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Paranormal Romance Writing


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Course Description

Paranormal romance is all the rage lately. From books to movies, sexy vampires and gothic love stories are blazing up the bestseller lists and hitting the top of the box office.

Paranormal romance falls under the umbrella term 'speculative fiction' which is just a term that encompasses fiction genres that are more fantastic, like science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal, among others.

You may enjoy reading these books and watching these movies so much that you are sure you could write one yourself--or at least you are interested in trying. But just liking the genre isn't enough to make you a paranormal romance writer. You need to know more about paranormal romance writing and what it entails--the rules, what to include, what not to include, what makes a good story, and much more...that's where this class can help.

Defining the Term

Paranormal. That word is bandied about quite a lot, but what is the definition? Dictionary developer Merriam-Webster states that the word paranormal means "not specifically explainable: supernatural." 

Anything defined as "not specifically explainable" leaves one a lot of wiggle room. Yes, there are rules to writing a paranormal romance, and this course covers those rules. But before you start this course, you just need to know that when you write, you must keep in mind that the paranormal romance is much different from any other type of fiction precisely because of that very definition.

In other genres, authors must explain their plot happenings either along the way or wrap them up in a tidy bow at the end, with a plausible explanation. If they did not, their readers would no longer be their readers.

Think about it: If you are reading along in a great mystery and at the end all those unexplained plot twists and cliffhangers were left unexplained, wouldn't you feel cheated? Of course! We read those books so that we can feel a bit challenged, try to work out for ourselves what is going on, and then be rewarded at the end with a great explanation or a bit of fanfare that we have figured it out on our own.

With a paranormal work, there is less of a pressing need to explain all the happenings away; if we did, we would no longer be writing a paranormal work. Now this is not to say that you will be writing books with ghosts, goblins, vampires, and the like, allowing them all to run around willy-nilly with no consequences or explanations at all. No, quite the contrary, you get to make up the explanations. This is called "suspension of disbelief."
 

Suspension of Disbelief

For those who have not heard the term before, suspension of disbelief, or the "willing suspension of disbelief," is simply the way one justifies reading, hearing, or seeing the fantastic or nonrealistic elements in a work. This completely applies to the entire paranormal genre, including the paranormal romance.

Here we can have a woman fall in love with a werewolf, as in the movie Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro, and have our audience come along for the ride, rooting for both these crazy kids to just get it together and make it work. Yes, the audience knows there is no such thing as a werewolf; and if there were, there is no woman out there really willing to take up this arduous task, including chaining him up during a full moon, cleaning up all that pesky pet hair, dealing with the idea that her hubby may just mistake her for a juicy steak one night, never being able to enjoy a romantic evening during a full moon, having to cancel her plans several times a month or year, whenever the full moon shows up on the calendar, in order to make sure her husband does not get out and kill the neighbors. Even so, for just a few hours we can lose ourselves in these books and enjoy the moment, as we suspend our disbelief and just give ourselves over to the story.

This is what you must create. You must create a world into which your reader will willingly go, one in which he or she will shed that disbelief at the door and crawl deeper and deeper into your narrative, staying there until the denouement.

Remember, there are no new ideas under the sun; it has all been done. However, the new twists and turns you create for your characters are new. The world, the characters, the conflicts, and motivations you create are yours, and should be uniquely so. While there are not really any new ideas on the paranormal romance out there, the world you create will be your own. Make your readers love it and want to stay there as much as you do.   Make them wait breathlessly for your next book!

In Summary

This class is designed to help you do just that. One hopes that you already have an idea, or the tiny seedling of an idea, for a paranormal romance somewhere deep down inside. Over the course of this class you can develop it, nurture it, and at the end, come away with something you can send to an agent.


