Introduction to Writing Romance: online course

Is your fiction feeling a bit tired? Would you like to freshen up your characters and inject some romance and spice into your stories? This seven-week online course will introduce you to the secrets of writing bestselling romance, helping you develop ideas, create effective plots and compelling characters and relationships. It will also teach you key critiquing techniques to hone your editing eye.
  • For writers looking to explore the genre and develop their craft.
  • Take the professional approach to becoming an author in a supportive and creative community.
  • Learn flexibly in our online classroom – designed by writers for writers.
  • Prepare to be challenged and pushed.

Home PageOnline CoursesIntroduction to Writing Romance

Introduction to Writing Romance

Course Director:  Heidi Rice

Starts Monday 3 July 2017: £350, $500 Book your place now

Learn to write romance fiction with USA Today bestselling author, Heidi Rice

As the biggest selling genre in the adult-fiction market, romance fiction today is all about smart, fresh, up-to-date and endlessly diverse storytelling.

Course director and tutor Heidi Rice has 10 years’ experience as an author of romance fiction and has sold over two million books worldwide. She is also an experienced teacher.

As a USA Today bestseller and three-times coveted RITA® award finalist, Heidi is well placed to introduce you to the conventions and techniques you need to write vivid and engaging romantic stories, and to ways of working with a range of heat levels.

You’ll learn how to create compelling heroes and heroines and a unique opening hook, how to understand the relationship between internal and external conflict, how to build sexual and emotional tension, and how to write convincing dialogue.

As you work through each weekly session you’ll collaborate with a close-knit team of fellow writers to develop the tools you need to explore your own potential within this evocative, exciting and constantly evolving genre.

This course is designed to be challenging and hard work, but lots and lots of fun, with everyone staying in their own comfort zone.

READ Heidi’s blog: Why romance fiction isn’t a naughty secret

Who is this course for?

This course will teach you the secrets of writing bestselling romance. It’s suitable if you:

-Are writing romantic fiction and would like to broaden your palette of writing techniques.

-Are keen to add emotional tension to your stories.

-Are ready to put your characters into more intimate situations and increase the heat level in your writing.

-Read romantic fiction and would like to test your potential as a writer.

-Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners.

-Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course.

Video: introduction from the Course Director 

How will I learn?

We teach this course in our online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can fit learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a group of learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the weekly sessions.
You’ll learn from:

-Videos from Heidi Rice and other writing experts.

 -Written guidance from Heidi explaining the conventions and techniques of romantic fiction.

-Reading extracts carefully selected to help you understand what works – and what doesn’t – in this genre.

-Reading and viewing lists from Heidi.

-Short quizzes to help you think about your own writing and test your learning.

-Samples of Heidi’s writing plans and drafts of her novels to show how successful authors develop characters and plot stories.

-Exercises to help you experiment and practise your own writing, from the first session onward.

-Online discussions with writers in your group and the chance to share and give feedback on each other’s writing.

What will I learn? 

SESSION 1: Heroes and heroines
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 heroes and heroines. You’ll try your hand at creating a hero and heroine while taking into account how they might relate to each other both sexually and emotionally.

SESSION 2: The first meeting
We’ll look at how authors set up their couple’s first meeting to hook the reader into the story while introducing the dynamic between their protagonists. You will write a first meeting scene while considering which of the various romance sub-genres you want to write in and how to begin developing 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 an emotional turning point.

SESSION 4: Crafting effective dialogue
We’ll examine how authors create believable and yet engaging dialogue exchanges between their characters, paying particular attention to the subtext revealed by their 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: Writing compelling sex 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 the time to try writing a longer piece of romantic fiction (2,000–3,000 words). Using techniques learned during the course, you can choose to write a short story, an opening scene or a more in-depth encounter.

What happens after the course?

-Course materials will be available for a fortnight after the course finishes.

-You will have the opportunity to receive feedback on your final exercise (for an extra fee).

-You will have the option to join our alumni area to continue working in your group and reviewing your course discussions.

£350, $500   Book your place now


Heidi Rice photo by Anne Mortensen

Author photo: Anne Mortensen

Heidi Rice is a USA Today bestselling author of 24 romantic novels, novellas and short stories. She has sold over two million copies of her books worldwide, had her stories translated into 23 languages and has finalled three times in the Romance Writers of America’s® prestigious RITA® awards that recognise excellence in romance writing. Her first women’s fiction novel, So Now You’re Back, was published in February 2016 by Harlequin Mira UK and described by one Amazon reviewer as ‘a sheer delight’.

Heidi worked for 20 years as a film journalist for, among others, Radio TimesWhat’s on TV and Daily Mail. She has run numerous library workshops on writing romantic fiction including at Islington Council’s Word Festival in 2013 and has worked as a reader for the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme. She loves to share her in-depth knowledge of this fascinating and diverse genre with new and aspiring authors.



Heidi Rice was fantastic. Truly. She gave wonderful, detailed critiques of all our work, and it was always exciting on a Monday afternoon to receive the email from her. She clearly took great care with her notes, and evidently a generous amount of time to understand each of our characters. This all came together to help us improve and move on with our stories. Her words are really what boosted me. She was encouraging to all of us throughout, and the videos at the beginning of each module were incredibly helpful and inspiring.

I am only 22, and I was worried that I would be inexperienced and feel behind the others during the course. But, what I found was that the range of people enrolled on the course created an environment filled with all sorts of skills, levels and genres, which created a brilliant forum of critique. From the first post, I felt accepted in the group and happy to share my work.

I’ve really enjoyed the course and it’s a shame this course has come to an end – I want to keep thinking about my characters and their relationship. I really appreciate Heidi’s critiquing of my work and recommendations on how to proceed with and improve my story.

The critiquing seems scary at first but I think it becomes much more intuitive once you’ve got the ball rolling. The guidelines we receive at the start of the course really help. I learned as much from reading and critiquing other people’s work.

This online course has allowed me to start writing in a structured way without having to physically attend a venue – which has always been my barrier to date.


£350, $500   Book your place now

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