Writing Romance - online course. Woman sitting in deckchair writing.

Writing Romance

Uncover the secrets of writing successful romantic fiction with USA Today bestselling author, Heidi Rice

Learn how to create more compelling characters and build real emotional – and sexual – tension. Find out how to set up a unique opening hook, master internal and external conflict, and write more convincing dialogue.

Perhaps you want to rethink your central couple, kickstart a new idea or inject more spice into your fictional relationships? Maybe you’ve received rejections on a submission and want to learn how to turn your work into something romance publishers will snap up.

Week by week this course will introduce you to the secrets of what makes bestselling romance tick as you develop new ideas, identify what works and what doesn’t in your romance writing, and learn practical ways to fix common problems. 

Over the seven weeks you’ll explore a diverse range of romance writing genres, including hot, historical and contemporary romance. You’ll receive individual feedback on your work each week from bestselling author Heidi. 

Heidi Rice is a USA Today bestselling author of 44 romantic novels, novellas and short stories for Harlequin/Mills & Boon, Harper Collins and more. She has sold over 3 million copies of her books worldwide and had her stories translated into 23 languages.


Start date: 5 September 2022
Duration: 7 weeks
Skill level: Intermediate
Session length: Weekly
Sessions: 6

Special early bird price
(Ends 4 August 2022)
Price: £358 £304 (inc. VAT where applicable)

Course Director

ALLi Partner Member

This course will help you to understand the conventions of writing bestselling romance for the professional market. It’s designed to be challenging and hard work, but lots and lots of fun.

It’s suitable if you:

  • Have a great story idea but don’t know how to develop it
  • Read romantic fiction and would like to test your potential as a writer
  • Have received rejections on your romance submission and want to learn how to improve it and turn your work into something publishers and agents in the genre will snap up
  • Would benefit from individualised feedback from a USA Today bestselling author on what works and what doesn’t in your romance writing
  • Are currently writing a romance novel but are stuck and want support and guidance to help you complete it
  • Have already written a romance fiction book but need help developing ideas for your next one
  • Want to broaden your toolkit of writing techniques and add emotional tension to your stories
  • Are ready to put your characters into more intimate situations and increase the heat level in your writing
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Pay as you learn

To help you get the most value from this course, you can spread the cost by paying in affordable instalments as you learn. Please get in touch if you’d like to do this.

As one of the biggest selling genres 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 14 years’ experience as a romantic fiction author and has sold over three million books worldwide. She is also an experienced teacher. As a USA Today bestseller and three-times RITA® award finalist, Heidi is an expert guide to the conventions and techniques you need to write vivid and engaging romantic stories.

You’ll learn how to create compelling protagonists and a unique opening hook to grab any agent or publisher’s attention, how to understand the relationship between internal and external conflict, how to build emotional (and sexual) tension, how to create convincing emotional turning points in your story to construct an engaging plot, and how to write authentic and compelling 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 while also getting individualised feedback from Heidi on your submissions.

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 and antagonists. You’ll try your hand at creating a couple while taking into account how they might relate to each other emotionally and romantically.
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 emotional dynamic between your characters.
Session 5: Writing compelling intimate 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 a more intimate 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.
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 small 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

You’ll need:

  • 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join our alumni
After your course, you can join our online alumni where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within our online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum and access an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other courses and groups and share your work for feedback on our alumni critiquing forum
  • Join in on discussions about reading, writing, editing and ideas on our general discussion forum. This is also where we share news and useful info
  • Retain access to our resources area, which has interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people online using the alumni area live chatroom. We also host live chats with guests here

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, we’ll give you a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

Writing tips from Heidi 

Why I love writing romance 

What our students say...

I’d like to say how much I’ve enjoyed this course. It has provided a structure for aspiring writers to find a creative ‘home’, to be able to connect with other writers. You have provided detailed content and structure with real tools to help us to grow. I particularly liked the detailed feedback you have provided each of us on an individual basis. The personal examples and the many others you provided are amazing, and to have continued access to the content – invaluable.


What our students say...

I have really enjoyed the course and working with the group. In particular Heidi’s input to the course exceeded my expectations — it’s been a great opportunity to learn from someone who really is an expert in the genre.


What our students say...

Thank you Heidi so very, very much for all your support and feedback during the course. I really appreciate you critiquing my work and also giving recommendations on how to proceed and improve my couple’s story. The course has been great. I’ve enjoyed it.


What our students say...

I found 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.


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