Romance Story Ideas

(On this page, you'll find romance story ideas to get you started writing romantic fiction. For more writing tips and inspiration, be sure to join our free email group.)

Want to write a love story? A classic romance story has a few key ingredients...

First of all, you need two characters who will fall in love.

There also needs to be a problem or obstacle in the path of their love. Otherwise, things are too easy. There's no suspense.

Here are some ideas for possible obstacles for your characters:

  • One of the characters is in a relationship with someone else.

  • One of the characters misunderstands the kind of person the other character is and initially dislikes him/her.

  • One of the characters has been hurt in a previous relationship and has sworn off love or marriage.

  • One of the characters likes being single, doesn't want to sacrifice his/her lifestyle.

  • Character X has an idea in mind of his/her ideal partner, and Character Y doesn't fit it.

  • Character X's family doesn't approve of Character Y.

  • The characters have extreme religious/political/cultural differences.

  • One of the characters has a personality flaw or has done something which the other character considers a deal-breaker.

  • Character X has a secret that s/he must hide from Character Y.

  • Character X suspects that Character Y is hiding something.

  • Character X suspects that Character Y is planning or has committed a crime -- the more Character X finds out, the more dangerous the situation becomes.

  • Character X is moving to another country, going to jail, going to fight in a war, going to marry someone else to please his/her family, or for some other reason is soon going to be unavailable.

So, you have two characters, and you have a problem keeping them apart. Now you need one more element.

You need a reason for them to stick around so they can work things out.

If they just give up and go their separate ways, you don't have a story.

If one of the characters is already in love with the other, he or she might fight to overcome the obstacle.

But in many romance stories, there's an outside circumstance that keeps the characters in close proximity until they can figure out that they're in love.

Here are some possible circumstances to force your characters together...

  • They're coworkers or classmates, maybe working on a project together.

  • One of the characters works for the other (e.g., she's hired as a governess for his young daughter, he's hired as her bodyguard or to write her biography).

  • Shipwreck, plane crash, etc.

  • Character X is a detective investigating Character Y.

  • They're the romantic leads in a play.

  • They're kidnapped together.

  • Character X has an accident or is in danger and Character Y has no choice but to take care of him/her.

  • They're both hunting for the same killer or stolen treasure or working on the same scientific or historical investigation.

  • Character X's family is forcing them together (maybe it's a condition for receiving an inheritance).

  • Character X is a thief and Character Y has a treasure, or Character X is a spy and Character Y has key information.

  • Character X's adult son is marrying Character Y's adult daughter.

  • They're staying in the same small hotel or rooming house, traveling with the same tourist group, etc.

  • Character X has fallen through a portal into a parallel world, and Character Y's the only person who can help him/her get back home.

I hope your characters find a way to work things out.

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More Romance Story Ideas

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Here are six romance story ideas that you can also turn into romantic suspense or thrillers.

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