Romance Story Ideas

Here are some romance story ideas you can turn into fiction. For more writing prompts and tips, be sure to join our free email group.

1) Two people each inherit half of a treasure map. They meet in order to combine their pieces of the map, and immediately feel a powerful attraction for each other. They agree to search for the treasure together, but they secretly distrust each other, each suspecting that the other one is withholding information and planning to steal the treasure for themselves.

2) A wedding planner falls for the groom of a big wedding she is organizing...

3) Your character, frightened by ghostly phenomena in her new house, enlists the help of a paranormal investigator. The investigator moves into the house with her to observe the phenomena, and the two of them immediately develop powerful feelings for each other. However, their growing romance is threatened by the presence of an evil spirit occupying the house. Will their newfound love survive the malevolent entity?

4) Your character, a restaurant owner, is convinced that the owner of a rival restaurant is trying to sabotage your character's business with negative online reviews. Your character decides to take revenge by sending a health inspector to the rival's business. As the war between the two restaurants escalates, the restaurant owners are surprised to find themselves falling in love...

5) Your character has psychic powers which allow them to see into the future. They begin a new relationship with Character B and fall passionately in love, although all of the omens suggest that your character ought to stay far away from this person.

6) Your character sees an interview with a celebrity and feels a powerful connection. Your character is sure that this celebrity is their soulmate. But the celebrity doesn't even know that your character exists -- yet. Your character finds the celebrity's address and visits the character's home one night, determined to get past security and meet the celebrity in person...

7) Your character has been hiding from a violent ex, using false names and moving frequently from place to place. In one of these places, your character meets someone new and begins to fall in love. But your character is hesitant to reveal the truth about their identity and their past. And they worry have already stayed in this particular town too long... it's time to move on again...

8) Your character accidentally passes through a magic portal into another world. Someone in that world helps your character in her search for a way back home. The two fall in love, which raises a dilemma: what will happen to their romance when they find the magic portal? Should your character give up her own world to remain with her love? Or will she try to convince her lover to give up their own world and come with her?

9) Your character is a political activist (you decide what their politics are). They meet Character B at a political demonstration where the two on opposite sides (protester and counter-protester). The two characters end up talking, and there's a powerful mutual attraction, but can they overcome their very different world views?

10) Your character falls in love with someone who doesn't know your character is a fairy/vampire/werewolf/extraterrestrial trying to blend in with human society.

11) At a masquerade ball, your character spends the night dancing with someone wearing a raven mask. Though your character doesn't know who this person is, they feel a powerful attraction, and, afterward, they can't stop thinking about that magical night. Your character begins asking around, trying to find out the identity of the person with the raven mask, but this proves more complicated than your character had expected...

12) Your character is a nurse, who falls in love with his wealthy, terminally ill patient. Your character's afraid that if he acts on his love, the patient -- and everyone else -- will assume that your character is only after the patient's money...

13) Your character is a successful businessperson but so far has been unsuccessful in attracting potential romantic partners. They hire a consultant who promises to make your character irresistible to men/women...

14) Your character, a veterinarian, regularly treats the pet of an aloof and mysterious pet owner. Although your character initially dislikes the pet owner, the two gradually bond over their shared concern for the pet, and a relationship begins to develop. But when the pet goes missing, they each blame the other.

15) A private detective has been hired to spy on a client's spouse to discover if the spouse is unfaithful. While conducting the surveillance, the detective begins to fall in love with the spouse himself.

16) Every evening, when she goes to the parking garage of her office building, your character finds a new love note tucked under the windshield wipers of her car. These love notes are very beautiful and fill your character with powerful emotions. But they are all addressed to "Caroline". Your character's name is Laura...

couple reading books as they walk on the beach

Elements of 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 them.

  • 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 their lifestyle.

  • Character X has an idea in mind of their 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 they 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 their family, or for some other reason is soon going to be unavailable.

couple embraces in front of full moon

So, you have two characters, and you have a problem that's 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 them get back home.

couple embracing in garden, illustrating page on romance story ideas

Romance Genre Tropes

Here are some common genre tropes that romance readers love. You can use them to develop ideas for your own stories.

  • Opposites Attract: Two people who are very different from each other fall in love.

  • Friends to Lovers: Two friends who know each other well discover they have romantic feelings for each other.

  • Enemies to Lovers: The main characters start out disliking each other but gradually fall in love.

  • Fake Relationship: The characters pretend to be a couple for some reason (e.g., they're undercover detectives posing as lovers), but then develop real feelings.

  • Second-Chance Romance: People who had a relationship in the past meet again and give their love another try.

  • Secret Billionaire: One of the characters is secretly very rich or powerful but the other character doesn't know about it.

  • Love Triangle: Someone has to choose between two people who are in love with them.

  • Forbidden Love: The characters are not supposed to be together because of their families, social barriers, or other rules, but they fall in love anyway.

women standing together in a field

More Romance Story Ideas

For more romance story ideas, join our free email group.

Learn to develop romance story ideas into a successful romance novel.

Visit the Romance Writers of America website.

Join our 8-week online course, Bringing Characters to Life.