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5 Romantic Suspense Writing Prompts

Romantic Suspense is the workhorse of romance sub-genres, weaving two genres (romance + suspense) into one story so seamlessly and skillfully that often, you can't really tell where either begins—though you'll know where they both end, because romantic suspense novels feature a happily ever after AND a solved mystery in the third act.

What I love most about the sub-genre is the breadth of different niches it offers; you've got K-9, private security, Western, private detective, FBI, medical—and the list just keeps going. And while you'll see some of the best romantic suspense out there published by the Harlequin's Romantic Suspense and Intrigue imprints, there are plenty of indie romantic suspense authors in the game. My personal favorites are Janie Crouch and Susan Stoker, and they're great authors if you're just starting out in the RomSus world, but there are so, so many others worth exploring if you want to start writing the sub-genre.

Because—and I say this at least once a week, and it will never not be true—if you want to write a romance sub-genre, you have to read it. It's how you learn the sub-genre's plot structure, common tropes and character archetypes, and pacing. And after you finish a book, go to Goodreads and read the reviews; you'll figure out what makes readers love a romantic suspense book, and what makes them abandon one, and from there, you'll have the foundational understanding of the genre and its readers' expectations necessary to start penning your own romantic suspense novel.

Below are 5 romantic suspense writing prompts to get you started.

  1. Tropes: Second chance, celebrity heroine Type of romantic suspense: Private security Main character 1: an actor known for her charitable work with reproductive justice Main character 2: the bodyguard hired to protect her from a group who wants to kill her for her beliefs Setting: Rural Washington state Prompt: Write the scene when the main character first meets her bodyguard and realizes it's her ex (aka the meet-cute)

  2. Trope: Forced proximity Type of romantic suspense: Medical Main character 1: A professional fell runner Main character 2: A mountain rescue volunteer and medic Setting: Yorkshire M oors in the UK Prompt: Write a scene where MC1 and MC2 realize they're stuck in a bothy for the night with only one sleeping bag

  3. Trope: Runaway bride Type of romantic suspense: K-9 Main character 1: Lawyer, former fiancee of abusive senator Main character 2: Army veteran, K-9 security expert Setting: Upstate New York Prompt: Write a scene where the runaway bride and Army vet realize the bride's fiance is close by, and the Army vet has to calm the bride down from a panic attack

  4. Trope: Grumpy/sunshine Type of romantic suspense: Western Main character 1: Horse trainer Main character 2: Local sheriff Setting: Rural Colorado Prompt: Write a scene where the sheriff cares for the horse trainer's gunshot wound after he's shot by the man who claims he stole his horse

  5. Trope: Secret baby Type of romantic suspense: Private detective Main character 1: Chef Main character 2: Private detective Setting: New York City Prompt: Write a scene where the chef and private detective are about to give in to their feelings, but the chef reveals her secret (their baby)

If these prompts have you yearning to pen your own romantic suspense story from the beginning, check out these 2 books first for that foundational understanding of the sub-genre I was talking about: Trapped in Yosemite by Dana Mentink and Whiteout by Adriana Anders

Until next post, happy reading and writing!


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