66 Romance Plot Ideas
If you’re a regular writer of romance or are looking to dive into this popular genre, you might be on the lookout for some stellar plot ideas. Spend any time reading and exploring the genre and you’ll know that romance is just one word for dozens of different subgenres all with their own tone and style.
There’s contemporary, dark, mafia, motorcycle club, billionaire, suspense, fantasy, paranormal… you name it. While there can be plenty of overlap between romance plots within these genres, some plots are just going to be better suited to others. Of course, no genre has to stick to all the rules either, and crossing genres happens all the time.
With all that in mind, we’ve put together this list of romance plot ideas. Use them as they are or put your own twist on them. Use them to kickstart your own ideas or just as a writing prompt when you’re feeling stuck. And if you are feeling stuck, take a look at our post on overcoming writer’s block.
And then get back here and choose one of these plot ideas to get you going. Some of these might sound familiar and that’s because the same basic plot can, and has already been, used over and over hundreds and even thousands of times. And that’s okay. What you’re going to do is put your own unique voice, characters, and twists on these ideas.
Below you’ll find plot ideas broken into larger subgenres of romance that includes SFF (science fiction and fantasy–which includes paranormal) and contemporary romance. When you find an idea you like, feel free to drill it down further to suit your more specific subgenre. I’ll also offer up a list of general plot ideas that can be adapted to any genre.
As a note, I’m using she/he/they pronouns throughout these ideas, but obviously you should swap, change, bend, and adjust these as you see fit.
Fantasy Romance Plot Ideas
- It was prophesied she would be destined to marry the evil immortal fae king who’s been terrorizing the land for centuries, so she’s been hiding since she was born. But fate finally catches up to her when the king finds her. What is her fate now?
- He’s a dragon shifter whose only goal is to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of an evil witch. After years of searching, training, and planning, he tracks her down, but this witch isn’t at all what he expected.
- The queen has been told she must find a husband, despite the fact she’s more than capable of ruling on her own. A tournament is held with all the finest suitors and she dismisses each one with a wave of her hand. It’s not until she notices a guard who’s just arrived at the castle that her interest is finally peaked.
- Beauty and the Beast retellings are always a favorite in fantasy romance, so use that as your basis for a captive romance and consider reversing the traditional roles or adding your own twist. Maybe it’s the one who’s held captive that is actually the one who’s cursed to live as a beast or demon.
- As a spin on the above, try making it so that breaking the curse doesn’t end up freeing them from their beast form and that their love interest is cool with that.
- A simple servant/cook/blacksmith is minding their own business when they’re suddenly selected as part of the lineup to be presented to the prince who needs to find someone to marry to save the kingdom.
- You make a bargain with a fae to help save your dying relative (maybe your mother or sibling) and in exchange you give up your firstborn. Once they’ve saved your loved one, you ask them, “When do you get started?” and they give you a strange look. You reply, “Well you wanted my firstborn, so when do we get started?”
- A woman lives under the rule of an evil race of elves, toiling in their mines under duress of the cruel overlords until, one day, she’s suddenly pulled away from her work and presented to the king. They’ve mistaken her as a famous assassin, and now he’s about to put her to the test.
- Your mother has promised that, on your eighteenth birthday, someone would come for you. She hasn’t been well for years, so you put it down to her imagination running wild, sure that couldn’t happen. Of course, at the stroke of midnight on your eighteenth birthday, there’s a knock at your door.
- You haven’t had much luck on the dating scene so you go to a witch to ask her to brew you a love potion. It doesn’t work, so you return asking for something else. All of her remedies keep failing, but now you realize it’s the witch you’re interested in.
Paranormal Romance Plot Ideas
- You’re a bored vampire who's been around for a few hundred years and seen it all. You become obsessed with romance novels, devouring them and wishing you could find that kind of love. One author in particular has caught your interest, and you’ve now read each of her books at least ten times–she writes about vampires with such accuracy, you decide you need to meet her.
- As the pack leader of a wolf shifter clan, you’re tasked with protecting the last of your kind from an enemy pack. Led by a charismatic wolf shifter, you can’t help but notice you’re attracted to them. When you both realize you’re true mates, you need to decide between killing them and wanting them.
- A woman dies in a car crash but comes back to life as an angel. Except she hasn’t always been on her best behavior when she was alive, and heaven isn’t quite ready to accept her. To get her way in, she’s going to have to perform a series of good deeds, helping a woman who’s down on her luck. But your main character is charmed by this woman and wonders if falling in love as a guardian angel is a surefire way to get sent to hell.
- A lonely witch lives alone with a black cat as her only companion. The cat has been alive for a curiously long time, but she assumes it’s her magic at work. When her only friend suddenly disappears, she tracks it down, only to find it was actually a human trapped in the cat’s body all along.