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Course Lessons

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Lesson One: The Popular World of the Paranormal Romance

In this first lesson, we will define paranormal writing and the technique of the suspension of disbelief. 31 Total Points
  • Complete: Assignment 1 Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment 1B Suspension of Disbelief
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Quiz

Lesson Two: The Elements of a Paranormal Romance

In this lesson, we will discuss the paranormal genre, originality, and the elements of paranormal romance. 28 Total Points
  • Review Article: Writing tips
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Using Backstory in Your Writing
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Quiz

Lesson Three: Thinking About the Big Picture

In this lesson, we will discuss how paranormal writing should be shaped by the big picture of the storyline. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Assignment 3 : Big Picture Thinking
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Quiz

Lesson Four: Paranormal Stereotypes and Clichès

In this lesson we will discuss the cautionary tips of writing in this genre and the stereotypes encouraged by the media. 26 Total Points
  • Complete: Assignment 4: Clichés and Stereotypes
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Quiz

Lesson Five: The Supernatural, Magical Creatures

In this lesson, we will discuss the supernatural and magical characters in paranormal-themed romances. 27 Total Points
  • Review Article: Building Paranormal Characters
  • Complete: Assignment 5: Creating a Supernatural Character
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Quiz

Lesson Six: Heroes

Writing your hero is one of your biggest challenges and one of the elements that can make or break your novel. In this lesson, we will discuss the challenges and how to successfully develop your heroes and heroines. 25 Total Points
  • Review Article: 5 Traits of the Hero
  • Complete: Assignment 6: Creating Your Hero
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Quiz

Lesson Seven: The Heroine

Today's paranormal romance heroines tend to be a bit spicier and a bit tougher than those in days gone by, and certainly a bit more kick butt than their 'typical romance' counterparts. 25 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Paranormal Characters; Writing Tips
  • Complete: Assignment 7: Writing Your Heroine
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Quiz

Lesson Eight: Plotting and Plot Maps

In this lesson, we will discuss the importance of plot mapping. 26 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Plot Diagram; Fiction Factor
  • Complete Assignment: Lesson 8: Plotting
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Quiz

Lesson Nine: Pacing

In this lesson, we will discuss the pacing in your novel. 45 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Keep the Story Moving; Plotting Your Novel
  • Complete: Assignment 9: Pacing Your Novel
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Quiz

Lesson 10: Dialogue

The dialogue in your novel is an essential element, and this lesson will discuss the writing techniques that should be used to help create this element. 45 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: How to Write Dialogue; The Worst Book Ever
  • Review Video: Writing Dialogue
  • Complete: Assignment 10: Writing Dialogue
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Quiz

Lesson 11: Editing and Re-editing

This lesson will discuss the importance of editing and re-editing. 36 Total Points
  • Complete: Assignment 11: Editing
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Quiz

Lesson 12: Agents

This lesson will provide information about the role of agents. 40 Total Points
  • Review Article: Finding an Agent in our Directory of Literary Agents
  • Complete: Assignment 12: Agent Research
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Quiz

Lesson 13: Query Letters

Writing a query letter is an art form. It is important to know what to include in each one and to make each one unique. 40 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: AgentQuery Database; Queries- The Inside Scoop
  • Complete: Assignment 13: The Query Letter
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Quiz

Lesson 14: Putting It All Together

In this final lesson, we will review and put together the puzzle of writing the paranormal romance novel and finding an agent. 220 Total Points
  • Review 3 Articles: Literary Agents; Random House: What I Look For in a Rough Draft; Recompose Magazine Submissions
  • Take Poll: Course Completion Poll: Your Thoughts
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Assignment 14: The Final Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Quiz
  • Complete: The Final Exam
634
Total Course Points

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: Paranormal Romance Writing
Course Number: 7550558
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Category:
Course Type: General Education
CEU Value: 1.0 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Melissa Behrend
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $90.00

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Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe the popular world of the paranormal romance.
  • Describe the elements of a paranormal romance.
  • Know thinking about the big picture.
  • Describe paranormal stereotypes and clichès.
  • Describe the supernatural, magical creatures.
  • Describe heroes.
  • Describe the heroine.
  • Know plotting and plot maps.
  • Describe pacing.
  • Demonstrate dialogue.
  • Know the necessary processes of editing and re-editing.
  • Describe the process of finding an agent for your work.
  • Demonstrate how to create a proper query letter for a prospective agent or publisher, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
 
 

Student Testimonials

  • "Another GREAT class by a GREAT instructor!" -- Donna N.
  • "I liked reading the exercise then being directed to further resources; I found this very helpful." -- Jennifer M.
  • "I enjoyed completing the paranormal romance class and look forward to completing the novel writing class. You are very encouraging. Something that, I for one, appreciated entering into the writing world. There wasn't a part of this course which wasn't helpful. Throughout this course I used the techniques that I learned and have written a novel. Now I just need to edit the novel." -- Vanessa B.

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