Writing Romance

The course

Create characters for readers to fall in love with.

Learn how to write romance that’s raw and real, but also provides the romantic fantasy readers are looking for. We’ll teach you how to master the conventions of the genre, while building emotional and sexual tension between your characters that moves your readers.

This seven-week online training will help you create more dynamic and believable characters and show you how to take them on a compelling emotional journey to their happy ever after. You’ll work in a small group of writers, guided through the process by USA Today bestselling author Heidi Rice (published by Harlequin, Mills & Boon, HarperCollins and more). 

Heidi will offer detailed feedback to help you fine-tune your writing, plus insider insight on the publishing and submissions process.

Meet your course director

Heidi Rice

Heidi Rice is a USA Today bestselling author of 50+ romantic novels, novellas and short stories. She has sold over 3 million copies of her books worldwide and has finaled three times in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards. 

How it works

We give you the theory in the form of videos, podcasts, written lectures and reading extracts. In the case of our live workshops, this includes a live online seminar.

You put it into practice by completing the writing assignments.

You share your work with the small group of fellow writers and the teaching team.

Your tutor and fellow learners read your work and give professional-style feedback on your submission. Giving feedback notes helps to build your skills as an editor - a critical part of the writing process.

You reflect on the exercises with the group and share what you’ve learned.

You use what you learned from the feedback and discussions to review your work and improve it.

Things to know

Writing Romance is designed for people with some writing experience.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Have received rejections on romance submissions and want to learn how to tailor ideas for the market
  • Have great story ideas but would like to get better at structuring and planning
  • Are part-way through writing a romance and would like some guidance
  • Struggle to create compelling couples or want to write better meet-cutes
  • Are ready to increase the heat level in your writing
  • Would benefit from individual feedback on your writing from a USA Today bestselling author
  • Like experimenting with writing prompts and learning new craft techniques
  • Would like to develop new and more effective writing habits and routines
  • Enjoy the discipline of deadlines and peer feedback
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive small group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

This course allows you to:

  • Understand the basic form and conventions of commercial romance fiction
  • Explore your potential and practice as a romance novelist, and your unique author voice
  • Study how romance stories are structured and plotted, and how to create believable, motivated protagonists
  • Broaden your range of craft techniques pertinent to romance fiction, including in point of view, voice and dialogue
  • Experiment with creating sexual and emotional tension in your writing, and test your comfort zone when writing hot romance
  • Bring greater judgment in the selection, development and realisation of ideas
  • Employ greater technical proficiency in your writing
  • Further develop the professional skills writers require (eg discipline, attention to detail, ability to work to deadlines)
  • Increase your professionalism in working with others
  • Practise giving effective feedback to other writers and receiving critical notes
  • Build greater independence, autonomy and critical judgment as you work on a final assignment.

Session 1: Your Protagonists – We’ll begin exploring the wide range of sub-genres in romance fiction and look at how bestselling authors create compelling, unique and believably flawed protagonists. Try your hand at creating a new couple, working on how they relate to each other both sexually and emotionally.

Session 2: The First Meeting – How to set up a couple’s first meeting to hook the reader into the story while introducing the dynamic between protagonists. You will write a first meeting scene while considering which of the romance sub-genres you want to write in and how to hone your unique author voice.

Session 3: Plotting a Romance – We’ll explore the relationship between your characters’ internal and external conflicts and the importance of emotional turning points when developing the story arc in a romance. You’ll practise creating a powerful emotional turning point.

Session 4: Crafting Effective Dialogue – How to create believable yet engaging dialogue exchanges between characters, paying particular attention to the subtext revealed by point of view, and physical and emotional cues. You’ll try your hand at writing a dialogue scene that fundamentally changes the dynamic between your characters.

Session 5: Compelling Love Scenes – We’ll look at some of the different heat levels in romance novels and the art of building sexual tension. You’ll explore your own comfort zone as an author, while writing an erotic encounter between your characters.

Session 6: Write Your Own Story –This two-week final session gives you time to work on a longer piece of romantic fiction (between 2,000-3,000 words). Using techniques learned during the course, you can choose to focus on an opening scene, a more in-depth encounter or a complete short story. Your tutor will provide feedback on your work.

Join our alumni community 

After your course, you can join our online alumni community – a friendly group of writers supporting each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing. There’s no cost for this. It’s easy to access via the online classroom, where you can:

  • Revisit all your courses materials, including tutor notes, feedback, videos, podcasts and forum posts
  • Rejoin your classmates, and continue working together in a private space
  • Meet alumni from other courses to find beta-readers and share work on our critiquing forum
  • Network with other writers working in your genre or area of interest
  • Take part in regular ‘sit and write’ Zoom sessions, to push forward with your work-in progress
  • Join our monthly live alumni events with our expert tutors and industry guests, including agents, editors, publishers, competition and festival organisers, and prizewinning writers

Commission a report on your work
If you’d like to receive a personalised, detailed report on your final piece of writing from your course tutor, this is available at an extra cost. You’ll receive detailed written feedback assessing your ideas and writing, plus advice on what steps to take next.

Taking things further
If you’d like to continue on to another Professional Writing Academy course, please get in touch for more details.

The team

Meet your course team

Heidi Rice

All things romance

Heidi Rice is a USA Today bestselling author of 50+ romantic novels, novellas and short stories. She has sold over 3 million copies of her books worldwide and has finaled three times in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards. 

More about Heidi Rice

Course Alumni

Meet our writers

Sabine Marschner

Romance Alum, 2019

This course made me understand that my novel needed a much stronger emotional core to be interesting: gripping relationship developments, plausible character motivations, a convincing outer and inner plot to move it along. It was exactly what I had been looking for and, at the same time, showed me how little I was aware of the genre at all.

Read more

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