Romance authors are often asked where we get our ideas…and some people even leer and offer to help with our research, if you know what I mean. No good answer for that one, but when a writer pens stories of love, it seems to lay us open for this sort of innuendo.
But writing relationships can be as much work as it is fun and there are as many different angles on romance as there are people who write them. Sure, plots may have the same variables, but how their arranged can be very different. Authors play with characterizations and word choice and that makes each story as different as they are similar.
Different authors find different situations inspiring. Sometimes, an entire story can flare up from a single situation and some scenarios–complete with characterization and plot–can spring from a dream. It can be easy or as difficult–as the saying goes–as pulling teeth. Some plots must be massaged a number of times, different aspects clicked in and out until just the right focus pops up. Some writers are plot geniuses and others strain to craft each one. I have one critique partner who comes up with plots out of thin air and another who is brilliant with titles. Title brilliance is nothing to sneeze at, let me tell you.
For story tellers, inspiration can come from a wide variety of sources. Just give us a pen and notepad and stand back.