Are you writing a romance novel and are stuck for ideas? We’ve listed 31 writing prompts for romance novels for you below. In the compilation, you’ll find prompts for general romance, historical romance, paranormal romance and science-fiction romance.
Writing Prompts for General Romance
1. Competing coworkers become lovers.
What makes this an interesting romance novel is that you can spend most of the novel showing how their hatred and rivalry slowly turn into love and respect. Throughout the novel, you should also have the reader wondering: “Will they finally work together, or will they choose their career over love?”
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2. Old flames are rekindled when one returns home for a visit.
One character left their small hometown to pursue a career in the big city, but then has to return because of an event. They run into their old boyfriend or girlfriend, and all the old feelings come rushing back. Slowly build their relationship rekindling and end with one of them choosing the other one’s lifestyle in a show of love.
3. A chance meeting results in a love match.
You can have your characters meet anywhere for this one—subway, bus, art museum—whatever helps set the context to your story. What’s important is that it’s a “love at first sight” story, and how fate keeps bringing them back together, regardless of the other factors standing in the way.
4. Pen pals fall in love from afar before meeting each other.
You can have your characters meet online first—either through an online discussion board or an online video game—and show their love develop for each other through words first. They meet in person but must reconcile with the physical world and everything standing in their way.
5. The patient falls in love with the nurse.
The ailment isn’t as important as the building up of the relationship with the nurse. Have your patient reluctant to be cared for by the nurse character and show their relationship building into trust and respect and, finally, love.
6. Best friends become lovers.
You could have one of the best friends develop feelings first, or some event happens that forces them to realize that they have romantic feelings for each other. The story becomes about them overcoming their fear of losing a friend to gain a lover.
7. A regular customer becomes a regular lover.
One of your characters visits the other’s coffee shop or breakfast bar or lunch diner every day and gets served by the same person each time. Something happens that forces them to become more than just customer and employee, and a relationship develops into love.
8. Strangers forced together discover a surprise love match.
For this one, the reason they are forced together into a partnership is important to how they develop their love story. Are they investigating something together? Are they forced roommates on a guided tour? Are they both named in a mutual friend’s will? In whatever case, show them as completely opposite of each other (or at least uninterested) and use the background context to show how they fall in love.
9. A teacher falls for a student’s single parent.
To really make this an interesting story, have a teacher meet the parent outside of the school setting and show how they really click as a potential couple. Reveal early on that the teacher has the parent’s child in their class and use that conflict of ethics to show their love story grow.
10. A case of mistaken identity ends up in a perfect love match.
The characters must reconcile the mistaken identity while establishing their love for each other. To raise the stakes, have the character who made the mistake be reluctant to fall for the other who is trying their hardest to have a relationship with them.
Writing Prompts for Historical Romance
11. An upper-class girl falls for the capable stable boy.
The gentlemanly and chivalrous stable boy and upper-class girl have an illicit affair around the stables, possibly even discovered by her family. Their love overcomes her duty to family and class.
12. Victorian class differences can’t stand in the way of love.
The characters in this story should both be upper class, but the man should be much higher in the aristocracy than the lady. Even so, have the lady wary of him at first because of his well-known playboy character.
13. Love persists despite the war raging on around them.
For this story, the conflict is on how the war keeps interrupting the characters’ love story. You can either have them as homegrown lovers and the war takes the soldier away, or have the soldier fall in love with a local girl and the end of the war threatens to split them apart.
14. Western farm girl falls in love with traveling cowboy.
A farm girl who is dissatisfied with her life meets a Wild West cowboy outlaw who woos her. The conflict is about her love for such a dangerous cowboy and whether he can survive long enough for them to be together.
15. A family feud means nothing to two lovers.
Examples of this story run throughout history so you can use whatever historical era works best for you. Focus the conflict on whether the lovers can survive their families’ hatred of each other.
16. Two true loves must overcome their arranged marriages.
While this could just as easily be a modern story, it is much more exciting to tell in the context of history or an ancient culture. One character could be royalty (which is why they weren’t matched together) and use the history or culture as the main conflict their love must overcome.
17. Highland warrior falls in love with English princess.
Using the battle between Scotland and England as the backdrop, have an English princess abducted on the road by a Scottish warrior. While his prisoner, they fall in love, and the conflict comes from wondering who they will remain loyal to: their countries or each other?
Writing Prompts for Paranormal Romance
18. A human falls for an angel.
An angel becomes trapped on Earth and must seek help from a human. They fall in love and must decide whether the angel should stay on Earth or return to Heaven to wait for their human to die.
19. Even supernatural species need love.
Choose any two supernatural species—werewolf, vampire, shapeshifter, faeries—and have the characters fall in love with each other despite their differences. You can raise the stakes by making their species long-term enemies.
20. A ghost and a medium find love in a murder investigation.
Since this murdered character can speak to only one medium in the city, they grow to love each other. But how will their love survive if one of them is already dead?
21. An immortal being falls in love with a mortal human.
The conflict comes from whether the immortal is willing to completely fall for the human, knowing their time together is limited. You could end with the immortal becoming mortal or finding a way to turn the mortal immortal.
22. Demon comes to Earth to woo souls but gets wooed by a human instead.
The plot of this story would focus on how the human humanizes the demon by making them see the pleasure of doing good deeds. You could have the stakes be that the love of a human cures the demon and turns them human, too, which begs the question of whether that’s what the demon wants or not.
23. Angel and demon fall in love during the oncoming Apocalypse.
When an angel comes to Earth to stop a demon from starting the Apocalypse, something keeps them together instead. They fall in love with each other, and, once they stop the Apocalypse, they must decide how to move on together.
24. A painter falls in love with his painting and brings it to life.
The question that keeps this story moving is whether the painted character is alive enough for the painter to fall in love with them. How will they live long-term and how will the painter explain the painted character’s existence to others?
Writing Prompts for Science-Fiction Romance
25. Time makes no difference for true love.
A character from the present-day travels to the past and falls in love with a person there. The conflict focuses on what happens when the present-day character has a chance to return: do they or do they stay with their new love?
26. Astronaut falls in love with a person from another planet.
While visiting a new planet, an astronaut befriends a local, non-human, and they fall in love. The story focuses on how they overcome their differences and whether the astronaut is willing to stay on the new planet, regardless of how different it is to Earth.
27. Stuck on a spaceship, love conquers all.
As two astronauts wake to find themselves the last surviving passengers on a spaceship headed for a new planet, they learn to love each other. What keeps this story interesting is wondering how they will survive when they finally land.
28. Two characters from parallel universes fall in love.
A character from our universe visits a parallel universe and meets the perfect version of their less-than-perfect current boyfriend or girlfriend. They develop their relationship, but the question throughout the novel is: should the character return to our universe or stay in theirs?
29. An invading alien falls for their human rescuer.
Have an alien race invade Earth but one gets injured and rescued from death by a human. The story is how their love develops as the alien heals, but will the alien return to their duty or stand by their new true love?
30. Space explorers find love in each other’s arms.
Two explorers rooming together on a spaceship fall in love. Because it’s against the protocols of the space brigade, the conflict for this story comes from wanting to keep their love secret or let it be known.
31. A robot becomes sentient and starts a relationship with its human owner.
You could have the robot be as mechanical as you want; although, it might be easier if it were a humanoid or cyborg. What makes this story interesting is the existential question of what constitutes love and life.