A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - What Is a Romance Novel?
In the first lesson, you'll learn a simple definition for a romance and discover the hallmark element of all romance novels. (Think it's just a love story? Think again!) You'll learn about why fulfilling reader expectations is so important and get an overview of the subgenres found in romance to see where your idea might fit. Finally, you'll take a look at the romances that have really resonated with you—the ones you read over and over again—to discover what makes a "great" book "great."
Lesson 02 - The Elements of Romance
In this lesson, you'll explore what's needed to create a romance that readers will come to again and again. The lesson will begin by outlining a short list of romance classics that are as popular today as when they were first written. Then, you'll look at a classic book and use it to demonstrate the eight essential and three optional elements all romance novels should have in order to meet reader expectations.
Lesson 03 - Characters: The Heartbeat of Romance
The third lesson introduces you to the heart of the romance novel—the characters. This lesson will talk about what readers expect from your heroine and hero, as well as your options for making your hero and heroine uniquely your own. You'll also explore how to use secondary characters to support your central story, and examine examples drawn from some popular romances and romantic-comedy movies.
Lesson 04 - Getting to Know Your Characters
Here, you'll go deeper into characterization. You'll learn to use tools that will help you get to know your characters on a deeper level. Knowing your characters inside and out will help you make them come alive on the page and better reach the high level of reader satisfaction you want your romance to deliver.
Lesson 05 - Goal, Motivation, and Conflict
This lesson covers three concepts that serve as the bridge between character and plot development: goal, motivation, and conflict. Throughout the lesson, you'll create a character's GMC chart, noting story goals, the character's motivation, and the internal and external conflicts that they face. You'll see how developing the GMC chart provides information that will help you create plots that challenge your characters and satisfy your readers.
Lesson 06 - The Basics of Plot
Now you're going to get to the meat of your romance: the plot. The lesson will discuss the difference between story plot and romantic plot, and then you'll take a look at the different kinds of romance plots that are common in the genre. Ultimately, you'll see how identifying your basic plot pattern can help as you're writing your romance.
Lesson 07 - Plotting 2.0
This lesson will continue the discussion on plotting. Here, you'll explore the main components of a plotline and examine how to weave in subplots to enhance your main plot. You'll also see how you can organize your plot according to the Three Act Structure to ensure readers are eager to stick with it all the way to your HEA ending. Finally, you'll learn about some typical beginner's mistakes that you'll want to avoid as you're developing your plot.
Lesson 08 - Scene and Sequel
There's still more to be said about plotting! Here, you'll explore how the elements you use to build your plot form the basic structure you looked at last time. You'll start by examining how you'll use cause and effect to create believable events that draw the reader in. Then, you'll look at the building blocks of plot, scene, and sequel, and see how you can use them to structure the ebb and flow of your story.
Lesson 09 - Emotional Appeal
Evoking emotion in readers is a key element in romance. This lesson will discuss two tenets of romance writing along with various tools that will help you write emotionally packed scenes. Finally, the lesson will discuss the all-important topic of writing a sex scene—whether or not your story even needs one, and how you can ensure the scene moves your reader along with your characters.
Lesson 10 - Fiction Writing Craft I
Good writing is good writing, whether you're drafting a romance, a sci-fi adventure, or a thriller. In this lesson, you'll begin to look at the elements of a writer's craft that you'll need to master on your way to penning your romance. The lesson will cover three crucial elements that are central to all fiction: dialogue, pacing, and point of view. You'll examine examples of each in depth so that by the end of the lesson, you'll be ready to start applying what you learn to your own romance.
Lesson 11 - Fiction Writing Craft II
In this lesson, you'll continue your exploration of important elements of writing fiction: research, setting, mood, and tone. You'll learn why research is so important, how setting can reflect and even impact your characters, and how mood and tone contribute to the overall impact of your romance.
Lesson 12 - After "The End"
After all your hard work, you'll finally be able to write "The End." But you're still not done! This lesson will discuss the steps writers need to take after they've finished the first draft of their manuscript. You'll learn about the need for revisions and editing and the importance of critique groups and partners, and then receive some tips on submitting your manuscript for publication.