How to Write Romantic Fiction (Beginner)

Monday 23 September
£ 445.00 - early bird discount!

This course is an all-encompassing introduction to romantic fiction and is designed for writers who are just starting to explore writing romance novels.

Have a great love story in mind?


In this romantic fiction course, you will learn all the elements of writing romance. You’ll begin by looking at the romantic spark which will kick off your novel and provide the basis of your plot. You’ll get to know your main characters, including your romantic lead and the people getting in their way, and you’ll write the all important ‘meet-cute’. You’ll look at setting and it’s importance as both a character and a plot point in your romance novel. At the end of the course, you’ll come away with an edited first chapter and a plan for where you want to take your story next.

This twelve-week course is ideal for people who have done no formal training or courses who want to learn the basic skills of structuring and writing romantic fiction. Your tutor will read up to six assignments of your writing, and you will receive personalised feedback from her on your writing and potential next steps.


Book your space by Friday 12 July to take advantage of our early bird discount!
Start date

Monday 23 September





12 weeks (please see course schedule below)



£495 £445 early bird discount

This course will teach you how to…


  • Find the perfect setting for your romance novel
  • Develop your ideas into a short synopsis that sets up the bare bones of the novel
  • Consider the chemistry, compatibility and romance between your protagonists
  • Explore the moment your lovers-to-be meet, and what makes a great, memorable first meeting
  • Write and edit the first chapter of your romance novel.
Online course

Course programme

Module one – Understanding the genre

In this module we will examine what romance means, including sub-genres like rom-com, romantasy, and uplit. We’ll look at the tropes and essential building blocks of the genre, and examine what the current market is like for romantic fiction by analysing several recent bestsellers and new publishing deals. We’ll take a look at cross-genre work as well.


Module two – Concept

Here we will look at the choice of story or concept, which is absolutely key for selling a book. We’ll break down the lead characters, world and setting, central dilemma or goal, obstacles, and work on crafting a really compelling hook. We’ll also explore ideas of high-concept fiction and how to create big ideas that attract big book deals.


Module three – Characterisation

Perhaps the biggest element in whether a romance novel is works is if the characters are likeable, appealing, and whether we root for them to get together. Here we will look at creating not one but two compelling characters who need to end up together no matter what.


Module four – Putting it together

In this module we’ll look at the building blocks for your novel. What will the structure be – what viewpoints will you use? Will you play with chronology and timelines, or tell the events in order? Will there be any devices, such as emails, social media, diaries etc?


Module five – Style: adding romance, humour, and spice

Anyone can plot out a story, but creating warmth, humour, and engagement is much more challenging. Here we will look at style, and how to add humour, sizzle, jeopardy, or warmth, depending on what kind of story it is you’re telling.


Module six – Keep the pages turning

One challenge with romance can be in keeping the reader engaged, when they probably have a good idea how that this couple are going to end up together no matter what. We’ll look at how to create suspense even with a ‘predictable’ ending, playing with structure, viewpoint, and mystery, as well as twists and reveals. We’ll also look at plotting out a romance novel and what beats it should hit.

Live sessions

There will be two live sessions for this course, which will take place over Zoom.

Zoom one: Monday 23 September, 6.30-7.30pm BST

Zoom two: Monday 2 December, 6.30-8.30pm GMT

The feedback I received from my course tutor was so valuable — constructive and encouraging.

Morwenna Rogers

Why study with National Centre for Writing?

National Centre for Writing has been supporting writers to develop their craft for over 25 years. Our online tutored courses are developed in partnership with University of East Anglia, home to the prestigious School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, which boasts award-winning alumni including Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Anne Enright. Our course tutors are all published writers, many of whom have studied or taught at UEA themselves.


While there are many online courses available to you across the world, ours are unique in offering:

  • One-to-one feedback on up to six assignments, directly from your course tutor
  • A tailored learning experience with 15 students maximum
  • Flexibility to progress through the course anywhere, any time
  • Support and structure to develop a writing routine
  • Skills and knowledge to improve the craft of writing
  • Confidence in your ability as a writer
  • Opportunity to join our NCW Alumni, an international network of like-minded writers and translators.

Meet the tutor

Claire McGowan (Eva Woods)


Claire McGowan writes romantic fiction as Eva Woods. She is the author of eight romantic fiction books, including the Kindle bestseller How to be Happy.  She has taught creative writing and has written for Glamour, Grazia, Marie Claire, Stylist, the Irish News and more. As Claire McGowan, she writes crime and literary fiction, as well as plays. She has recently passed over one million book sales.

The format of the course really suited me, with feedback from the tutor on six pieces of writing, plenty of very high-quality online content, a horizon-expanding reading list and face to face sessions to meet the tutor and other students online.

Fiona Gell

How does this course work?

We have partnered with digital learning platform Teachable to host our self-paced courses. The platform is accessible across a range of devices, simple to use, and does not require any specialist equipment.

We want to make sure that you get the most out of our tutored online courses and feel confident that you’re choosing the right course. Each course contains a mixture of teaching content, reading to prompt discussion, writing exercises for you to hone your skills, and group and one-to-one feedback.

Click to read more about how they are structured and what equipment you may need.

Find out more

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If you still have questions, get in touch with the learning team by email [email protected] or phone (+44) 01603 877177 between our working hours of 9am – 5pm BST, Monday to Friday. We’re here to help!

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