What’s this Romance MFA project? In a nutshell:

Creative Writing MFA + Romance Writing Course + DIY = RomanceMFA.com

I’m not the only one in the world who wants to write better, or the only one who wants to write romance for money, or the only one who wants to read the best classic romance novels. And yet, somehow, when I started looking for “romance writing MFA”, that wasn’t a thing. But it should be, right? So here we go.


Have you heard about a “DIY MFA”? Check out diymfa.com, where Gabriela Pereira posits that your typical MFA program boils down to the following equation: “Writing + Reading + Community = MFA”. That’s not too far off from Ray Bradbury’s advice for aspiring writers to write a short story a week and also read one short story, one essay, and one poem every night. In this era of indie authors, indie publishing, and the information supernova of the internet, it is more plausible than ever to bootstrap yourself an education, especially in a profession where the words you put on the page are more important than the letters behind your name. (Plus, I already have a master’s degree that isn’t doing much for me, and no plans for further educational debt.)

Designing a Romance Writing Course

I’ll be following the DIY MFA formula and using this website to share progress on my writing and reading.

Writing and Workshopping: Progress Reports and Author Resources

I think the writing part is relatively obvious. Write the sort of things you want to write better. For this category, I’ll be sharing my own writing progress as well as resources I find along the way. Word count tracking? Yes. Links to articles on the overlap between sex scenes and fight scenes? Yes. Forum discussion on what tropes and rules genre readers love and hate? Yes, yes, and yes.

Reading: Classic and Must Read Romance Novels

Romance is a prolific genre, and has been for a long time. Where to even start? I can’t admit how much time I spent working on my reading list and syllabus for this project, because my taller half will read this and shake his head sadly about my time management skills and obsessive tendencies when it comes to research. Rest assured that much research was done and that my reading list was not lightly chosen. From 18th century classics to classic bodice rippers of the 1980s, my syllabus covers about thirty novels and a handful of craft and literary analysis books. I am always curious to see your suggestions for what I’m missing. Alternatively, just follow along with the blog, as I’ll be posting about my selections as I read them.

Community: Connecting with other authors

I am already a member of a fiction writers’ group and have been an occasional crit writer at www.critters.org in the past but I hope to connect with other romance authors, both beginners and established. Plus I have some big ideas in my head for community building as the project gets going. Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook if you’d like to chat!