Course Outline for Romance Writing

Week 1

Lesson 1- What Is a Romance Novel?

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!) We'll talk about why fulfilling reader expectations is so important, and you'll 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."

Lesson 2- The Elements of Romance

Next, we'll explore what's needed to create a romance that readers will come to again and again. We'll start by outlining a short list of romance classics that are as popular today as when they were first written. Then we'll pull one classic book off the class Keeper Shelf and use it to demonstrate the eight essential and three optional elements all romance novels should have in order to meet reader expectations.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Characters: The Heartbeat of Romance

Our third lesson introduces you to the heart of the romance novel—the characters. In this lesson, we'll talk about what readers expect from your heroine and hero, as well as your options for making your hero and heroine uniquely your own. We'll also explore how to use secondary characters to support your central story, and examine examples drawn from some favorite romances and romantic-comedy movies.

Lesson 4- Getting to Know Your Characters

Here, we 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.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

This lesson covers three concepts that serve as the bridge between character and plot development: goal, motivation, and conflict. Throughout the lesson, we'll create a character's GMC chart, noting story goals, the character's motivation, and the internal and external conflicts he or she faces. You'll see how developing the GMC chart provides information that will help you create plots that challenge your characters and satisfy your readers.

Lesson 6- The Basics of Plot

Now we're going to get to the meat of your romance: the plot. We'll discuss the difference between story plot and romantic plot, then take a look at the different kinds of romance plots that are common in the genre. Ultimately, we'll see how identifying your basic plot pattern can help as you're writing your romance.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Plotting 2.0

Today, we 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 you'll want to avoid as you're developing your plot.

Lesson 8- Scene and Sequel

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 we 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 we'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.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Emotional Appeal

Evoking emotion in readers is a key element in romance. Today, we'll discuss two tenets of romance writing along with various tools that will help you write emotionally packed scenes. Finally, we'll 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.

Lesson 10- Fiction Writing Craft I

Good writing is good writing, whether you're drafting a romance, a sci-fi adventure, or a thriller. In this lesson, we'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. We'll cover three crucial elements that are central to all fiction: dialogue, pacing, and point of view. We'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.

Week 6

Lesson 11- Fiction Writing Craft II

In this lesson, we'll continue our 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.

Lesson 12- After "The End"

After all your hard work, you'll finally be able to write "The End." But you're still not done! In this lesson, we'll discuss the steps writers need to take after they've finished the first draft of their manuscript. We'll learn about the need for revisions and editing, discuss the importance of critique groups and partners, and wrap the class up with tips on submitting your manuscript for publication.

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‘It was a terrific course. I will be sure to recommend Ms. Kissinger to anyone who is looking to get into the romance writing genre like I was!’

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