I'm familiar with the 12 step outline process for heroic fantasy novels, but is there an equivalent outline structure for Romance novels? By this I mean novels like those produced by Nicholas Sparks, not highly erotic adult novels.

  • 5
    A and B meet. A and B fall in love. Optional: A and B enjoy snugglebunnies. Obstacle gets between A and B. A and/or B overcome obstacle. Omnia vincit amor. Oct 24, 2013 at 9:56
  • @Lauren, this is really an answer, not a comment. Just because it's quick doesn't mean it should be a comment.
    – MGOwen
    Feb 17, 2014 at 23:52
  • I'm not familiar with the "12 step outline process for heroic fantasy novels". Could you point out a good source?
    – user5645
    Feb 18, 2014 at 10:56
  • @what Maybe the OP meant the Hero's Journey? Feb 18, 2014 at 17:49
  • But that's not outlining in twelve steps (e.g. "first you write down the beginning, second you write down the end, third you list your characters, ..."), but a plot with twelve stages.
    – user5645
    Feb 18, 2014 at 18:41

3 Answers 3


A and B meet. A and B fall in love. Optional: A and B enjoy snugglebunnies. Obstacle gets between A and B. A and/or B overcome obstacle. Omnia vincit amor.

(since it was requested that I turn this into an answer)

  • 4
    You should turn it into a comment ;) Feb 18, 2014 at 20:17
  • @JohnSmithers Poof! It's a comment. I traveled back in time to October and posted it above. :P Feb 18, 2014 at 20:55

I found a good structure for Romance novels in the book Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. It's available on Amazon. She lays out a four-part structure with five key beats per section. I've found it useful in thinking through all the in-betweens of boy-meets-boy, boy-loses-boy, boy-gets-boy-in-the-end.


Firstly you should have in my mind what you want to write about. Try to imagine the characters; their names and how they look like. Try to imagine what type of individual each character it is. Start with a few topics that later will be developed into many why, where, how and what and because. Don't be afraid to google synonyms. Try to write small sentences or paragraphs. And read other heroic fantasy novels. Imagine some sort of conflict. There is no perfect formula for this. Try to build details about your story. You should also find a writing routine that works for you. Do some research. Use the library. When you feel ready, sit down and begin writing the first draft of your novel. Set small goals to keep yourself motivated. Practice self-editing. Print out your novel and read it aloud :) Consider trying to publish your novel.

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    Welcome to Writers! While your answer is good general advice for writing fantasy novels, the question asks about outlining systems for romance novels. Feb 17, 2014 at 22:54
  • I'll keep that in mind
    – Ana Maria
    Feb 17, 2014 at 22:57
  • Actually I think that is a good base for a novel.There is no actual system, only interpretation from each person.I mentioned a possible process of writing for the outlining system. So I don't agree with you Neil Fein. And thank you for the welcome part. Have a good day.
    – Ana Maria
    Feb 18, 2014 at 14:11

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