Online Class: Paranormal Romance Writing

This paranormal romance writing course includes the rules, what to include, what not to include, what makes a good story, and much more.

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  • 14
  • 30
    Exams &
  • 684
    have taken this course
  • 12
    average time
  • 1.2

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.


  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,187 votes)

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. 27 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Assignment 1 Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment 1B Suspension of Disbelief
  • Assessment: 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. Additional lesson topics: Writing tips 28 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Using Backstory in Your Writing
  • Assessment: 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
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 3 : Big Picture Thinking
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Quiz

Lesson Four: Paranormal Stereotypes and Clich├ęs

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

Lesson Five: The Supernatural, Magical Creatures

In this lesson, we will discuss the supernatural and magical characters in paranormal-themed romances. Additional lesson topics: Building Paranormal Characters; Paranormal Characters 27 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 5: Creating a Supernatural Character
  • Assessment: 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
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 6: Creating Your Hero
  • Assessment: 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
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 7: Writing Your Heroine
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Quiz

Lesson Eight: Plotting and Plot Maps

In this lesson, we will discuss the importance of plot mapping. Additional lesson topics: Fiction Factor 26 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete Assignment: Lesson 8: Plotting
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Quiz

Lesson Nine: Pacing

In this lesson, we will discuss the pacing in your novel. Additional lesson topics: Plotting Your Novel 45 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 9: Pacing Your Novel
  • Assessment: 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. Additional lesson topics: The Worst Book Ever; Writing Dialogue; How to Write Dialogue 45 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 10: Writing Dialogue
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Quiz

Lesson 11: Editing and Re-Editing

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

Lesson 12: Agents

This lesson will provide information about the role of agents. 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 12: Agent Research
  • Assessment: 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. Additional lesson topics: AgentQuery Database; Queries- The Inside Scoop 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 13: The Query Letter
  • Assessment: 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. Additional lesson topics: Random House: What I Look For in a Rough Draft; Recompose Magazine Submissions 220 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Course Completion Poll: Your Thoughts; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Assignment 14: The Final Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 14 Quiz
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

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.
  • Summarize thinking about the big picture.
  • Describe paranormal stereotypes and clichès.
  • Describe the supernatural, magical creatures.
  • Describe heroes.
  • Describe the heroine.
  • Summarize plotting and plot maps.
  • Describe pacing.
  • Demonstrate dialogue.
  • Summarize 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.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Paranormal Romance Writing
Course Number: 9770559
Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (1,187 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: October 2022
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.2 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: Dana Kristan
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $95.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "Love this course! It was so fun to get a better understanding of the paranormal romance genre from a writer's perspective rather than a reader's. The instructor is a very supportive, kind, and knowledgeable. Her lectures and assignments were interesting to read through and enjoyable to complete. She also provides many helpful supplemental links. This course helped develop my writing skills and motivated me to finish writing my novel." -- Tiffany A.
  • "I really liked this instructor." -- Amy P.
  • "I appreciate all your time and effort!" -- Kali W.
  • "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.