Writing romance isn’t as easy as many people seem to think.
“You write romances? I could totally do that, too, but I have SO much on my plate. Plus, I think if I’m gonna write a book, I want it to be more of a challenge.”
Said by someone who has never finished writing a romance (or not one worth reading).
Because one thing good romance writing is not is easy.
It’s a real challenge to write an engaging story with two characters whose personalities and chemistry keep the reader hooked all the way to a satisfying end.
There’s magic in that. And it’s not to be underestimated.
The best love story books grab you right from the beginning and hold your attention until the resolution — which makes you instantly want to read another romance by the same author.
Do you want to try your hand at romance writing but don’t know how to start? Maybe you’re having trouble coming up with an idea for your book.
If you’re racking your brain for the perfect story idea, why not try one (or more) of the romance writing prompts in this article?
If nothing else, one of them could plant the seed of an idea for your next bestseller.
41 of the Best Romance Writing Prompts
While many of the following prompts at least imply a female protagonist, feel free to change the gender to suit your own story.
If you’re looking for a romance plot generator to help you create a story that will make you an instant reader favorite, here are a few on the web that can help:
- Wattpad’s own romance plot generator
- Seventh Sanctum’s romance plot generator
- Plot-generator.or (UK) (requires more input to generate ideas)
Most of these use basic templates with fields that are randomly filled from a pool of available options. You could create your own template, too, and brainstorm ideas to fill in the blanks. Here’s an example:
- “He’s a ____ who _____. She’s a ____ with _____. They’re thrown together by ____, and if they don’t ______, something terrible will happen (probably involving death, ruin, or unimaginable pain). The clock is ticking, and as they fall for each other, the stakes get even higher.”
You can even ask others to suggest occupations, dire situations, drastic measures, personal hang-ups, traumatic experiences, etc. to help turn your template into a list of story ideas.
If you’re looking for something that already paints the beginning of a picture, though, these writing prompts are worth a look.
For Romance Stories
Maybe you already know how to write a romance novel your readers love so much they email you begging for the next one.
1. As a bridesmaid, you meet one of the groomsmen at your sister’s pre-wedding dinner and hit it off so well, he asks you out. Your sister warns you not to get too close. You decide to follow her advice, but keeping him at arm’s length proves more difficult than you expect.
2. You start a new job at a large firm, and out of the blue, you start receiving flowers every week with a note enclosed. The admirer’s only signature is a three-digit number, but you don’t know what the number could refer to.
3. Your best friend tells you about a wealthy family living in the area and when she shows you a journalistic piece she wrote on them for the local newspaper, you recognize one of the young men as the tall, reserved, green-eyed guy at the library. Your friend knows why.
4. You’ve just broken up with — you swear — your last boyfriend and kicked him out of your home. Now, you’ve decided to redecorate the place — making it just the way you want it. The guy at the paint counter doesn’t seem like your type, but there’s something about him.
5. You’ve left your husband’s church, and now he’s using a variety of not-so-subtle tactics to coax you back in. You see what he really wants: not a better marriage so much as a “good Catholic” wife. But when your husband presents you with tickets for a couple’s vacation in an Irish castle, you agree to go — despite your suspicions.
6. You start having intense erotic dreams — and the face you see is one you don’t recognize but that feels familiar. In any case, the love relationship you have in your dreams is better than what you have in “the real world,” and you take an interest in lucid dreaming.
7. You inherit a movie theater — or half of one, anyway. You share ownership with the nephew of your deceased relative’s best friend. Your first “business meeting” is not auspicious, but something about this guy makes you want to give him a chance.
8. At an annual town carnival, you buy a raffle ticket, thinking it’s for the newest quilt created by a quirky, lovable group of ladies you’ve known since childhood. But what you ended up winning is a date with the mayor’s son, a conspiracy theorist who lives on a boat.
9. You’re investigating strange phenomena in the wake of a devastating tornado when you meet an eccentric journalist who clearly knows something you don’t. Your curiosity compels you to accept his invitation to review his personal collection of observations.
10. The last year has been rough, and you’re finally interested in maybe meeting someone new, but you feel unattractive. So when a friend shows up after a “miracle makeover” from someone new in town, you insist she takes you to him.
11. Your job as a cop has made it difficult to maintain a romantic relationship, and a two-year relationship has just ended on a sour note. So, when a civilian informant, who has no love for your ex, starts being a lot more helpful, you’re not sure what to think.
