20 Best Romantic Writing Prompts Ever
Writing Prompts Help Avoid Writer's Block
Writing prompts are a great way to get past the dreaded blank page by giving your muse a gentle nudge, helping you generate writing ideas and motivating you to explore new territories. Prompts can take you outside your comfort zone and lead you down unexpected paths. Sometimes prompts can encourage you to try writing in genres you’ve never written in before or delve into new writing styles, points of view or tenses. The more unusual the prompt the greater the likelihood that you will come up unique twists and approaches to writing which are novel and fresh.
You never know what hidden gem you may discover when the pressure to generate a story idea is no longer on the table and you can move on to structuring the plot, coming up with the setting and creating the characters. The best thing about writing prompts is that they help you see the world differently and develop your skill at coming up with writing ideas based on everything with which you come into contact. No matter where you look you will see something that your mind will turn into a writing prompt. It’s all about learning to think outside the box.
Holidays are great times to try writing prompts as ideas for special days are more specific and have more familiar boundaries related to what types of things are associated with the holiday. Holiday-related prompts can also spur story ideas that become larger than the holiday itself, helping you write imaginative stories that go beyond the initial idea. Have fun with these Valentine’s Day writing prompts and see what happens when your muse shows up dressed all in hearts.
20 Romantic Writing Prompts
1. Write an Acrostic Poem
This type of poem has a word written vertically top to bottom and each letter is then used to start a word or phrase that describes or is associated with the word. So if I were creating an acrostic poem with the word SUN, I might write:
Sun shines warmly
Upon my upturned face
Nibbling softly at my closed eyelids
Not exactly a masterpiece, but it gives you an idea of how this is done. To write your own acrostic poem, come up with a word or phrase which is associated with Valentine’s Day. I have included a list below to help you if are stuck. Next, brainstorm ideas that come to mind when you think of the word or phrase and write them down. Write your chosen word or phrase in capital letters vertically, top to bottom. Select brainstormed ideas that start with letters in your word and write them next to the associated letter. Come up with ideas for any letters that are blank. Replace any lines that don’t seem to fit or that you don’t like with new words or phrases until you have created a poem that makes the statement that makes the statement that you intend. If you have difficulty with certain letters, you can browse scrabble helpers. These will provide you with words starting and ending with specific letters. Just Google "words starting with _" or "ending with _" along with the letter you need.
As a variation on this, for a challenge create an acrostic poem in which the lines end in the letter of your chosen word or phrase. Since this is more difficult give yourself more leeway by allowing the concept you are representing to be something you associate with something else. For example, if I use the word SUN again and decide that the warmth of the sun is like the warmth I feel when the person I love looks at me I might write:
nibbling softly at closed eyelidS
the warm gaze of beloved beaU
touches my soul and makes my heart quickeN
Again, not a masterpiece but you get the idea.
For an easier version, you can also write an acrostic with the letter from your chosen word in the middle of the line starting, ending or even in the middle of any word you choose. Again using the word sun, I might come up with:
miracle Star of day
amidst a bright blUe sky
beauty aNd hope it heralds
Now, it’s your turn. Write an acrostic poem using one of the following words:
The name of the person you love
Or any other word you associate with Valentine’s Day.
2. The Valentine's Day Massacre
The year is 1929 and it is Valentine’s Day, the day of one of the bloodiest days in mafia history. This is the day of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre when seven men were gunned down in Chicago. Although it could never be proven, Al Capone was credited for arranging for the hits and he benefited after, rising to power as a result. This was the era of prohibition, another factor which helped Capone build a fortune and an empire. Write a story where you create an alternative history involving a Valentine’s Day massacre and a mafia like organization where two rival factions are at war and set it in Victorian England or America’s Wild West. Make the mafia boss who arranges for the murders a woman.
3. Include These Words
Write a story which includes all the following words: heart, bow and arrow, star crossed, sensual.
4. Do I Know You?
Your protagonist receives a phone call. The caller talks to them as if they know them extremely well. The protagonist asks who it is and the caller laughs and says it's their spouse. The protagonist is shocked because they are convinced they are single, and happily single. How does the conversation go from there? At some point it becomes clear that there was a long romantic courtship. What did this consist of? The protagonist finally gets off the phone after making plans to meet the person. They make a few calls and it becomes clear that everyone in their life believes that they are married. How do these conversations go? The protagonist goes to meet the caller. Do they seem familiar or do they seem like a complete stranger? What happens from there? Do you decide to explain how this strange turn of events occurred or do you just go from the point of the call?
5. Write a Modern Version of Romeo and Juliet
It can be set anywhere you choose including other planets or worlds, real or imagined. It can occur in any time period from 1950 on, whether it’s the past, present or future.
