Romance is a highly sought-after genre of fiction as it dives into one of the most desired things among the human race: love. Creating a romance can be a real whirlwind of an experience, so it’s a good thing there are so many great romance writing prompts out there.
Even those who claim to only read horror, or the totally die-hard, all-in, Comicon-every-weekend sci-fi fans, are secretly a sucker for a good romance once in a while. Writing an authentic, believable romance novel requires you to dig deep inside yourself and pull out some emotions. It requires vulnerability which can be scary to some writers, causing them to avoid it altogether. Writing romance isn’t for everyone, but it is a good skill to have. Even if your main plot is as far away from romance as one could ever imagine, you may want to include a romantic subplot. Or, at least have a little love triangle going on.
People crave love. Adding some love to your book, regardless of the main genre, is often a smart move. It is one more thing that keeps readers engaged and has them emotionally investing in the characters. So, whether you are looking to write the world’s next big love story or you just want to spice up your supernatural thriller, here are some great romance writing prompts to get you started.
Romance Writing Prompts for a Romance Novel
While romance can pop up in almost any book of any kind, there still is an entire genre dedicated to straight romance. Here are some romance writing prompts to get your epic tale of crazy love started.
Character Driven Romance Writing Prompts
These prompts are simple, character-centered base ideas that can be taken in any direction you want. These plot starters are at the center of many successful romance novels:
- Best Friends. The characters start out as best friends but eventually decide to start a relationship. This can either be a happily ever after or a terrible idea.
- Enemies. The characters begin as enemies. At some point, they are forced to spend time together and begin falling in love.
- Unhappy Ending. Two people are crazy for each other, but can’t ever be together due to circumstances out of their control.
- The Break-Up. A couple that has broken up realize that they may have made a mistake - but is it too late?
- Broken Tradition. Create a couple where all gender role and relationship expectations are turned upside down. What does this romance look like?
- Bad Timing. Two people know they are perfect for each other, but the timing is just never right.
Plot-Driven Romance Writing Prompts
Sometimes a romance is driven purely by chance or circumstance. Use some of these simple plot ideas to bring your lovers together.
- The Tourist. A tourist travels abroad and doesn’t know the language. They become infatuated with a local.
- The Arrangement. Two people within an arranged marriage actually fall in love - after getting married.
- The Campaign. Two people are fighting for the same spot in an election. Could be anything from a true political campaign to high school class president.
- A Life Changed. Two lives are changed forever when they embark on a short but sweet love affair.
- Lies. A major lie is what brings two people together - what happens when one or both of them find out the truth?
When Love Starts with Conflict
Make the love affair interesting and have it start with some intense conflict. Conflict drives every story, and romance is no exception. This works best when the two lovers really hate each other in the beginning. Any of these can have the male/female roles reversed.
He has already been ruled out. She made up her mind long ago that she would never date a man with his title (doctor, biker, lawyer, etc.)
She already broke his heart once. He pursued her once in the past and was brutally rejected. She has realized how stupid she was and is desperate for another chance.
He was faking it at first. perhaps he made a bet that he could get her, or he pretended that he liked her so he could manipulate her and reveal all her secrets. Oops, now he loves her.
She has moral concerns. She is his boss/professor/teacher/captor and it would not be appropriate, no matter how badly she wants to do it.
He is a suspect. He is suspected of a major crime (murder, large scale robbery, etc) and she is wary of the implications.
The first impressions were terrible. Their first meeting was awkward and horrible. Neither of them left with a good first impression. They have a difficult time finding their way back to each other.
These are just a few examples of an initial conflict that can set the stage for a rocky but interesting romance!
Now that you have some ideas for the base concept of your novel, here are some specific plot ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Your main character shares a wildly exciting and romantic week with the man she has always loved. They express their feelings for each other, and he tells her of his desire to stay with her forever and build a life together. They fall asleep one night in complete and utter bliss. The next morning, he is gone. He cannot be found or reached. She is heartbroken and must begin the process of rebuilding. Five years later, he returns. What happened?
Eye for an Eye
Your main character’s boring, predictable life is shaken when they discover a stranger dying in an alley. They want to call 911 but the person begs them not to. They decide to take the person back to their place to fix them up. Once the mysterious stranger is better and feels stronger, they reveal that they are actually a supernatural being. Their species holds strongly to the “eye for an eye” and that includes saving lives. Your protagonist is now stuck with this being as their sidekick until they are able to save their life. At first, this is annoying, until feelings start to develop.