For Short Love Stories
They may be short, but what they lack in length, they make up for with intensity and a rollicking pace.
Enjoy these prompts when you’re itching to write some short stories about love.
12. Your morning alarm interrupts an intensely erotic dream involving someone you just met. He just joined your team at work, and you’re drawn to his warmth, intelligence, and unsettling dark eyes. But a friend and coworker believe the man is her soulmate.
13. You take a job as a social worker who visits shut-ins and develop an attachment to a man a little older than you who is agoraphobic. You get along like old friends, but you wonder if he’d give you the time of day if you hadn’t met the way you did.
14. You came back from a near-death experience, and everyone has questions, but no one wants to hear anything that contradicts what they’ve been told. You close yourself off to all but a few — the members of a small support group of NDEs. And one of them believes he’s your soulmate.
15. You go to sleep wanting to visit an old flame you haven’t talked to in years, and you dream that you’re in his bedroom, watching him sleep. The next day, he calls you, fearing you were dead. You agree to meet with him and debate whether to tell him more.
16. A former connection comes to your door on a full moon, and you almost refuse to let him in. He persuades you to open the door so you can talk about a concern of his, and before you know it, you’re both getting a lot closer than you’d planned. And you know why.
17. You have a fair tolerance for alcohol and keep a bottle of Jameson in your home office, but when a new client comes to your door with a bottle of Black Barrel, you let him in and talk for a bit over a few drinks. You wake up wearing a wedding dress.
18. You move into a coveted apartment, and your first visitor is a stunningly gorgeous man looking for the previous resident. He’s about to leave when he notices the book you’re holding. He’s the author.
19. You stop at your favorite used bookstore and buy one of their grab-bags to help with a fundraiser. When you open it, you find a peculiar hardcover book with a handwritten message inside. That night, you find a note at your door with the same handwriting.
20. You’re looking through old photo albums when you see a face you’d all but forgotten — the face of an old high school crush who’d flirted with you but had never asked you out. The same guy shows up the next day at your highly acclaimed matchmaking agency.
21. You take a job singing telegrams and end up singing a Dear John letter to the guy who jilted you in college. He listens to the whole thing, asks you to wait while he writes a calmly-worded response, and tips you a set of keys to the car out front.
For College Romance Books
Maybe you write cute love stories with college-age characters. Or maybe “cute” isn’t really what you’re going for.
Whatever your tastes, the following prompts will work for you and get you writing another bestseller before you know it.
22. You’ve paired up for a class interview project in one of your writing classes, and your partner is someone you might not otherwise have noticed. In a dream, he comes to your door and invites you to a movie. Suddenly, you’re in a car together, and there’s a ring on your finger.
23. Your roommate invites her boyfriend into the room and introduces you as a hermit who lives on coffee and sandwiches. You take one look at each other and time literally stops for a moment. Memories of a lifetime together pass in that brief space.
24. To satisfy a math requirement, you take a class in Statistics and you’re immediately drawn to a classmate who explains the material better than the prof does. When you see him greet his boyfriend, you’re torn between relief and disappointment.
25. Your new roommate seems intensely interested in your life and wants to know everything about you. You’re flattered and a little freaked out, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to. When her handsome brother comes to visit, she seems uncomfortable.
26. For years, you thought you were born without the capacity for sexual attraction, but when you meet someone in the college dining hall, you feel an intense urge to grab hold of him and kiss him. He gives you a brief, guarded smile and walks past you.
27. A class project has you pairing up and writing daily words of affirmation to your partner, but since you showed up late to class, you end up paired with someone you’ve always seen as an egotistical asshat.
28. You accept a job taking notes for college students, and your main client is a guy with dyslexia, ADD, and gender dysphoria. You become friends and support him, even when it means crossing swords with his older brother, who’s trying to walk a fine line.
29. Your best friend wants you to help her write a love story about her boyfriend that the college literary journal will publish in time for Valentine’s Day. But the story is published under your name, and your ex seems to think the story is about him.
30. You agree to go on one double date with the reclusive best friend of your roommate’s fiancé, and you’re surprised to learn he’s a published playwright. You hit it off and agree to watch one of his plays with him as a second date. The performance does not go well.
