Writing a romance novel or a romance story can be challenging when you’re trying to come up with an idea of how you can make two characters fall in love. Romance writing prompts can help with that. Romance stories have certain elements that must be included to qualify as a romance novel or story. There must be a love story, and there must be a happy, optimistic ending.
Romance writing prompts can help you write some romance or love into any sort of genre. Regardless of what sort of story you’re writing, elements of romance tend to add depth and realism to the story.
Love happens to people when they least expect it, and adding some romance or a relationship to a story with elements of danger, such as a thriller or horror novel, makes the stakes a little higher. Someone who has to protect themselves from danger is one thing, but someone who has to protect themselves and the person they have just fallen in love with makes for a more interesting and tense story.
Romance Exists in Almost All Adult Fiction
Writing romance isn’t exactly what it used to be. And you don’t have to be writing in the romance genre to have romance in your story. You could have a horror novel, with the love story being just one snippet in the table of contents. Romance writing prompts can definitely help you develop the love story between two characters for any genre you are writing, especially if romance isn’t exactly your forte.
Think about books you’ve read that don’t fall into the genre of romance. Was there a love story that ran parallel to the plot? There’s a good chance that that answer is yes. Even in Harry Potter, books known for their central story of magic and family and friendship, there are love stories. Examples include; Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, Harry and Cho, Snape and Lilly.
There are several little love stories, or at least “like” stories, within the pages of the beloved book series. They add depth and a good feeling to the story. We cheer for the couples to find happiness together because, after everything they have been through together, we decide that they deserve it.
Love Story Ideas
Like any writing prompts, romance prompts give you a general idea, and then you take over as the writer. Hopefully, your creative juices will start flowing, and you run with it. Maybe your main character falls for the best friend. Perhaps the best friend falls for the main character, but the main character is in a relationship already.
Maybe a run-in with a mysterious stranger gives the protagonist feelings of romance and fantasies surrounding the meeting that he or she just can’t shake. These are just one-sentence ideas or writing prompts that can lead to a romantic relationship for your characters.
Romance writers have to become experts in taking two characters and making them develop feelings for one another within the pages of a novel or short story. Two lovers simply living a life from the get-go full of butterflies, kisses, and love letters isn’t interesting.
There needs to be conflict and some sort of obstacle that the characters have to overcome to get to one another and find that love and connection the reader is invested in. There is often a protagonist; some other character who throws a wrench into the works and complicates everything for the would-be lovers.
Writing prompts can help romance writers create the sort of romantic fiction that will leave an audience in awe of the story and yearning for love the way the characters found love. Any writing class will teach you that writing prompts are a valuable tool to use to get ideas that can grow into something much more than a snippet or an idea.
Prompts can get your creative juices flowing, and before you know it, someone totally foreign to writing in the romance genre has taken off like a rocket and is writing a moving piece about love.
Romance Writing Prompts: Examples
The following are some examples of writing prompts that can help you create a love story. Whether your goal is to write a full-length short story or novel in the romance genre, or you just need a romantic subplot for a story, these prompts may help you to get creative and find inspiration. Feel free to add to or expand on any of the following ideas.
- A love connection on a business trip across the country
- A blind date gone wrong ends up turning into an unlikely romance
- Two characters find themselves on the run when they both witness something that could get them hurt or, worse
- In a post-apocalyptic world, characters trying to survive find love while trying to rebuild their lives
- An arranged marriage, but the bride is already in love with someone and will do anything to be with him and escape the arrangement made by her parents
- A local newspaper reporter starts to fall for the rookie cop when they join forces to find out who has been committing a string of robberies in the city.
Any of the above prompts can lead you to creative romance writing that embodies all of the elements that you need to make it successful.
Developing Romance Writing Prompts Into Stories
For example, suppose you went with the first prompt about a love connection on a trip for work. In that case, the obstacle that you could throw in the way could be that only one of the people speaks English, and although there’s a language barrier, there’s also an issue with an opportunity to travel.
Maybe the woman who lives in the foreign country is stuck there due to a rocky past that has left her destitute. The busy schedule of the businessman who is in love with her must figure out a way to be with her despite her struggles and communication issues.
The happy, optimistic ending could be that the man decides to quit his business and cash in his retirement fund from his company to go overseas and be with the woman, taking her out of her situation but not out of her comfort zone, and building her a home and a more stable life with him.
All of this and more can be developed with the use of romance writing prompts. With a little bit of detail, some obstacles, character development, and an ending that leaves the reader satisfied, you can end up with a romance novel or even a collection of romance stories.
Romance Stories for the Real World
You can write any sort of romance that you want. It can be science fiction, horror, fantasy, thriller, western, or any other genre or sub-genre you can think of. No matter what the setting is, what matters is that the reader can relate it to something that could actually happen in real life.
The Romance Genre has Evolved
Romance novel ideas no longer have to be cliche. They don’t have to revolve around a muscled, rugged, almost offensively handsome man saving a damsel in distress. Women can save themselves. You can have a female protagonist who saves a man from danger or unfortunate circumstances.
You can have best friends who fall in love. You can include an illicit love affair between a boss and employee, a student and teacher, or even something even more taboo, like a bored housewife and the pool boy. Things don’t have to be as cliche as they used to be. Real men and women fall in love when the timing isn’t right. They fall in love in ways that threaten their jobs, their reputations, and sometimes even their families.
