Romance Writing

How to make your readers fall in love with your novel

This course is ideal for: Writers keen to explore publishing opportunities in the romance genre.

You will:
 Learn how to write a romance novel that readers will love
 Understand the genres and subgenres within the industry
 Develop your ideas in ways that suit the romance market
 Discover what romance publishers want – and what they don’t
 Avoid the common romance-writing pitfalls
 Gain confidence and clarity on what publishing route to take.

“This course was brilliant! It provides clarity on what is and is not romance, and exactly how to write a story that includes romantic elements as well as how to write a romance that meets a romance reader’s expectations. If you want to write romance and you’re not sure where to start, do this course!”
Selina Shapland, Romance Writing graduate

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Key information
Key information:
This is an online self-paced course
This is an online self-paced course

Your 12 months' access begins straight away

Your 12 months' access begins straight away

Pamela Freeman
Pamela Freeman


Love to write swoon-worthy stories?

Romance is the biggest-selling genre of fiction. The biggest. That means there are many publishing opportunities available if your stories and ideas will appeal to this massive market. The key is understanding how the market works and what readers expect from their romance novels.

The genre focuses on emotional intimacy and vulnerability in the central relationship, which makes romance writing challenging in unique ways. Story structures are tight, it’s hard to be original, and characters must have depth and go on a satisfying emotional journey – as well as having a great plot!

Many people think it’s an easy genre to write. But romance writing is much more than a love story. 

There are very specific expectations set by both readers and publishers of romance novels. So it’s vital that you discover what they are. That’s where this practical course will help. We’ll equip you with the tools you need so you can write romance novels that sell, and carve out a successful career in the industry.

“This course is great for people wanting a greater understanding of the romance genre. DO IT! Your writing will never be the same again.”

Rae-Anne Whitehead, Romance Writing graduate

An overview

Romance is a big genre, but it has some key elements that define it. Are you writing a romance or a love story? And what’s the difference? In this course, you’ll discover the scope of the genre – including subgenres – and learn about the conventions and expectations of each one. 

Whether you’re writing a mainstream romance novel, a Regency romance, medical romance, ruro (that’s rural romance) or anything in between, it’s crucial to understand what your readers want from that genre. You’ll also learn about the difference between category and mainstream novels, and between short-form and long-form.

To succeed in the romance-writing world, you’ll also need to be familiar with the language of romance – the HEAs, the HFNs, the meet-cutes and the tropes. And to know what’s involved in different types of stories – fake marriage, second chances, billionaire’s baby, fish out of water, jilted bride or relationship coach – there are certainly a lot of story options!

Mastering the art of romance writing is also about understanding the different levels of intimacy that need to appear on the pages of your novel. Different subgenres demand different levels of heat.

Of course, at the heart of romance writing is an emotional and psychological journey. You’ll discover writing techniques for conveying vivid, deep emotions and physical reactions to your reader. You’ll also understand the need for a tight story structure and the marks a romance novel needs to hit in order to satisfy readers. Like how dark should the ‘Black Moment’ get? Do you really need ‘The Sacrifice’? What’s the relationship between the ‘False Victory’ and the ‘Second Pinch Point’? Does the ‘Dance of Attraction’ have to be a waltz? And where should ‘The Point of No Return’ go? We’ll help you with all this and more.

Importantly, you’ll also explore the different publishing routes available to you and determine the one that suits your story and your goals. 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What you need to know about the romance writing market.
  • The conventions, expectations and tropes of the genre and subgenres.
  • Whether your novel fits in a specific subgenre.
  • How to develop characters to help you create vivid, memorable stories.
  • How to convey vivid, deep emotions and physical reactions to your reader.
  • The key structural markers in a romance novel.
  • How to structure a series.
  • How to write a non-romance story (e.g. crime) with ‘romantic elements’.
  • The publishing opportunities available to romance writers.
  • How to find like-minded writers in the romance writing community.

And much more.

If you complete all the activities the course offers, you will be able to decide what kind of romance you want to write and will have gained the romance-specific insights you will need to write satisfying, ‘I-want-more’ stories to bring your readers back time and again.

In particular, you will have developed processes for:

  • creating believable and engaging characters who go on a fascinating journey together
  • centring emotional vulnerability and the journey to commitment
  • writing intimacy (physical, emotional, both)
  • planning a structure that will satisfy romance readers
  • deciding which form of romance your story should be
  • choosing your publication method and/or publisher
  • avoiding the most common mistakes made by romance writers.

“After completing the course, I’m now much more confident about the process of writing romance. Do it, you will learn a lot, the course is very practical and encouraging. Plenty to sink your pen into (so to speak!)”

Kristy Petrig

Graduates who have completed Australian Writers' Centre courses

Jenna knew she had to enrol in the Romance Writing course.
“I needed to have my checklist. This course – from the outline – is going to show me … have I checked all these boxes? Is the tension working? Have I got everything I need? And that's exactly how I used it.”

– Jenna Lo Bianco is author of The Italian Marriage.

Natalie Murray's latest novel is Love, Just In.

Michelle Upton is author of Emergency Exit Only and Terms of Inheritance.

Joanne Speirs is author of Second Chance Love in Point Perry.

“I can only praise AWC for this amazing course. I fully recommend this course to anyone wanting to write a romantic or romantic elements manuscript.”

Barbara Norris

How our “self-paced courses” work

This is one of AWC’s 35+ “self-paced” online courses. But what does that mean? Allow us to explain:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m a complete beginner. Will this course suit me?
A: Absolutely! This course will give you the information you need to decide if you want to write romance, and to get started. But, if you’re not confident in your writing skills, we’d also recommend our foundation fiction course, Creative Writing Stage 1, which will provide writing skills more generally. 

Q. I’m not sure if I want to write romance. Will this course help me decide?
A: Yes, it will. And even if you decide not to write romance, it will increase your writing skills in the areas of character and structure and writing intense emotions.

Q: I’ve already written my manuscript. Should I still do this course?
A: Is this your first romance novel? Your first complete story? In that case, yes, it will be useful to you. It will help with redrafting your story to hit all the right romance beats and enable you to deepen your characterisations and the emotional punch of your story.

If you’re an experienced romance writer though, you may prefer to hone your skills in our advanced workshopping-based courses like Write Your Novel and Edit Your Novel, where you’ll get advice from our tutors and mentors.

Q: Does the course cover how to write those extra steamy scenes?
A: Well…yes and no – we’re not going to give (ahem) blow by blow descriptions of how to do it, but we will talk about writing intimate scenes and how to approach the different levels of heat for different kinds of stories. 

Q: I’m looking to self-publish my books. Will this course be valuable?
A: It certainly will! First, (and maybe most importantly) it will help you write better romances, which is what will lead to reader loyalty. It will guide you in how to structure a series (a key element in successful romance self-publishing), how to find the romance community that will support you in self-publishing, and whether to write short- or long-form romance.

Q: Will the course help me if I’m writing a memoir?
A: No, not really. (But congratulations on having the kind of life that feels like a romance novel!) We recommend our foundation courses, starting with Creative Writing Stage 1, to gain the basic writing skills you’ll need, followed by Life Writing with Patti Miller once you’re on your way.

Q: Will the course help me with online dating?
A: Well…if you’re dating romance readers, it will give you something to talk about on that awkward first date! (And a LOT of people read romance…)

Key information
Key information:
This is an online self-paced course
This is an online self-paced course

Your 12 months' access begins straight away

Your 12 months' access begins straight away

Pamela Freeman
Pamela Freeman


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