How to write a summer romance novel in 2024

Summer can be a wonderful chance to write your own summery romance novel. But how do you go about doing that?

In this post, I give you some pointers for how to write your dreamy summer romance and I share my best resources for writing love stories that make your readers go squee (or some other noise of your choosing).

Related reading: Structuring your story the easy wayHow to write your first novel in 2024 – How to write character appearance

How to write a summer romance novel

How do you write a romance novel?

A well-written romance novel needs these ingredients:

This is what a romance novel needs
  • Two people who fall in love and eventually end up together
  • An internal journey for those two lovers – because there are mental obstacles and misconceptions they need to overcome
  • An external journey with external goals and obstacles

The external journey is what sets your story apart from others. Is your romance novel set in a record shop in London in 1995? Or is it about rivalling bookstores? Does the heroine start a bakery? That is the outer “stuff” of your story and both of your characters need goals that aren’t related to the relationship.

A person with long hair and a peach summer dress is holding wildflowers.

The inner journey of romance novels goes like this: Oh wow I’ve just met this amazing person (OR I’m just seeing this person I already know in a new light) but we can’t be together “because reasons”. We get closer anyway and hey could this work after all? No, actually, I’m letting my flaws and misconceptions get the better of me and we pull away from each other. Oh but it’s too painful to be apart so I’m doing something big to fix things. And then we live happily ever after (or at least happily for now).

If you want to stray from that general structure, you might not be writing a romance novel. You have to follow genre expectations so a happy ending is a must, but you can see you still have so much room for variation. There’s no reason to write a boring and formulaic story.

You also can’t have the “and they lived happily ever after” happen too soon. Sure, your characters can kiss, jump into bed and profess their undying love earlier in the story, but they need to get over their flaws, misconceptions and existing problems before they can truly be together. They need to earn it. Reading about story structure will help you understand this concept better.

Get the romance novel outline template

If you want to write your romance novel the easy way, my romance novel template for Google Docs will help you plan and write a romance novel that your readers won’t soon forget. It will tell you far more than this post does about writing your romance novel from start to finish and it has already been used and loved by more than a hundred writers.

You get thorough explanations for every step that your story needs and the template is easy to follow. You can use it to plan your story and you could even write your entire novel right there on Google Docs. Because it’s easy to access, you could write on the beach, in your favourite café, at your best friend’s house or anywhere you wish.

Write a summer romance. "This Romance Novel Template is beyond AMAZING! I love the thought and detail that went into it."

Sweet or steamy?

Your summery love story can be sweet, steamy or something in between.

The fluffier stories tend to “fade to black” instead of describing what happens behind the closed bedroom doors. The two lovers might not even have sex (or even kiss) before the end where they finally get each other. If that’s what you prefer to read and write, that’s totally fine!

Summertime stories offer you so many options for romantic interactions. You can share ice cream with your crush, you can walk on the beach at night or you could give a bouquet of wildflowers to your girlfriend. Think of everything you love about summer and make use of it in your story.

A person with long hair and a peach summer dress is holding an old book.

Steamier stories usually have more than one sex scene and the things that your characters think and say will be different. Don’t just write about what happens when your characters get naked, show us how they feel when they look at each other. I’m not an expert smut writer but I want to give you these two pointers: using weird euphemisms will do nothing but distract your reader and remember to use all five senses when writing your scenes.

When you’re writing a spicy summer story, you can also make use of all the uniquely summery things of the season. Skimpy clothing, sweaty weather, being able to do stuff outdoors that you can’t do in winter… The options are endless.

Inspiration for summer love stories

So now that you know how to write a romance novel, here’s some inspiration for summery stories.

First of all, what does summer mean to you? Is it time off from your studies or do you spend every evening after work at the beach? Do you love flowers and strolls on the countryside? When you write what you love, it’s easy to infuse that feeling into your story. Really get into the feeling of summer and create a moodboard for your story.

I’ve written a post about writing different seasons in your story and you should read the section on summer for more inspiration for how to show the season in your writing. You also get tips for writing your summer story during some other season.

Inspiration for summery love stories

Ideas for summer romance novels

I’m sure your ideas are better than mine, but if you’re running low on inspiration, here are some ideas for summery love stories:

  • A girl who hates summer is forced to get a job at the ice cream stall at the beach. Will she change her mind about her least favourite season when she falls for a surfer who orders whopping four scoops of strawberry ice cream every day?
  • When staying at her grandma’s for the summer, Mary meets an interesting stranger at the local library where she’s escaping the summer heat.
  • It’s tourist season in South Fairfield and Marcus couldn’t care less about giving boat rides to clueless people who have no respect for the ocean. That all changes when he gets stranded on an island with a woman who just wanted to save a hurt seal.
  • Katie can’t sleep so she goes for a midnight walk on the beach where she runs into another sleepless girl. They exchange numbers, but will Katie be able to share her secret that is the real reason for her sleeplessness?
  • Billie thought the campsite flooding during the festival weekend was a total disaster, but actually it turns out to be the best thing that has ever happened to her when she ends up meeting her soulmate while drenched in mud.

Romance writing prompts for your summer stories

My collections of writing prompts aren’t summer-specific but they still offer heaps of inspiration for your romance stories. I’m going to link for things I’ve got in my Etsy shop, but if you’d prefer free writing prompts, you chould check out my romance writing prompts board on Pinterest. You can find many of my own prompts there.

So let’s see what kind of romance writing prompts I offer you at Writer Lifestyle on Etsy. These Romance Writing Prompts include prompts for many kinds of love stories whether they’re angsty or cute. There are character prompts, story starters, dialogue prompts and word prompts for you to choose from.

When it comes to steaminess, I would say my Steamy Writing Prompts are about 2 out of 5. There are obviously adult themes in the prompts but they’re not overly graphic and there are no mentions of genitals. (And until now, this blog was completely free of any mentions of genitals…) I have included dialogue prompts, sentence prompts, words to use and story ideas.

If it’s something spicier you’re after, these Spicy Writing Prompts are great for smut writers and for anyone else who needs their bedroom scenes to be a little hotter than average. On the steaminess scale, they’re about 4/5. These prompts have dialogue prompts, sentence prompts, words to use and story ideas, and there are mentions of kink and various body parts.

For all the writers out there who are more sweet than steamy, I created this collection of Cute Writing Prompts About Relationships.

Can you really write a book during summer holidays?

A hand is holding up a book with flowers between the pages

You absolutely can write the first draft of your story during summer holidays (or even if you have no holidays) but don’t expect to write a finished novel in that time.

Although it will take a little time to start off with, outlining your story will save you time and make writing your novel so much easier and more efficient. That way you can make the most of your summer and make more progress than without a solid plan.

What to do after you’ve written your summer romance novel?

After you’ve written the first draft of your romance novel, take a little break from your writing. After that, it’s time to start editing your story.

My guide for editing your novel gives you an easy to follow process for making your writing shine without getting lost in the whole process. After you’ve edited to your story to the best of your abilities, you’re ready to share it with the world. I’m so excited for you.

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