Write a Romance Novel

The course

Craft a story for readers to fall in love with.

Learn how to structure, write and pitch a romance novel with industry experts. You’ll master genre conventions and learn how publishing romance works while fine-tuning your writing, with detailed tutor feedback at each stage of the process. 

We’ll teach you how to write scenes that are relatable and real, but also provides the romantic fantasy readers are looking for. You’ll build emotional and sexual tension between you characters, and take them on a compelling emotional journey to their happy ever after (or Happy For Now).

This intensive 14-week online training will also offer insider insight into the publishing and submissions process for romance, and help you prepare a submission pack.

You’ll work in a small group of writers, guided through the process by USA Today bestselling author Heidi Rice (Mills & BoonHarlequinHarperCollins and more) plus industry guests.

Interested in this course? Join our waitlist.

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

Write a Romance Novel 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 your target market more effectively 
  • 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:

  • Master the basic form and conventions of commercial romantic fiction
  • Gain insider insight into the publishing and submissions process
  • Finesse your voice as a romance novelist 
  • Broaden your range of craft techniques pertinent to romance fiction, to write more believable protagonists and effective emotional turning points
  • Test your comfort zone when creating sexual and emotional tension in your writing
  • Discover how to develop your story arc using an effective balance of internal and external conflict between your main protagonists
  • Learn how to target your writing using greater judgement in the selection, development and realisation of ideas
  • Further develop the professional skills writers require (eg. discipline, attention to detail, ability to work to deadlines)
  • Increase your professionalism including giving effective feedback to other writers, receiving critical notes and revising your work
  • Build greater independence, autonomy and judgement as you work on a final assignment.

Each course is divided into sessions. These sessions are released one by one (weekly or fortnightly, depending on the course). 

There’s no need to log on at a set time. You can work through the learning materials whenever suits you, day or night, wherever you are in the world. Just complete the assignments and join forum discussions by the session deadline. 

Our teaching method is based on the science of active learning: you read/listen/watch, try out, share and reflect. It’s a social experience – you become part of a small group, feeding back on each other’s writing to build a supportive bunch of readers you trust. Find out more here.

Session 1: You and Your Protagonists – We’ll begin exploring the wide range of sub-genres in romance fiction and pinpoint where you feel comfortable as a writer. Then we’ll look at how bestselling authors create compelling, unique, multi-layered and believably flawed protagonists. Try your hand at creating a new couple, or introduce a couple from a novel in progress, working on how they relate to each other both sexually and emotionally. Your tutor will feedback on your protagonists.

Session 2: The Big Idea and First Meetings – Setting up an idea and how to engineer a couple’s first meeting to hook the reader into the story. We’ll focus on how to introduce the dynamic between protagonists and you will write a first meeting scene. You’ll also work on ways to hone your unique author voice and position it within the romance sub-genres. Your tutor will feedback on your first meeting scene.

Session 3: Plotting a Romance Novel – We’ll look at how to develop a whole story arc in the romance genre. Explore the relationship between your characters’ internal and external conflicts and understand the importance of emotional turning points when developing a story arc for your novel. You’ll practise creating powerful emotional turning points to power your plot. Your tutor will feedback on your emotional turning point.

Session 4: Crafting Effective Dialogue – Learn how to craft believable yet engaging dialogue exchanges between your characters. We’ll pay particular attention to the subtext revealed by point of view, and look at ways to use both physical and emotional cues. You’ll devote time to writing a dialogue scene that fundamentally changes the dynamic between your main characters. Your tutor will feedback on your use of dialogue.

Session 5: Compelling Love Scenes – First we’ll at the different heat levels available to you as a writer in the romance area, and at publishing conventions. We’ll focus on the art and craft of building sexual tension within a scene. You’ll explore your own comfort zone as an author and within the genre, while writing an initimate encounter between your characters. Your tutor will feedback on your scene.

Session 6: Publishing and Pitching – How the publishing and submission process works in romance, how to target your work to position yourself for success. Preparing a pitch, with a sample query letter and synopsis. There will be a live Q&A session with an industry professional. Your tutor will feedback on your synopsis.

Session 7: Quiet Writing Time – The final session is quieter, to give you time to work on your finished synopsis, your partial draft and query letters, and share drafts for peer feedback. At the end of the course, your tutor will provide feedback on your work (up to 3,000 words), including next steps.

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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