6. Famous Lovers
Write a story which incorporates one or more of the following famous lovers:
- Antony and Cleopatra
- Paris and Helen
- Hadrian and Antinous
- Henry II and Rosamund
- Dante and Beatrice
- Napoleon and Josephine
- Lancelot and Guinevere
- Tristan and Isolde
- Paris and Helen of Troy
- Orpheus and Eurydice
- Napoleon and Josephine
- Pocahontas and John Smith
- Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy
- Odysseus and Penelope
- Paolo and Francesca
- Robin Hood and Maid Marian
- Beauty and the Beast
- Jane Eyre and Rochester
- Narcissus and, well, Narcissus
7. Valentine Gone Wrong
Write a story about a Valentine that went wrong. Maybe it was delivered to the wrong person or two got mixed up. Maybe someone looking to play a joke or get revenge purposely switched two of them or took one from a mailbox so it wouldn’t be delivered. Maybe someone scanned one and put it on the internet for all to see. What happened with the Valentine and what were the consequences?
You can write about consequences that were bad but the story turns around at the end and the results are ultimately better than what would have been originally expected. There could be a twist at the end which is a total surprise. The end could be what is expected but for entirely different reasons than what the reader was lead to believe.
8. World Without Love
Write a story about a world where love is forbidden but two people come to disobey the law. Maybe the feelings of love are present in everyone but it not allowed in this society. It can be set in any time, past, present or future and can occur in this world or any other you choose. How did this situation come to be? Was it a crisis that caused it or just a rational decision? Are there any people who are against the law? If so, why? What method is used to keep love at bay? Some kind of immunization given at a certain age? What happens to the two who have disobeyed the law? Does anyone find out and if so what are the consequences? In the end, does the law stand or is it abolished?
9. Immortal Beloved
Beethoven wrote a famous letter that spanned pages to a woman he identified only as his Immortal Beloved.” Although there has been speculation as to the actual identity of this woman, it still remains a mystery. Write a story that includes a made-up letter written from Beethoven to his “Immortal Beloved” that also creates a character that represents the person with whom he was so madly in love. Write in any genre you choose and try to give the character an unusual or unpredictable identity. Where did they meet or did they meet at all? What about the individual does Beethoven find so irresistible? How do they go about keeping their love a secret? Why is it necessary to keep the relationship hidden? Does anyone know about it and if so, who?” Why would it still be a mystery hundreds of years later? Did Beethoven actually send the letter?
How helpful do you find writing prompts for eliminating writer's block or for increasing creativity and motivation?
10. Cupid Quits
Write a story in which Cupid no longer wants the job of getting lovers together. Who does he select to take over and why? Does the individual actually want the job? If they want it, what happens? If not, how does Cupid try to convince them to take it? Or does Cupid somehow just trap them, forcing them into it? If Cupid is successful, does the new love God/Goddess do a good job? If so, how? If not, what are the consequences? Does Cupid miss the job? If so, does he try to get it back and what happens? If not, what does he do instead? Does he retire and relax? Take up a hobby like gardening or knitting? Does he decide to switch professions and go back to work? If so, what does he choose to do? Does he need training or maybe he apprentices? If so, after being the Love God where he was in charge, how does he react? At the end of your story is he resolved as to his path, whatever you determine that to be, or is he conflicted and dissatisfied?
11. True Love Takes a Back Seat
Write a story about two people who really fall in love on a television reality show such as the Bachelor/Bachelorette only for the sake of ratings they aren’t allowed to let anyone know. The sponsors decide that they want the character to date one of the other contestants and want them to send their choice home. What happens?
12. The Secret Admirer
Write a story where your protagonist has a secret admirer but they can't find out who they are no matter how hard they try. Does the secret admirer have good intentions or bad intentions? Tell the story without including the secret admirer, where the reader knows about them, their intentions, and their actions strictly through someone else's point of view for example, the protagonist or the protagonists love interest. Does the secret admirer know what the protagonist is doing to find out their identity? If so, do they impose consequences to try to get them to stop or do they give hints to help them figure it out (or something else)? Is it possible the secret admirer doesn't really exist at all and the protagonist is creating them in their mind and carrying out all the actions such as sending letters, buying gifts etc. themselves? If so, when does the reader learn this, soon after the beginning, sometime in the middle, or at the end? Does the reader learn it before the protagonist? If so, what aspects of the protagonist's character lead the reader to assume the secret admirer is, in fact, the protagonist? Or do you leave the question of the secret admirer's identity open, letting the reader decide if they think it is the protagonist or someone else? How do you go about making the ending ambiguous but still satisfying?
