Writing a Romantic Novel
What is a romantic novel?
It’s usually a story in which boy meets girl, boy loses girl, then boy gets girl back again.
It always answers the question: who ends up with whom.
It should take the reader on an emotional journey in which elements such as mystery, horror, fantasy and adventure are secondary to the love affair which drives the story.
The story line of a traditional romantic novel is predictable to the extent that the reader knows the lovers must either end up happily united or be tragically parted. But it also needs to give the reader some surprises along the way. So a romantic novelist needs to be inventive and imaginative, while also observing the conventions of the genre.
These days, romantic fiction has a huge share of the book-buying market, and it covers an enormous variety of sub-genres. Mills and Boon, the archetypal publishers of romantic fiction, are seeking stories which focus on a developing love affair, end when the lovers find happiness with each other, and range from the sexually soft-focused to the explicitly erotic. Other publishers are in the market for romantic comedy, chick lit, literary romance, historical romance, vampire romance, Regency romance – variations on the traditional romantic story are endless, and new sub-genres of romantic fiction are being dreamed up all the time.
Your tutor will help you to work out what kind of romantic fiction will be right for you, and will guide and encourage you as you work in your chosen genre. You’ll learn how to construct a novel, how to create believable characters, and how to make them real to the reader by means of what they do and what they say. You’ll study narrative viewpoint, learn to write great dialogue, and you’ll find out how to keep yourself motivated if your enthusiasm begins to flag.
If you are new to writing fiction, writing a romantic novel offers the beginner an achievable challenge, and also provides this beginner with a framework in which to practise and to develop narrative skills, which can then be applied to any kind of fiction.
If you have finished the course before completing your novel, and you wish to continue working with your tutor, you can buy extensions to the course which allow you to continue by submitting additional chapters to your tutor.
Extensions can be purchased to cover either 3 or 6 chapters, and the process can be continued until your novel is finished.
Lesson 1: Introduction
Some definitions of romantic fiction. A summary of the most popular kinds of romantic fiction being published today. Writing the synopsis or outline of your novel, and some notes on planning.
Lesson 2: Plots
Plotting your novel - we show you how to construct a story. The benefits of planning. Some notes on using flashbacks, foreshadowing, sub-plots, and the relationship of fiction to real life.
Lesson 3: Characterisation
Some notes on heroes and heroines - what makes a good romantic hero and heroine, and what to avoid when creating heroes and heroines. We discuss other characters such as enemies, antagonists, mentors, and minor characters with walk-on parts.
Lesson 4: Dialogue
How to create believable dialogue which will entertain your reader and also take the action forward. The importance of telling the reader what he/she needs to know. We give you some technical notes on the presentation of dialogue and monologue.
Lesson 5: Narrative Viewpoint
Choosing the appropriate narrative viewpoint. The advantages and disadvantages of the traditional first and third person viewpoints, and some notes on variations of these.
Lesson 6: Structure, Settings, Sex and Senses
We give you some notes on the structure of a romantic novel, and tell you how to present your story to your reader. The importance of using appropriate settings. Does a modern romantic novel need to go into detail about sexual activity? We explain what you need to know. How to use the five senses to bring your story to life.
Lesson 7: Openings
We explain how to write the kind of opening which will engage your reader's attention from the start, and attract an agent's or publisher's interest, too. What needs to be in your first chapter, and what doesn't need to be there.
Lesson 8: Drama, Style and Humour
All romantic fiction needs drama. We show you how to write dramatic fiction, in an appropriate style for your chosen genre. Romantic comedy is very popular with readers, so we show you how to be funny in print.
Lesson 9: Pace and Tension
Romantic fiction needs to be fast-paced. Since the ending of a romantic novel is usually going to be fairly predictable, we show you how to build tension and keep your reader hooked.
Lesson 10: Middles
It can be difficult to write the middle part of a novel. The author knows how the story starts and how it ends, but the middle passages can be problematic. We show you how to deal with middle passage problems, and win through.
Lesson 11: Motivation
Why should anyone want to write romantic fiction? What do you do if your book seems to be going nowhere? We suggest effective coping strategies.
Lesson 12: The Romantic Hero and Heroine
The romantic hero and heroine are the most important characters in a romantic novel. They need to be charismatic, believable and likeable. We show you how to make your hero and heroine irresistible.
Lesson 13: Endings
We show you how to write a good ending which will delight and satisfy your reader.
Lesson 14: Conclusions
We tell you how to find a literary agent or a publisher. We discuss covering letters, synopses and the general presentation of your submission package. You need to make a good impression, and we explain how you can do it.
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