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How to Write a Summer Beach Read

With Priscilla Oliveras, USA Today Bestselling Author of 12 Romance Novels and Novellas

June 5, 12, 19, 26, 2023

8 to 10 p.m. Eastern (5 to 7 p.m. Pacific)

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It’s no secret that romance is the best-selling and most-profitable genre. But while many dismiss romance as formulaic, the “formula” actually challenges writers to develop characters and plotlines in unique ways, satisfying the reader and honing their own skills and talents.

Those who successfully meet this challenge may find their novels on their readers’ Keeper Shelves of favorite books and praised in social media posts featuring imaginative pics and rave reviews.

Penning a beach read involves creating characters that come alive on the page and stay rooted in readers’ hearts. It also requires a plot that keeps readers turning the page. You want your readers stretched out on a beach towel, ready for a nap in the sun, and finding they can’t put your book down. They’re racing with bated breath toward the requisite happily-ever-after but have no idea how you plan to pull it off.

In this class we’ll discuss and practice the tools you need to write a summertime favorite. One day you may spot a reader under an umbrella next to yours, lost in the pages of your latest beach read romance.

Here’s how the class will unfold.

Week 1: The Romance Genre & Reader Expectations


Topics: Introduction to the romance genre and subgenres; inclusivity and diversity in romance; Romance vs. Romantic Fiction; understanding the romance “formula” and reader expectations.


Class Activity: Dissect the romance plot in a popular romance novel or film.


Homework: Identify the essential and optional/incidental elements in your current manuscript, a romance on your Keeper Shelf, or a popular rom-com/romance film. Prepare to share during the next class.

References: A Natural History of the Romance Novel by Pamela Regis; “You’ve Got Mail,” rom-com film written by Nora and Delia Ephron.


Week 2: Character Creation Tools

Topics: Characters, the heartbeat of your novel, come in all varieties. We’ll dive into the tools you can use to create them, including character sketches, diaries, journals, and interviews. And we’ll dig deeper to discover the root causes of character traits, quirks, and behaviors.


Class Activity: Character creation tool practice.


Homework: Practice one or more of the character tools with the main characters in your current manuscript, a Keeper Shelf novel, or from a rom-com/romance film and prepare to share during the next class.


Reference text: Getting into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins.


Week 3: Goal, Motivation, Conflict (GMC)


Topics: Creating Internal and External GMC charts; which characters need GMC charts; the GMC sentence and pitching your novel.


Class Activity: Work on the GMC chart for one of your characters or a character from a favorite romance novel or rom-com/romance film.


Homework: Complete the GMC charts for the main love interests in your novel, a Keeper Shelf novel, or from a rom-com/romance film and prepare to share during the next class.


Reference text: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon.


Week 4: Plotting Tools


Topics: Plotting vs. Pantsing; Plot arc vs. Romance arc; Plot patterns and tropes; The Three Act Plot Structure, The Six Stage Plot Structure & More; Cause and Effect.


Class Activity: Writing plot/pitch sentences.


Homework: Practice writing the plot sentence(s) (1- and 2-line pitches) for your manuscript, a Keeper Shelf novel, or from a rom-com/romance film.

References: The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler; Michael Hauge,; Save the Cat by Blake Snyder; Story Genius by Lisa Crohn; Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes; The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger.


Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers.


Her books have earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist along with praise from O, The Oprah Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Frolic, and more.


She earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University where she currently serves as adjunct faculty while also teaching the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. A long-time romance enthusiast, Priscilla is also a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock.


Find out more at

$249 for 8 hours of instruction


June 5, 12, 19, 26, 2023

8 - 10 PM Eastern (5 to 7 PM Pacific)

Please note: Our classes are designed specifically for live participation, so your attendance is important. If you need to miss a class for any reason, you’ll receive a passcode-protected link to watch the recordings after the course is over.



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