Some people have to choose between love and a career or love and education. There are unlikely couples, there are problematic couples, and couples who aren’t conventionally romantic. These are real-life situations of people who fall in love these days, and each of these offers a great starting place to write a story.
Keep It Real
There are endless romance scenarios, situations, and characters that you can write, and romance writing prompts can help you to discover the short story or book within you. Just keep in mind, though, that to be well written, you must write characters and situations that could actually happen.
Fairy tales are fun short stories to read, but an adult romance reader wants to escape their own reality and live in another one for a while. Forcing your reader to figure out how something is even possible because it doesn’t seem realistic will force the reader out of the story and into logical evaluation and analysis. Love should feel organic when it’s written.
More Romance Story Ideas
The human race is obsessed with love and romance. One character falls in love with another, some trouble or drama follows, and all ends well. That’s what most people want to read, and that’s what most people want to see because that’s what they hope for in real life.
In a relationship, you know that there will be some friction and some drama and obstacles in your path. At the same time, you know that the one person you want to share it all with is going to be there for you, no matter what, and you’ll figure it all out together and come out stronger and happier on the other side. That’s what most of us want from life and from love, so we like to read those things when they play out in fiction.
The following are some more romance prompts that can help you develop either an entire romance novel or a romantic situation for a story of a different genre.
- A young woman moves into an apartment building in a new city and engages in an unlikely romance with the maintenance man.
- A young woman falls for the older brother of her best friend and has to decide whether her friendship is worth risking if the relationship goes south.
- A married couple on the brink of divorce decides to take a second honeymoon in the hopes of getting their spark back.
- A newly divorced woman moves to a new state for a fresh start on a blank page of life and meets a well-mannered neighbor who catches her attention.
- A new job opportunity for a young man leads to love at first sight that threatens to end his career.
- Two couples who are both the product of arranged marriages break up, go their separate ways, and find romance in the most unlikely of places.
- A single mother, determined to focus on bettering her situation and never loving again, feels herself falling for a coworker.
- A small-town radio deejay strikes up a romance with a frequent late-night caller who wishes to remain anonymous. Now the deejay has to figure out which woman in the town is his secret love interest.
- Two people from opposite sides of the social class spectrum fall in love. She’s an heiress worth millions, and he lives in a homeless shelter.
- A man finds himself in a dangerous situation when he falls in love with the ex-wife of his long-time enemy, who is connected to the mob.
- A widower runs into an old flame while on vacation alone. Should he see if there is any chemistry left or leave the past in the past?
- The full moon on the ocean brings a woman suffering from a broken heart to the deck of the cruise ship, where she meets a man who seems too good to be true.
- A road trip with friends turns into a whirlwind romance when two long-time friends realize what they have together is more than friendship.
- A hotshot attorney meets a new client for drinks to go over the case and finds himself in a conflict of interest when he realizes that he has feelings for the client after the first meeting.
- A parking lot fender bender brings a female police officer to the scene, where the victim of the accident finds that he’s thankful for the busted grille on his car, now that he’s met such a beautiful woman.
- Coworkers fall in love with a company that has a strict “no dating” policy.
Write a Romance Story You Would Want to Read
As with any genre of fiction, regardless of the prompt given, always try to write what you would want to read. While you may not be a huge fan of romance, most types of fictional work have some aspect of the romance of love. It can be an awkward subject to write because it’s mostly an organic thing that happens, and sometimes it feels like inventing it from scratch on the pages of a book is silly and forced.
Getting Away From Cliche
When you write romance, try to make the dialogue natural. Try to avoid the cliche harlequin novel bits like bursting corsets and baby oiled pecs. Regular people fall in love all of the time. Sad people find romance. Bad people find and can maintain romance. You don’t need Fabio to have a good romance story. You don’t need a weak woman. You don’t need a tropical setting, a foreboding castle, or a male lover worth millions of dollars.
Use Your Own Experiences as Inspiration
Regardless of your relationship status now, you’ve probably felt love at some point. Even if it wasn’t specifically romantic love, you have loved someone deeply, and you can draw off of that experience to write a scene or situation that involves love.
Think About What Love Feels Like
Does it feel like a fluttering? Or does it feel like a weight? Is it warm, or does it send a shiver down your spine? Think of how you would describe what love feels like to help you with the descriptive language needed to make the story something that an audience can believe and invest in.
Description can be difficult because you are trying to get an idea and emotion across to the audience rather than an event or a tangible thing. Try to think of ways that you can describe love or symbolism that can be used. If you don’t use descriptive language, the part of your story that describes love will seem dry, fake, and forced.
Examples of Description in Romance
In the following example, there is almost no descriptive language. While there is the mention of love, it sounds very forced.
Ben felt himself falling in love with Cheryl and was very excited to talk to her on the phone when he got off work that night.
Was that a terrible sentence? No, but it wasn’t very good, either. It simply stated the facts, and there was no feeling in it. Now, observe the following sentence, which has descriptive language.
Ben felt himself falling in love with Cheryl. When he thought of her, his neck and face turned red and felt heated, and the sound of her name almost made him giddy. He couldn’t think of a time before in which he’d ever been so excited at the prospect of talking to someone on the phone after work. He couldn’t wait to hear her voice. He could hear it in his head and in his heart, but he longed for it in his ear, as well.
This sentence has description that tells the audience more about how the character feels, and the audience can relate to it. It’s better written than the first example sentence.
Romance writing can be a challenge, but with a little practice, the help of some prompts, and the use of description, any writer can master it.