Historical Romance Story Ideas and Writing Prompts (2023)

historical romance writing prompts

Looking for unique historical romance story ideas and writing prompts to spark the imagination? You’ve come to the right place!

Read on for ideas like a grieving Viking widow who roams the sea in search of her husband, or two frenemies trying to survive on the frontier against drought, a deadly virus, and each other!

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Historical Romance Genre

Historical romance is a vast subgenre of mass-market fiction that focuses on love connections in historical eras.

The genre consists of a large varieties focusing in different time periods, from Viking, Medieval, period England (including Tudor, Elizabethan, Stuart, Georgian, Regency, Victorian), Pirate, Colonial United States, Civil War, Western, Native American, and Americana.

Here’s an interesting quote about historical romance:

Romance novels can be broken down into two broad categories: historical romances, which utilize a wide variety of historical backdrops, and contemporary romances. The distinction is important because the temporal settings have a strong influence on plot lines and the type of fantasy that is found in the books.

– Cathie Linz

Historical Romance Writing Prompts

Without further ado, below are some enticing historical romance writing prompts from the Viking, Medieval, Period England, and Western eras!

(For pirate writing prompts, please head to Thrilling Pirate Writing Prompts.)

Please note that the genders in these starters are just placeholders and are not meant to enforce any hurtful stereotypes nor offend anyone.

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Viking Romance Writing Prompts

Viking historical romances feature Vikings heroes during the Dark Ages or Middle Ages, who are the typical tall, blonde, handsome alpha males tamed by their heroines. Here are some fun historical romance writing prompts set in the Viking era.

1. Following an arranged marriage between the Jarl‘s son and the barbarian leader’s daughter for peace, the barbarian leader is found dead. For this reason, all eyes are naturally on the Jarl and his son, with the barbarian leader’s daughter vowing revenge for the death of her father. But as the truth unfolds, will the hatred between the two blooms into something else?

2. A Viking warrior kidnaps a healer from the nearest village to cure a mysterious ailment that afflicts his men. Evidently, opposite attracts. But the truth behind the ailment might prove to be greater than their love for each other. (A variation of this prompt first appeared in my post 12 Thrilling Paranormal Writing Prompts.)

3. When a group of Vikings catches a mermaid during their latest voyage, they must deal with the wrath of her family. It’s up to one young Viking warrior to mend the fences. And will romance bloom despite the chaos and threats of bloodbath?

4. A picture prompt based on the picture below: A grieving Viking widow takes up the mantle of her supposedly drowned Jarl husband, and refusing to accept his death she roams the sea in an attempt to rescue him. But what she never expects is to finally letting go of the dead and welcoming a new love into her life.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

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Medieval Romance Writing Prompts

Medieval historical romances (set between 938 and 1485) typically has a witty heroine while the hero is someone who’s protective yet respects the heroine’s desire to be independent. Hence, here are some delicious medieval historical romance writing prompts!

1. The heirs of two neighboring kingdoms are betrothed to marry one another for peace. The only problem? The princess has been engaged for seven times, but somehow, all of her fiancés were found dead a day after the betrothal ceremony.

2. Two families, two kingdoms. One is the conqueror, the other is the conquered. The male heir of the conquered one was smuggled into the court of the conqueror, in order to save his life (or alternatively, as a part of a revenge plan), and ends up befriending the female heir of the conqueror. The result is two star-crossed lovers with the blood of the other’s ancestors staining their hands. (Originally appeared in my post Romance Story Ideas with a Unique Twist.)

3. Enemies to lovers: When a ruthless queen/king is finally dethroned by her/his trusted advisor, the latter plans to make the ex-queen/king his slave in more ways than one out of revenge. But somehow, romance blooms amidst the political intrigue and hatred. (Originally appeared in my post Dark Romance Writing Prompts.)

4. A picture prompt based on the picture below: A disgraced Lord must face punishment from his King, but on the night of his execution, a former maid bears the news that might tip the balance in his favor. Of course, an adventure follows, laced with budding romance and mutual respect between the Lord and the maid.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

Period England Romance Writing Prompts

Court intrigues, ballroom dances, deadly alliances and clandestine romances. The period England historical romances are full of delicious tropes that provides a bottomless well of inspirations! Here are some period England historical romance writing prompts.

1. A widowed woman marries his husband’s brother after her husband was presumed killed in a war. But when her former husband comes back years later, would she still love him or would she have moved on already with her life? (Originally appeared in my post Tragic Love Story Ideas We’re Rooting for.)

2. An ailing woman insists that her husband finds her replacement before she passes away. What follows is a storm of jealousy and angst along with hope, love and respect between the characters as well as for the stolen time they have left together. (Originally appeared in my post Tragic Love Story Ideas We’re Rooting for.)

3. The story of a matchmaker who falls in love with one of her high profile clients! Because of this, her reputation is greatly at risk.

4. Two governesses to a wealthy family in 1800’s England meet on the job and then fall in love. As a result, they have to hide their ‘forbidden’ relationship from their employer and the society at large. (Originally appeared in my post Tragic Love Story Ideas We’re Rooting for.)

5. A picture prompt based on the picture below: Two childhood friends have been promised to one another, but a new political threat has deemed it necessary for the betrothal of the young man to another lady. Consequently, the slighted ex-betrothed infiltrates the court of her former betrothed, vowing a revenge for the shame his family has inflicted on her.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

Wild West Romance Writing Prompts

Wild West or western romance stories provide platforms for male protagonists who are a bit rough on the edges and the stories are enveloped in a thrilling frontier setting where anything can happen. Here are some western romance writing prompts to get the creative juice flowing!

1. While fighting for the ownership of a patch of land, two neighbors and frenemies must face drought and a deadly virus that kills most of their livestock and nearly claims their own lives. But those might just be the things that finally makes them see eye to eye.

2. After leaving her shady old job behind, a woman resolves to turn her life around and disguises herself as a boy to work as a hired hand on a farm. What happens when the man who hires her finds out about the truth, and what happens when the repercussions of her former life catches up with her? (Originally appeared in my post Romance Story Ideas with a Twist.)

3. A picture prompt based on the picture below: A man on the frontier has been corresponding with a woman with the intention of making her his wife. But she hides a secret. Does she hire someone else to write the letters for her because she’s illiterate? Is she the daughter of his sworn enemy who plans his demise?

(Please click on the image for more information about it.


I hope the historical romance story ideas and writing prompts above spark some inspiration in you. If you need more story ideas and prompts, please browse our Story Ideas & Writing Prompts category!

Have any question or feedback? Feel free to contact me here. Until next time!

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