31. You agree to tutor someone who’s struggling in his writing class, and he ends up tutoring you in something you’ve avoided as much as possible: driving. He’s a natural behind the wheel — and under the hood — and you have a gift for writing.
For Fantasy Romance Novels.
Whether you’re writing sexy short stories with shifters and other mythical beings or novel-length epic fantasies with a strong romantic element, the following prompts will get your mind working in ways you probably shouldn’t try to explain.
32. Your vampire cousin has confessed to you his developing attachment to a shifter woman (feline) who works with him and who recently divorced her cheating husband. You know that the vampire leadership wouldn’t tolerate such a relationship, but you’ve secretly been watching the man who was your boyfriend before you were turned.
33. You wake up from an intense dream and see that your arms have changed to wings with snow-white feathers. Your mother suddenly enters and looks you up and down. “Lying son of a …! He told me you’d grow up normal….”
34. The humans in your world are dying of a disease that hasn’t affected the elves, but you’re charged with the protection of a man who, according to a prophecy, will unite the warring human kingdoms. He agrees to go with you on a quest to the mountains, and you take shelter in a cave for the night. Someone had created a home there, but there’s only one blanket.
35. You finally gave in to your boyfriend, whose latest romantic overtures have been over the top. That night, it’s a full moon. When you later tell him you’re pregnant, his reaction scares you. He insists on going somewhere private to explain why.
36. You’re intensely drawn to someone in your class, and twice now you’ve looked into his eyes and you swear they were different colors each time — cool blue when you first met and a warm green when he looked at you in a way that lit you up inside.
37. Your mating season has come, and there’s no escape. Your parents are hoping you’ll respond well to the attentions of the alpha, but you’ve secretly been meeting with a forbidden friend from a different pack — a friend who has lately become more than that.
38. As a princess, you’re expected to marry someone with advantageous connections, but to you, marriage sounds worse than death — until a particular prince arrives who reveals himself to be a dragon shifter.
39. You wake up with an irresistible drive to roam the woods in search of… something. You run out in your pajamas but soon you no longer need them. Taking to the sky with blue-black feathers, you soar overhead until you see one like you. He’s waiting.
40. All the other women in your family are talented witches, but not you. Your mother and sisters play up your non-magical gifts but you know they pity you, and more than anything you want to surprise them. And one night, during a traumatic experience, you do.
41. You’ve come out of the ocean to find a mate, not intending to stay long enough to get attached. But when you meet someone who strongly resembles an old enemy, you extend your stay to seduce and then punish him for his crimes against your clan.
More Related Articles:
What Should You Not Do When Writing Romance?
Romance is a genre, and, as such, it has its own set of rules. While it’s essential to use a unique voice and develop creative stories, romance readers expect books to hit specific notes. Moreover, publishers know what sells and therefore have a set of standards writers must meet to secure a contract.
So what should you not do when writing a romance novel?
- Don’t make the heroine or hero unlikable. Character quirks and mistakes are fine — welcome, even — but they shouldn’t be off-putting.
- People are allergic to arrogance in large doses, so avoid it. The main love interest can be a bit haughty initially to establish an initial conflict, but the primary characters shouldn’t be stuck up.
- It’s okay to have outrageous plots and scenarios, but characters must have fully formed personalities whose actions gel with their behavior and beliefs.
- Publishers reject manuscripts with logical lapses unless it’s a science fiction romance. Examples include blizzards in the Bahamas and tsunamis on Mount Everest.
- Inaccurate research is anathema for historical romance novels. Make sure you have your facts straight!
- Unless it’s an integral part of the plot, try to avoid outdated mores and values.
What will your romance story be about?
You know as well as any author that crafting a story your readers will love is not a cake walk.
But you took the time to read some prompts, and now your in-house story generator is churning on some ideas – old and new.
You know that blank page doesn’t stand a chance against you. You’ll throw something on it, play with it for a while, delete what you’ve written and start over. None of this is wasted effort.
Use these prompts as they’re meant to be used – as nudges or launching pads, just to get you started on an idea, even if it changes along the way.
Let it come out of you however it does, and don’t worry about making it shine until it’s fully-formed and ready for editing.
And most of all, have fun with it. The first draft is all about exploring possibilities and just letting the words flow out of you, however ridiculous they sound.
Beautiful things can come from messy places. So, don’t be ashamed of your mess.
Put it to work.
And let your creativity and courage inspire your next story and everything else you do today.