He is an art fanatic with a desire for constant perfection. No one has ever gotten close to him because no one is ever as perfect as the artwork. The sculptures. The portraits. The beautiful scenes of perfect women frozen in time. He works in a busy office which is kept in pristine condition, until one day they hire a new intern. She is unfashionable and unkempt with messy hair and a constantly disorganized workspace. He is driven mad nearly every day… so why can he simply not stand the thought of her leaving at the end of her term?
Romance Writing Prompts for Genre Crossovers
One of the greatest things about romance is that it can be found anywhere. Regardless of the kind of book you are writing, you can add some romance for some extra spice. Romantic side plots can be found in almost any genre. Romance can even still be the main theme within a different type of story. There are many ways to mix romance with everything else.
This one is pretty straightforward but can go in any possible direction. Write a story about any supernatural species - vampires, werewolves, aliens, or something you make up yourself. Write a romance either between the species or between a supernatural and a human. More often than not these are forbidden and/or dangerous romances but the characters go after it anyway.
Romance and Horror
It may not be the most likely pairing, but a little romance in between the spooks and creeps never hurt anyone!
Your main character is a vivid dreamer. Some are wonderful experiences and others are horrible nightmares. Suddenly, the terrible people and events from their dreams start appearing in real life. Their partner then dies suddenly in a tragic way. They are devastated but hopeful because their dead partner starts appearing in their dreams. They spiral into the tragic existence of frantically searching for their partner in the real world during every waking moment.
Thrillers are exciting, fast-paced, intense, and often deeply psychological. They are often not for the faint of heart, and what better way to bring to people together than to throw them into an adventure together?
On the Run
Two people on the run from the law find each other. Of course, they are wary of each other but they eventually build trust and fall madly in love. They help each other hide from police and they pool their knowledge of life on the streets. The two work together to steal cash and essentials - food, water, clothing. They share several near-death experiences until finally one gets caught, and the other doesn’t.
The Kiss of Death
When your protagonist grows up and begins dating, she discovers a terrifying fact about herself. As soon as she kisses the man she’s developed a relationship with, he mysteriously dies! She chalks it up to bad luck at first but soon she can’t deny that it is a pattern. Refusing to accept the fate of loneliness, she sets out to discover the origin of her condition.
Possible plot twist: her single mother placed the curse on her because she was afraid of being alone and didn’t want her daughter to leave her.
Romance in History
A well written historical romance can a beautiful and touching tale as people are often intrigued by the allure of the past.
Embrace the Era
Choose an era to set your story in, and really embrace it. Research everything you need to know. The fashion, the attitudes, the employment situations, the political atmosphere… everything. And then immerse your characters in the culture. Write a whimsical, emotional, and heart-wrenching romance between two characters of that time. Transport your readers to a different place and you will have them hooked the whole time.
Time travel is a theme that has been explored over and over again throughout the history of storytelling, but it never seems to get old. Perhaps this is because of the completely endless options you have with the idea. Write about a protagonist who travels through time and meets the love of their life in a different era. They are clearly meant to be, but one of them refuses because of where the protagonist is from.
Romance Writing Prompts for Side Plots
Sometimes the plot of your novel focuses on something else, but you want to develop a little romantic side plot or a love triangle. This can be a great way to get readers emotionally invested in your characters.
Romantic subplots can work well in your favor, but you must remember that they are subplots. Never shift or remove focus from your main theme and storyline. Romantic subplots should be subtle and should not overpower.
Your novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and your characters are just trying to survive. Your main focus is their survival attempts and the man vs. earth conflict you’ve created.
The group travels together, and two of the men are in love with the same women. One knows her from the past, the other only met her after the destruction happened. Both are constantly working to impress her and put the other down. One day they stumble upon another group of surviving people and they team up. The woman becomes interested in one of the new men.
A young police officer is working on a serial killer case. They are on his trail but haven’t caught him yet. The officer begins to develop feelings for one of the suspects' friends/family/witnesses. The tension builds as they need this person more and more for the investigation, but the officer knows they must wait until the case is over to pursue anything. No one knows how long this case will last.
Romance is Versatile
Whether the focus of your plot or just a little fling on the side, romance is a fantastic way to weave some drama and emotion into any story. The romance writing prompts found here are simply some ideas to get your wheels turning. Don’t feel restricted by the details - feel free to tweak and change them as much as you please!