Tragic Love Story Ideas We’re Rooting For

Tragic Love Story Ideas

Are you looking for tragic love story ideas for your next writing project? Read on for prompts like an ailing wife tasking her husband to find her replacement, a nurse becoming attached to a dying patient, and many more!

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The Definition of Tragic Love Story

Tragic love story is a love story that incites the feeling of pity or fear in the audience. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare is perhaps the most famous tragic love story since the story ends with the main characters’ miscommunication which is the start of their demise.

Some more recent examples of this genre include The Fault in Our Stars (John Green), A Walk to Remember (Nicholas Sparks) and Atonement (Ian McEwan).

An apt quote that perhaps could sum up this genre:

He taught me how to love, but not how to stop.

– Anonymous

Now, before diving into some tragic love story prompts, let’s further dissect other aspects of this genre.

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Why Do We Love Tragic Love Stories?

We love a tragic story or tragedy because it provides us with catharsis, or “pain [that] awakens pleasure.” We also love a tragic narrative because it brings a sense of realism to the story.

Not only that, it also highlights the positive aspects in the readers’ lives. It makes us feel better about our own lives, and sometimes, that’s all we need.

Cross that over with romance, the best-selling genre of all time, and you’ve got yourself a nice formula for a hit novel. 

Components of a Tragic Love Story

In his work Poetics, Aristotle stated that tragedy is distinguished by a complex and serious story structure full of fear or pity-inducing incidents and features a great person who suffers a reversal of fate, with the transition from good to terrible, as in Oedipus Rex, being preferred since it evokes sympathy and dread in the audience.

Through the audience’s experience of these emotions in reaction to the suffering of the characters in the narrative, the audience experiences catharsis (emotional cleansing) or healing.

Tragic Love Story Ideas

Without further ado, here are some tragic love story plot ideas. Please note that the genders in these prompts are just placeholders and are not meant to enforce any hurtful stereotypes nor offend anyone.

Anyone who ever has their loved ones pass away can relate that death is one of life’s greatest tragedies because it creates a ticking clock to the human experience. Some tragic story ideas related to death:

 – A woman’s life is in chaos after learning that, first, her husband died in an accident. And then, his identical twin brother—whom she is unaware of—shows up on his funeral.


– Bonding over the loss of their loved ones in a freak manufacturing accident, two people decide to follow the breadcrumbs and investigate. 


10 Edgy Futuristic Story Ideas

Similar to death, sickness can wrench away the joy of the human experience. Besides, it often comes with various challenges that not only affect the patient but also the people around them. Here are some illness-related tragic plot ideas:

– A nurse becomes attached to a terminally ill patient. When it’s clear that there’s no cure for the patient, the two set out to travel to a country where euthanasia is legal in order to set the patient free of their suffering.


– An ailing wife insists that her husband find someone to take her place.


10 NaNoWriMo Plot Ideas We Love

– A famous albeit bad-tempered Broadway actress keeps her fatal diagnosis a secret as she goes through a list of understudies to find someone worthy to replace her. But will she find true love instead? (Sapphic story.)


– A widowed woman marries his husband’s brother after her soldier husband was presumed killed in action. But when her  former husband comes back years later, would she still love him or would she have moved on already with her life?


Embittered by the loss of his late wife in childbirth, a father becomes absent and negligent of his child’s education. It’s up for the child’s teacher to step up show him what it takes to let go and start anew.



There’s something about odd pairings finding love in each other that appeals to our sympathy. When the entire world is against them, it makes us wanna cheer for them even more! Here are some tragic love story ideas related to odd pairings:

– Two governesses to a wealthy family in 1800’s England meet on the job and fall in love and have to hide their ‘forbidden’ relationship from their employer and the society at large.


An older bouncer finds himself caring for a young stripper who’s down on her luck and is in a huge debt to a local mob boss. When it’s clear that her life is at risk, the two set out on a road trip in an attempt to escape the gangster’s wrath.


The last wish of an ailing teenager is to see their two favorite movie stars (who are often paired in movies) to have a dinner date together. The problem is, they’re enemies in real life.


More Ideas!

If you need more inspiration, please check these books out!

Every tragic story needs great conflicts. Don’t give your character a break! Throw various difficulties their ways, things that will compel them to work harder to get to their goals. The Conflict Thesaurus, with over 100 entries organized in a user-friendly fashion, will help you achieve this. With 88% of all reviewers giving this a 5-star, what are you waiting for?



A riveting tragic story has the ability to elicit reader’s sympathy. Achieve this by giving your characters an authentic wound that challenges and motivates them to seek for inner growth to overcome it. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is a crash lesson in psychology for developing characters that feel real to readers, and not to be missed with 89% of reviewers giving this a 5-star review.



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Need more plot ideas? Check these out:

That’s all I have for today. Until next time and thanks for dropping by!

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