limited to the basic rules of fiction writing, and is not seen as broadly inclusive of all the skills that converge in a masterful book.

    One person pointed out that she doesn’t “critique” books in the RITA judging as she does unpublished contest submissions.  As only one reader who has no desire to write Romance, I find that counterintuitive.  Not that the bar for publication shouldn’t be set high—as someone else over there pointed, out, it seems that everyone wants to or thinks they can write a Romance novel.  But if the RITAs are supposed to award excellence or determine the best of the genre (and I think Sarah has a good point about judging within one year’s offerings rather than an overall genre best), why isn’t “critique” part of the evaluation process? 

    Although I am very much in agreement with your analysis here, I’m not fully convinced that it’s those readers who crave that “feeling” who ultimately determine the level of respect Romance gets, because that “glow” can exist just as easily in a well-written book as a weaker offering.  But if publishers don’t value and nurture authors as craftspeople, and if editors are continually shortening word count and determining that readers want less heft, and if copyeditors are so overburdened or whatever it is they are to keep from vetting books adequately, then that “glow” is the only criteria loyal genre readers can count on—and Romance readers seem incredibly genre loyal. 

    Someone on Dear Author commented recently (after the Celebrate Romance event) that there’s something called the “young editor” syndrome, in which many editors are young and relatively inexperienced, and they believe that readers only want shorter (less attention span—no kidding!) and lighter books.  And apparently they value feedback directly from readers rather than through authors.  Sadly and ironically, though, editors seem to be the most insulated from direct reader feedback, even though it sounds like they need to be reached most immediately.  Then there’s the whole issue that Karen Templeton pointed to about how many big publishing houses use Romance as their “cash cow” to finance riskier, less commercially successful literary ventures—which to me translates to innovation everywhere but where it’s needed most.

    So after hearing all that, I’m even more appreciative of the handful of wonderful reads I had this past year, from Pam Rosenthal’s The Slightest Provocation to Meljean Brook’s Demon Angel, to Shana Abe’s The Smoke Thief, etc.  I’m hoping that the more readers talk up these less run-of-the-mill reads, the more people will read them, etc. etc. etc.  And I’m increasingly turning to ebooks, where I’m assured the boundaries are being more routinely pushed.

  26. 26

    So long as a certain segment of the reading population [...] buys a “feeling” instead of a story, we’ll always be marginalized in terms of artistic merit. We can hold as many award ceremonies as we like, natter on about craft ‘til the cows come home, but to some, we’ll always be literary Prozac. Emo porn. Crack disguised as ink on paper.

    We’ve been discussing the issue of quality in literature at Teach Me Tonight this week. We started by
    taking a look at what people might actually mean when they call romance ‘porn’
    (because they don’t all seem to be using the term in the same way).

    Mostly, even the most serious romance novel is entertainment first and everything else last.

    And then we got onto the issue of quality versus popularity. I do think there are some things a writer can get wrong and the most obvious is if they use the wrong words e.g. when characters are flaunting convention by flouting their charms in public. But a lot of other things are a matter of preference. I’m sure, looked at from a modern perspective, some literary classics are full of ‘info-dump’, they tell rather than show and they don’t ‘start when the action starts’.

    My intuition would be that while readers may accept a romance which ‘works’ on an emotional level, they’re going to be even more pleased with a romance which works emotionally and also works in other areas. They may not immediately be aware of the mastery of craft or the layering of meaning etc, but it will contribute to the richness of their reading experience.

  27. 27
    Nora Roberts says:

    ~Okay, I’ll admit that my first thoughts weren’t *exactly* as I posted them, because I wasn’t really worried about Candy’s ability to handle anything.~

    Ooh, ouch. Well, you don’t have to worry about me either.

    And next time, you can be right up front from the jump. I can handle that, too.

  28. 28
    Robin says:

    ~Okay, I’ll admit that my first thoughts weren’t *exactly* as I posted them, because I wasn’t really worried about Candy’s ability to handle anything.~

    Ooh, ouch. Well, you don’t have to worry about me either.

    And next time, you can be right up front from the jump. I can handle that, too.

    To be honest, I was primarily focused on the implication that that Candy was incapable of responding, and I didn’t really think beyond that point in your latter comment.  In all frankness, my initial comment was in reaction to the combination of your comment and Sarah’s, and the way hers shaped how I read yours (and vice versa).  Actually, your initial comment surprised me more than anything else.

  29. 29

    One person pointed out that she doesn’t “critique” books in the RITA judging as she does unpublished contest submissions.

    Robin, I haven’t read the original post you’re referring to here, but what she probably means is that in the RITA contest judges only give points and don’t comment on the entries. In most RWA contests for unpubbed authors, by contrast, judges do both; sometimes they’re even encouraged to make comments in the margins of the excerpts themselves.

  30. 30
    Nora Roberts says:

    Candy incapable of responding? Candy? Top snarky uber-bitch Candy might be incapable of making a response to me? You can’t be serious.

    I don’t know why you were surprised by my initial response, as Candy herself said she miss-blogged—if that’s a term. (No cookies for Candy)And my response to her response seems to have cleared all that up nicely.

    Robin, be straight. You indicated that you felt I couldn’t handle Candy’s comment. Then it’s initial comments and Sarah’s comment and latter comments. There’s really no need for all the backpeddling. It’s the Smart Bitches blog. You took a flick at me. I flicked back.

    We’re all Bitches here. We can all handle it.

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