- A man is obsessed with vampire lore and seeks out vampires every weekend with a crew of vamp-hunting misfits. After another unsuccessful night, he finally has to admit that maybe they aren’t real. He sees a woman crossing the road and a car barrelling towards her. Pushing her out of the way, he gets hit instead and dies. Or so he thinks until he wakes up in her vampire lair and his heart is no longer beating.
- A demon finds himself cast out of hell for actually being too bad. The devil decides he needs to learn some humanity, because evil can’t exist without some good to balance it. The demon is furious about it until he meets someone who tries to teach him to become a little less terrible.
- You win a contest to spend a night inside the real Castle Dracula in Transylvania. You know vampires aren’t real, so this should be fun… even if it’s a little creepy. That is, of course, until you meet a very attractive stranger who doesn’t seem to be of this world.
- Being a paranormal hunter isn’t a job without its headaches. When a ghost you sent to the after-after-life returns, they’ve got an ax to grind. Now they’re the ones hunting you.
- A regular human works in a bar and is closing up late one night when she hears a noise in the backroom and goes investigating. She screams when she finds a man there, covered in blood. It turns out he’s a god who’s just been cast out and needs to find a way home.
- A man goes to a Halloween party dressed as the devil. He meets a woman wearing an angel costume, and they hit it off. They start dating, but he can’t shake the feeling there’s something different about her. Eventually he realizes the angel costume wasn’t just a costume and figures out he’s being watched.
Billionaire/Celebrity Romance Plot Ideas
- A man’s rich father dies but states in his will that the man won’t receive his billions until he marries. So the man decides to make it a spectacle, putting an ad in the paper and holding a public contest for his future partner.
- You work at an upscale hotel when an irate guest shows up at the front desk and starts yelling at you. A well-dressed man steps in to interfere and gets the guest thrown out. You stand there in shock as he introduces himself as the owner.
- You’re a successful woman who’s worked hard for everything, carving out billions for yourself. Of course, trying to find a partner is impossible when everyone is after your money. That is, until you meet a humble painter that catches your eye. Not wanting him to know you’re rich, you pose as an ordinary customer to get to know him.
- A newspaper reporter is tasked with interviewing a billionaire Playboy and dreads the assignment, knowing what a cocky jerk he’s going to be. He doesn’t disappoint, acting just like she expected him to. But now he’s sending her flowers and gifts. Is there more to him than meets the eye?
- You’re a celebrity wedding planner and you’ve got your biggest clients yet. When the happy couple has a huge fight the morning of the wedding, you see all your career goals turning to dust. You comfort the bride, who’s devastated and realize there are sparks between you.
- You work as a translator and have been hired on a new assignment. Turns out it’s for a wealthy billionaire who doesn’t just need you to help him translate, he wants you to come with him on a first class trip across the world.
- A personal trainer greets his new client, a billionaire that was once a notorious Playboy. Personal tragedy has caused him to gain some weight, and now it’s your job to help him regain his confidence.
- A real estate agent is tasked with selling the massive house of a celebrity that just lost everything due to a recent scandal. When the celebrity shows up drunk and broken and begging you not to sell their house, you take pity on them and invite them to sleep on your couch for a few days.
- You work for a gossip magazine and have been tasked with digging up dirt on the CEO of one of the country’s biggest companies. It just so happenshe’s the ex of your boss. In the process, you end up meeting the CEO and one thing leads to another.
- You’re flying across the Pacific when the worst happens. Your plane crashes and you end up stranded with a few of the passengers on a remote island, including your childhood crush who’s now a famous actor.
Romantic Comedy Plot Ideas
- You share an office with your work rival and spend all day sharing verbal barbs with each other. Somehow you both get roped into joining the office social committee and are tasked with planning the company’s fiftieth anniversary party.
- A woman begrudgingly attends a family event and is introduced to the son of her mom’s new friend with the intention of setting them up. Turns out the guy is the same man she had a one-night stand with last weekend and he ghosted her.
- You’ve finally bought yourself your little dream house in a quiet neighborhood where you plan to read books and drink wine in your backyard. Suddenly, you hear a racket and find the person next door spends their weekends playing in a garage band, disturbing your quiet sanctuary.
- It’s the day of your wedding and you’ve realized you can’t go through with this. So you squeeze yourself out of the bathroom window and take off, wedding dress and all. That’s when someone stops to offer you a ride and, to your shock, it happens to be your old boyfriend from college.
- Your best friend is marrying the man of her dreams, but you cannot stand his best friend. But now you’re the maid of honor and he’s the best man, and you have to find some way to tolerate each other for the sake of your friends’ wedding.
- You win a contest that includes a trip around the world. The only catch is that you have to go with a stranger you’ve never met before. How bad can it be? You can just ignore each other. But when you arrive at the airport, you realize the other person is definitely not a stranger.
- You’re competing on a reality cooking show and desperately need the money to follow your dream of opening a restaurant. You clash with the top contender in the contest and need to find a way to beat them.
