Online | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Fiction Workshop: Jumpstart Your Romance Novel

Whether you’ve never written a romance novel before, you want to write one that’s easier to pitch to agents and editors, or you just want in-depth professional feedback on your story and your writing style, this workshop is for you. As an acquiring editor of romance novels, I designed this course in hopes of helping you master—in six weeks—what can take many writers years to learn. After a quick overview of the romance genre, we will dive into crafting our own great love stories.

This workshop is appropriate both for writers who are in the middle of writing a romance novel manuscript, and to writers who are new to the genre and don’t even know what they’re going to write about yet! Either way, it’ll give you structure to develop a strong story idea and to write those all-important first two chapters. This course will use my One Note Card method of plotting, which I recommend for people who hate to plot.

My teaching style has been described as “low pressure, high information:” I aim for a positive and supportive vibe in classroom discussions, and I try to avoid putting you on the spot. I focus on demystifying the writing process and making it as simple as possible. In addition to offering constructive criticism, we will help you identify your biggest strengths as a writer so you can make the most of them.

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- A strong understanding of the romance genre

- Peer feedback on an “elevator pitch,” character arcs, basic plot, and one chapter of your novel

- In-depth written instructor feedback on one chapter of your novel

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students are expected to do the weekly assignments: an “elevator pitch” (title and one- to three-sentence description of the novel); a one- to two-sentence description of the character arc for each main character; a very basic plot; and the first drafts of two chapters of the novel (a chapter length of between 2,000 and 6,000 words is recommended).

Students will be expected to read and discuss some of their peers’ work and will receive verbal feedback from the instruction, as well as written feedback from the instructor on one novel chapter.


Week One: The Romance Novel: Subgenres, Tropes, Reader Expectations, Misconceptions, and Word Counts

Week Two: POV and Character Arcs; Workshop of Story Descriptions

Week Three: The “One Index Card” Plot; Workshop of Character Arcs

Week Four: Common Chapter One Mistakes; Workshop of One Index Card Plots

Week Five: Workshopping Chapters

Week Six: Workshopping Chapters; Discussion of Writing Momentum

Bryn Donovan

Bryn Donovan is a former executive editor in publishing and an author coach and book editor at She’s the author of several romance novels, including the #1 Publishers Weekly bestseller Sunrise Cabin, and ten children’s books. She was the creative producer of two Hallmark Channel movies, A Timeless Christmas and Christmas in Evergreen, and she’s written three reference books for writers. Her work has been published in Writer’s Digest, McSweeney’s, and Ploughshares. Bryn earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. She lives in Chicago and blogs about writing and positivity at


"...a warm-hearted, tender story about characters you will love to meet and a setting you won’t want to leave."

RaeAnne Thayne NYT bestselling author, review of SUNRISE CABIN

"This story surprises with twists and turns. The pace makes your heart race and adrenaline pump. The author draws each character so fully that you'll feel like a friend, too...praying for things to work out."

Reader Review of THE PHOENIX CODEX

"Love your low-pressure, high-information style."

former workshop student

"I left the first class full of inspiration and ready to write a great novel."

former workshop student