The biggest selling books in the world are nonfiction and children’s books, but in the adult fiction categories, romance tops the list, outselling every other genre. And romance readers are voracious — I’ve heard that many romance readers consume a book a day.
The main rule of the romance genre is the happy ending. These stories must conclude with a couple figuratively walking into the sunset, hand-in-hand.
But not all real-life or fictional love stories end with a happy couple. Romeo and Juliet immediately springs to mind as a love story with a tragic ending. Even though it’s a wildly romantic tale, we’d never put it in the romance category because it doesn’t have the requisite happy ending; it’s a tragedy.
I have to admit, I think it’s sort of bizarre that we’ve created an entire genre of storytelling where the ending is basically guaranteed. But many romance novels aren’t exclusively about romance. Cross-genre stories meld romance with science fiction or fantasy, and historical romances have always been popular. Some of these work very well because there’s there’s another plot running alongside the romance, and we don’t know how that secondary plot is going to end.
Amorous Fiction Writing Prompts
Today’s fiction writing prompts are designed to spark ideas for writing either a romance or a love story. Some of these prompts encourage you cross genres.
- Two characters are at odds with each other because they want the same thing, but only one of them can have it. The thing they want could be a job, winning a contest or sporting event, or they could be on separate quests for a priceless artifact. How do these two end up falling in love, and how does the competition affect their romance?
- Explore a relationship between two people who are married for some reason other than love. Maybe they were in love when they married but now they’re not. Maybe they’re in an arranged marriage. Maybe they married for practical reasons, such as merging two kingdoms or a shared political or business goal.
- Write a story about a human character falling in love with an alien or magical creature that is not human.
- The idea of casting a love spell on someone is unethical because it takes away that person’s free will. The love is therefore not real. Write a story about a character who casts a love spell on another character.
- What happens when characters who are mortal enemies fall in love?
- They say love is blind, and it makes people do strange things. Write about a character who is blinded by love or who does strange or dangerous things for the object of his or her desire.
- Write about a relationship that is genuine and passionate but doesn’t work out in the end, either because tragedy strikes or because circumstances separate the characters and they cannot be together.
- In biblical times, men had many wives and most marriages were arranged. Use time travel to develop a story that depicts how love, romance, and marriage have changed throughout the centuries.
- Love and fear: two emotions that contradict each other. Love should be safe and warm, everything that fear is not. But what happens when two people who are in love find themselves facing a devastating, life-threatening danger? Do they ultimately fend for themselves or risk their safety for each other?
- Write a story that examines traditional gender roles within a marriage. Traditionally, women stayed home to tend to the home and children while men were the breadwinners. What does it look like when a couple bucks these traditional roles? What if one or both wants a traditional marriage but circumstances prevent them from achieving that (maybe the woman earns more than the man, and they need her income)? What if one or both does not want a traditional marriage (maybe the man wants to tend to the home)?
I hope you enjoyed these fiction writing prompts for crafting romance and love stories. Let us know how these worked out for you by leaving a comment, and keep writing!