- A woman who went to a prestigious art school thought she’d open her own gallery and become a famous artist. Instead, she works for a company doing face painting for kid’s birthday parties. When she attends the party for a kid with a single dad, her luck might just change.
- You’re a single mom or dad just trying to get by when you end up in a car accident on your way to pick your child up from daycare. You’re frantic because they told you if you were late again, they’d charge you a huge fine that you can’t afford. The person who hit you offers to drive you there since their car is still okay.
- Your best friend just met the man of her dreams and can’t stop talking about him. You can’t wait to meet him, so you organize a dinner party where he can meet everyone without the pressure of a more intimate affair. When your friend walks in with their new love interest, you almost drop the bottle of wine you’re holding. It’s the only man you’ve ever truly loved and let get away.
Historical Romance Plot Ideas
- You are a healer, respected by some in your village but reviled by others. One day, a man appears on your doorstep, bleeding out from an arrow. He passes out, and you drag him inside to tend to him, realizing he must be nobility by the way he’s dressed.
- You’re about to be crowned the first queen of your country after your father’s passing. You suspect foul play in your father’s death so, to uncover the truth, you disguise yourself as a commoner and head into the city where you meet a charming man that sweeps you off your feet.
- A woman lives with her widowed father and two brothers on a farm. One day, three outlaws arrive to exact payment from the father who owes on his gambling debts. Since he can’t pay, they take the woman instead until he can come up with the money.
- As a member of high society, you’re being pressured into finding a partner, but have no interest in marrying one of the pompous suitors that are paraded before you. That’s because your heart already belongs to the serving girl who works in the kitchen.
- You’ve been resisting the countless advances from suitors, and your father has had enough, saying you’ll marry before year end or be thrown out. He’s already decided who it’s going to be and, of course, it’s the last person in the world you want to marry.
- After a woman’s father and last male relative passes, the estate is left to a mysterious stranger.
- You visit a fortune teller at a fair who tells you that the next tall, dark, and handsome person you meet is your soulmate. Later that day, when you’re visiting your aunt for tea, the man who broke your heart walks in.
General Romance Plot Ideas
- Their innate character flaws–selfishness, laziness, pride, fear, low self esteem, hot-headedness–are getting in the way of finding love.
- They’re from different and opposing classes in the world. She’s an uptight librarian. He’s a badass biker. She’s a high society debutante. He’s serving the food.
- Second chance romance–they almost got married once, but things fell apart. They broke up and always regretted it. They’ve been married for years, but that spark is long gone.
- He wronged her in the past, and she’s never forgiven him for it.
- Someone can’t believe in love because they were so utterly betrayed in their last relationship.
- She’s on a dating hiatus after a string of losers and isn’t falling for any more men.
- One of them believes they’re truly unloveable or undeserving of a healthy relationship because of some trauma in their past.
- They’ve been friends forever, but something has shifted. Either one has been in love with the other all along or something happens to make them both realize their feelings are changing.
- One person is keeping a secret from the other that would make them see the other person in an entirely different light.
- They were just supposed to be friends with benefits and weren’t supposed to fall in love.
- They enter into a fake marriage or relationship for the sake of appearances. Maybe it’s to get that job promotion, to make an ex jealous, or to get their nosy parents off their backs. Whatever the case, fake becomes very real.
- They started dating because of a bet…
- They’re star-crossed or forbidden lovers. Their families are rivals. One is a teacher and the other is a student. One is a priest and is about to forsake his vows.
- One person has already been engaged to someone else, either by their choice or not. When they meet the other person, they realize they can’t go through with the wedding.
- They’re fated mates and one rejects the other or they both abhor the idea of being together.
- One of them has constant relationship troubles and finds themselves confiding in their friend who’s actually been in love with them all along.
- They met on vacation and their timeframe is limited. There’s no point in getting serious. They’ll never see each other again.
- He’s been hired as her bodyguard and they weren’t supposed to fall in love.
- One of them never saw themselves settling down for anyone, until they meet the right one.
That should be enough to get you started on your amazing romance novel. I hope. If not, my advice is always read more romance books and take some time to study the tropes of the genre to garner further inspiration.
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The Chosen One. It’s a trope that many people love to hate despite its pervasiveness across popular culture. If you’re unfamiliar with the Chosen One, it’s a popular trope or narrative device used across books, TV shows, and movies where a character is destined to fulfill a certain role or mission, often because they have unique abilities or traits. These traits are frequently tied to magic, meaning you’ll see this trope a lot in fantasy and other types of speculative fiction, especially those with a young adult audience.
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That’s great—our fiction should reflect the world as it is and that means including people of various ethnic backgrounds and skin tones. But the history of writing about people of color is kind of… awful and it’s important to remember that you can’t just throw in a BIPOC character without giving some serious thought to how you represent and describe that character.