13. Told in Dreams
Tell a story that starts with the following lines: "You are my one true love, even if we've never met. Every night you visit me, sometimes in romantic dreams, sometimes in terror filled nightmares."
14. Ghostly Love
Take a love scene from one of the following books (or choose your own) and retell it only make one of the two characters a ghost.
- Romeo and Juliet
- Great Expectations
- Gone with the Wind
- Pride and Prejudice
- Wuthering Heights
- Madame Bovary
- Doctor Zhivago
- Love Story
- The Princess Bride
- The Count of Monte Cristo
- Love in the Time of Cholera
15. A Hidden Love
Write a love story about two people who are on a military spacecraft, hurtling through the galaxy on the way to fight an interstellar war. Since they are serving together, they aren't allowed to date. How do the manage to see each other but keep it secret? How do they plan dates and what do the dates consist of? Write at least one scene about them almost getting caught. What happened and who almost caught them? What would have been the consequences if they had been caught? Include one of the pairs best friends who helps them sneak around and see each other and who provides explanations for times when they aren't where they are supposed to be. Include another character that suspects something is going on between the two and who wants to get them into trouble. Why do they want the two people to get caught? Is it jealousy since they have no relationship, they used to date one of the two people and still have feelings for the person or another reason? What do they do in an effort to out the couple? Are they successful? If so, what are the consequences? If not, what happens instead? What year is it and what characterizes that time period?
16. I'm Not Going Anywhere
Write a love story that begins with the following lines: "Don't you dare try to shut me out of this relationship. I've been here since the very beginning. I'm more a part of it than you are. And if your lover ever finds out . . . " Who is speaking and who are they addressing? What are they talking about? What exactly would happen if the other person's lover found out? And what exactly is there to find out? Do they know the other persons lover or are they strangers? What do they mean when they say they've been there since the very beginning? When they say not to shut them out, to what are they responding? What did the other person do that is being perceived as shutting them out? How have they been a part of the relationship? Why do they think they are more important to the relationship that the person to whom they are speaking? What is the relationship between the other two people like?
17. Valentine's Day Contest
It has been decided that Valentine’s Day is outdated and it has been done away with. There is a contest to come up with a new Valentine’s Day with new traditions and ways of expressing love for each other that is more in keeping with the times. Write a story where a group of characters are creating a proposal for the new Valentine’s Day. What would it be called? What aspects of love and what situations would it celebrate? Divorced and remarried spouses who still have affection for one another? Men and women who had a child together where the pregnancy was an accident and they never were married? People having affairs expressing love for their various others? Or would they go in the opposite direction and make the holiday more restrictive and only applicable to people in certain circumstances? For example, maybe your story is set in an alternate reality where couples who marry are on probation for the first five years of their marriage, and only then if it works out, are they truly considered married with all the rights that go along with it. Or maybe only certain people are allowed to get married and these are the only ones the new holiday is for. What does the group finally come up with? What different options are discussed and how do they decide what their final proposal will include? Are there conflicts and arguments that occur when they are still discussing options? Do any of the members leave the group and possibly come up with a competing proposal? If so, what happens? Is the reader told who wins at the end? If so, who is the winner? Your characters or some others not in the story? Either way, how do your characters react?
18. The Gift-Giving Olympics
Tell a story about a very competitive couple who turn gift giving into a major contest every Valentines Day. How do they determine who wins? How do they each grow over the course of the story? Does this change the way they view gift giving? How did they become so competitive in the first place?
19. An Unanticipated Betrayal
Write a story where the protagonist is truly in love with someone but is put in a position where they have to betray them as the consequences if they don't are far worse than what will happen if they do. How does this situation come about? What is the betrayal they will be forced to commit? Who is making them betray their loved one and why? Does the other person find out about the betrayal? If so, how do they react? If so, assume the person is not allowed to disclose the real reason for the betrayal. What reason do they give and how do they go about trying to salvage the relationship. Are the successful? Do they think that the betrayal was ultimately worth it in the end? Why or why not? Put a twist of some sort at the end.
20. A Modern Day Cyrano de Bergerac
Write a modern day version of Cyrano de Bergerac. Instead of a big nose give him (or her) another feature they are embarrassed by but which can't be seen. What is it and why are they so embarrassed? The protagonist is in love with a woman (or man) but so is another character and the protagonist has to be satisfied with communicating his (her) feelings by helping the other character and providing them with poetry to give to or speak to their love interest. How does the story end? You don't have to stick strictly to the story of Cyrano—use your imagination. For an added challenge write the story in rhyming couplets of twelve syllables per line, like the original.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Natalie Frank