Romance Writing

Master the tools and techniques needed to hone your craft as a successful romance novelist. This course will broaden your skills and allow you to pen a romance novel that meets and exceeds your readers' expectations.
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6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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Romance is the #1 selling genre in mass-market fiction with readers clamoring for more! To pen a novel romance readers' love, you'll need to understand how to meet and exceed their expectations. Whether you're a new or experienced writer, this course will help you broaden your skills and understand exactly what makes a romance reader finish a book with that "Ahh" of satisfaction. You will start by learning about the genre of romance and exploring why you fell in love with your favorite romance novels. You will explore how to craft three-dimensional characters your readers will love and how to weave a plot so your story grabs the reader's interest from page one. You will gain valuable techniques—your "romance writer's toolbox"—to apply to your own manuscript.

You will also spend a couple lessons looking at and practicing elements important for any writer to master: setting, pacing, point of view, dialogue, research, mood, and tone. You will take on fun assignments that will help you hone your craft. By the time you finish, you'll be able to pick up a book and figure out what makes it a best seller, or why it's been called a classic, or why it appealed to you as a reader. Even better, you'll have mastered tools and techniques so you can add those same elements to your own writing.

What you will learn

  • Examine the elements all romance novels should incorporate to meet readers' expectations and begin to plan how to incorporate these elements into your novel
  • Learn what readers expect in your hero and heroine and to know how to use secondary characters to support your main story
  • Learn to use character-building tools to deepen your characters
  • Learn the role goal, motivation, and conflict play in tying together character and plot
  • Learn the elements of a basic romance plotline, how to plot using the Three Act Plot structure, and beginner's mistakes to avoid
  • Learn about scenes and sequels and how they link together to carry your characters through the plotline
  • Understand how to use point of view, dialogue, and pacing
  • Discover how research, setting, mood and tone enhance the appeal of your romance
  • Learn about the importance of editing, revising, having a critique partner or critique groups, and manuscript submission

How you will benefit

  • Broaden your skills and help you understand what makes a romance reader finish the book with satisfaction
  • Master tools and techniques needed to add the same elements to your own writing that appeal to you as a reader

How the course is taught

  • Instructor-led online course
  • 6 Weeks access
  • 24 course hours

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Priscilla Oliveras has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her debut novel, His Perfect Partner, is an October 2017 release with Kensington Zebra Shout. A long-time active member of Romance Writers of America, she currently serves as the PRO Liaison on the national board. She's a four-time Golden Heart finalist who has won multiple contests and writes contemporary romance novels with a Latino flavor. Priscilla has lectured on college campuses, presented for local writers groups, penned multiple articles on her craft, and completed five romance novels. Sharing her love of the written word and the information she's gleaned over the course of her writing career is one of her greatest passions.

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other:

  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two 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 two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.