Fire & Ice Contest Rules

Please note that failure to comply with any of the rules will disqualify the entry, resulting in a forfeit of the entry fee.


  • The manuscript must be a romance as defined by the following:
    • A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as they want 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.
  • All work must be the author’s original work.
  • The author cannot have been published (including self-published) or contracted in novel-length fiction of 20,000 words or more since January 1, 2015.
  • Previous winners and finalists may not re-enter the same manuscript, even in edited format. They may, however, enter another manuscript.
  • The manuscript must have a projected length of 20,000 words or more.
  • Entrants may enter more than one manuscript.
  • Chicago-North RWA® members are ineligible.

Contest Rules


  • Entries will be accepted beginning February 1, 2020.
  • All entries must be received by 5 p.m. (CST) on March 1, 2020. Any entries received after this time will be returned and the entry fees forfeited.
  • The maximum number of entries accepted is dependent on available judges, but will not exceed 100.
  • Finalists will be notified on or about March 25. First round scoresheets and manuscripts will be returned at this time.
  • Each finalist will be given one week to make changes and submit revised manuscripts to the Fire & Ice contest coordinator. The deadline to submit a revised manuscript is 5 p.m. (CST) on March 31, 2020. If a revised manuscript is not received, the original manuscript will be used for final round judging.
  • Fire & Ice 2020 winners will be announced on May 1, 2020.

Entry Format

  • Each submission should consist of one (1) copy of a love scene, of any heat level, between the main characters of the manuscript, up to a maximum of 3,000 words. Label the start of the scene with the word “SCENE” on the line before the opening sentence of the scene.
  • In addition to the scene, an optional 150-word setup to the scene may be included in the document. Label the start of the setup section as “SETUP” on the line before the opening sentence and make sure it appears BEFORE the Scene section.
  • Any entries without a clearly identified SETUP section that exceed 3,005 words will be disqualified. If a SETUP section is clearly labeled, the total word count is extended to 3,155 words.
  • Entries must be submitted electronically as a .doc or .docx (MS Word) file.
  • The name of the file should be the same as the manuscript title.
  • A separate electronic entry form with signed waiver must be submitted for each submission. If the entry has more than one author, each author must submit an online entry form and sign the waiver.  (Note:  Printed name on the online entry form constitutes an electronic signature.)
  • The document title must be the title of the manuscript only.
  • All entries must adhere to the following standard recommended manuscript format:
    • 8-1/2″ x 11″ page size
    • Standard, easily read font (such as 12-point Times New Roman or Courier)
    • Double-spaced
    • 1″ margins
  • Each page of the entry, including the first page, must include the following header:
    • Title (upper left)
    • Page number (upper right)
  • CONTESTANT’S NAME MAY NOT APPEAR ON THE ENTRY. ANY ENTRY WITH THE CONTESTANT’S NAME WILL BE DISQUALIFIED AND THE ENTRY FEE WILL BE FORFEITED. NOTE: Microsoft Word stores the author name in its document properties. For instructions on how to remove your name from the document, search the Word help files or the Microsoft Office Support site for “Remove personal information from document” and look for the instructions that pertain to the version of Word you’re using. If you are using another word processor, do a similar search in the help files or support site.


  • There will be two rounds of judging for the Fire & Ice 2020 contest.
  • During the preliminary round, each entry will be scored by three judges, at least one of whom is a published author
  • Each entry will be scored out of a possible 100 points. The lowest score will be dropped and the two remaining scores will be added together for the Preliminary Combined Score.
  • The six entries with the highest Preliminary Combined Scores will advance to the Final Round to be judged by all six final round judges; however, no entry with a Preliminary Combined Score lower than 160 will advance. In the event of a tie, the dropped preliminary score will be added back in.
  • If the finalist does not return a revised manuscript by the deadline, the original manuscript will be sent to the final round judges.
  • Final round judges will rank the finalists in order from first to sixth. Points earned from each judge correspond to ranking as follows:
    • 1st place – 6 points
    • 2nd place – 5 points
    • 3rd place – 4 points
    • 4th place – 3 points
    • 5th place – 2 points
    • 6th place – 1 point
  • The points from all final round judges will be added together for the Final Combined Score.
  • The three top-scoring finalists will receive monetary prizes:
    • 1st place –  $75
    • 2nd place – $50
    • 3rd place –  $25
  • All finalists will receive a certificate.