Up next:
Romance Writing II
Romance Writing I

Romance Writing I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

What’s more addictive than romance? Perhaps romance novels. They account for a hefty portion of all fiction paperback sales, with many millions of readers worldwide experiencing the thrills and heartbreaks of these ever-appealing stories. The field is more wide-open than ever, embracing romance in all its multifarious forms. 

To write successful romance novels, you must marry the skills of a fiction writer with a thorough understanding of the genre. Here you will learn about the various types of romance novels and their special requirements, as well as fiction craft and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write historical or contemporary, sassy or suspenseful, we’ll show you how to write romance novels readers will fall in love with.

About Romance Writing
Romance Writing I

I have a much deeper appreciation for the work of writing romance novels than I did before starting the course.

Kristine Nichols



The “romance” genre does not refer to any fictional work that contains romance; rather, it refers to novels where everything revolves around the love story. 

You may also work on a “romance” novel in a Fiction I or (at the advanced level) Novel II First Draft or Novel II Critique, or one of our other genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery.

If you’re working on a YA novel, you may take a Fiction/Novel course, or a “genre” course, or you may take a Children’s Book course, where the full spectrum of children’s books will be covered. 

Upcoming Classes

Masks are not required, but we’ll provide masks for those who want them. We are no longer requesting proof of vaccination.

More Covid details


Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.



This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of the romance genre, and gets you writing a romance novel. Course components:
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

Week 1
Introduction to Romance Writing: What is a romance novel? Types of romance novels. How to choose a type. Studying romance novels.

Week 2
Character: The heroic couple. The heroine. The hero. Character descriptions. Creating characters. Bringing characters to life.

Week 3
Conflict: Romance plots. Problems and solutions. Planning a plot. Cause and effect.

Week 4
Love: The developing relationship. Lust vs. love. Pulling the couple together and keeping them apart. Love scenes. Sexual tension. Finding the right resolution.

Week 5
Storytelling: Starting a story. Scenes and chapters. Story elements—narrative, flashback, suspense, pacing, foreshadowing, the switch.

Week 6
Point of View: Point of view types—first person and various types of third person. Which POV to use. Choosing the POV character. The author's voice.

Week 7
Dialogue: The benefit of dialogue. How dialogue is real but not real. Handling dialogue. Dialogue mechanics.

Week 8
Setting: How to choose a setting. Political correctness. Research.

Week 9
Revision: Reviewing your work. Tips for revision. Diagnosing romance novel “problems."

Week 10
The Business: The ins and outs of publishing. Self-publishing. The submission process. Agents and editors.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


Leigh Michaels
Leigh Michaels

Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 100 contemporary romance novels published by Harlequin Books, Sourcebooks, Montlake Romance, Writers' Digest Books, and Arcadia Publishing. More than 35 million copies of her books are in print in 25 languages. Six of her books have been finalists in the annual Romance Writers of America competition for Best Traditional Romance (the RITA contest). She is also the author of Creating Romantic Characters (PBL Limited), Writing Between the Sexes (PBL Limited), and On Writing Romance (Writers' Digest Books). She has taught at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, sponsored by the University of Iowa, and seminars and workshops sponsored by the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Ball State University. She holds a BA from Drake University.

Read more