Tragic Love Story Ideas We’re Rooting For (Updated in 2024)

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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Tragic Love Story Ideas

Love, often a tale of passion and joy, sometimes dons the mask of sorrow and loss. We invite you to discover narratives that evoke raw emotions, where love’s poignant melody is harmonized with tears and heart-rending choices. Without further ado, here are some 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 embodies the ticking clock that is the human experience. Some tragic story ideas related to death:

1.  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.

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

3. A story about a couple who are going through a nasty divorce, ending with the wife passing away shortly after the divorce is finalized and the husband finding his wife’s letter afterward. Reading it, he realizes that she had always have his best interest at heart, and he begins to see all the things leading up to their divorce in a different light.

4. A grieving woman isolates herself after losing her lover in a car accident. When she begins to see her lover around the house again, it slowly dawns on her that it was her who died in that accident. (Originally appeared on my post Paranormal Romance Story Ideas.)

5. 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.

6. 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?

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 story ideas:

1.  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.

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

3. 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? (A sapphic story.)

4. An ailing teenager writes to their two favorite movie stars begging them to make a movie together. Both stars’ managers see this as a great publicity opportunity and work to make the teen’s last wish come true. The problem is, the two stars loathe each other in real life.


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 ideas relating to odd pairings:

1. 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. (A sapphic story)

2. 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.

3. A middle-aged woman in a hetero marriage falls in love with another woman halfway across the globe, bonded by a shared internet hobby. When one of them travels to see the other, would she find her feelings reciprocated or would she find her heart broken? A sapphic story. (Originally appeared in my post NaNoWriMo Plot Ideas We Love).

4. A priest’s childhood crush comes back to town after years of losing touch, and she needs his help. Torn between his faith and his love for her, the priest makes a series of tragic choices that may or may not help her situation, after all.

5. Following the passing of his son, a widowed man has been helping his daughter-in-law with things around the house as well as caring for his toddler granddaughter. Against all odds, feelings started to develop between two.

The Definition of Tragic Love Story

Now, let’s dive deeper into the subject!

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

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. 

More Ideas!

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.



Need more plot ideas? Check these out:

Or browse our Story Ideas & Writing Prompts category for more ideas!

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

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