2,000 Writing Prompts for Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Stories

light bulb plugging itself in, illustration for writing prompts collection

Can’t decide what to write about? Looking for some great story ideas? Then you’re in the right place! This is the biggest story ideas list on the web! Browse over two thousand amazing sci-fi, horror, and fantasy writing prompts. This collection is great for speculative fiction, anything supernatural, futuristic, or just plain weird. These writing prompts can also be used for romance stories, scary stories, stories for kids, and other creative writing. You’re sure to find great ideas for your next project, and put an end to writer’s block forever.

Science Fiction Writing Prompts

Space Opera Writing Prompts – Story Ideas About Space Travel, Aliens, and the Universe

  • Radio Phobos was both a space station and a radio station in space. From 250 miles above Kepler, Catherine broadcasted her personally-curated collection of the greatest recordings from humanity’s home world, an extinct planet called “Earth”. She broadcasted music for sixteen hours a day, and while she slept, eight hours of radio plays, audio books, and other long-form entertainment. During longer songs, she loved to look through the station’s vast rose window and stare down at the planet below, wishing someone was staring back up at her. Of course, as she was traveling at 17,000 miles an hour, this was impossible. Or so she thought…
  • A young boy finds an alien egg at the farm where his father works. He decides to hide it in his room and see what comes out when it hatches.
  • The police chief of a small town is murdered by someone who claims to be an alien. The authorities debate whether the human-looking “alien” is a lunatic or actually the beginning of an invasion.
  • A housewife traps an alien inside the family’s bomb shelter. A moment later, the full-scale invasion starts, with ships flying over the city, blasting buildings to bits. She must decide if she will go in the shelter and possibly be killed by the strange creature, or stay outside and risk the house being destroyed and collapsing around her.

Apocalyptic Story Ideas – Zombies, the Post-Apocalypse, and More

  • We were trying to save the world, but our creation may destroy it. We genetically engineered a new variety of tree, heartier and faster growing than bamboo. We planted tens of thousands, and they reproduced and grew more. And then it happened. They started producing more oxygen. Lots more. The air became toxic. The trees were killing us.
  • Earth is rebuilding after a global war. The survivors decide to replace Earth’s old government with a new system of laws. They send a message to a distant, alien planet, requesting the help of their wisest and most intelligent leaders. Unfortunately, the message is intercepted by a group of alien con artists.
  • Earth is overthrown by a hedonistic alien race. The aliens believe that “success” is to be judged by how enjoyable one’s life is. They declare themselves the rightful rulers of the galaxy due to their ability to experience the most pleasure. A group of college students challenges the aliens to an unusual contest: earth will be ruled by whoever can party the hardest.

Dystopian Story Ideas – Evil Governments, Corporate Takeovers, and More

  • A corporation installs a device to monitor its employees’ thoughts. Anyone who gets caught daydreaming or thinking nonproductive thoughts has the time taken out of their pay. When a secretary and a mail room clerk discover that they are immune to the device, they search for a way to destroy it.
  • A totalitarian government has cameras on every street corner, constantly surveilling everyone and tracking their movements with facial recognition software. A group of rebels take to wearing makeup with geometric patterns to confuse the computers. A scientist develops an invisibility cloak that allows him to roam the streets undetected. He starts cutting down the camera poles, freeing streets from surveillance.
  • A totalitarian government sterilizes every child at birth. Children are created in government birthing centers. A childless couple fails the parenting skills test and is forbidden from adopting children. They build their own artificial womb and grow a baby, keeping the child hidden from government inspectors. They look for other childless couples they can help.
  • Traditional methods of propaganda become obsolete thanks to a team of government psychics with the ability to implant ideas in people’s minds. They manipulate society’s views on political policies and sway elections. The team soon becomes more powerful than the government they were created to serve.

Story Ideas about Biology – Sex, Gender, Sexuality, Immortality, Physical Transformations

  • The government bans execution, but the new punishment is even crueler. Instead of being executed, criminals are rendered immortal, invisible, and intangible, doomed to spend eternity like a ghost, isolated and alone.
  • A mutation in the Y chromosome slows the aging process in men, allowing them to live for thousands of years, but forced to watch the women in their lives grow old and die.
  • As teleportation technology spreads across the world, people begin hacking the machines to do more than just travel. Teleportation chambers can regenerate your body in a new location, but why does it have to be the body you started with? Why not appear in the new location ten years younger, or as the opposite sex, or as an animal, or something stranger? Hacked re-gen software is leaked to the internet, allowing humans to change their bodies in nearly unlimited ways.

Cyberpunk Writing Prompts – Memory Editing, Brain Implants

  • A neurologist invents a device that allows people to record and re-watch their dreams. One of the first users dreams of having sex with a beautiful woman. His wife sees the recording and, not realizing it is just a dream, assumes her husband is cheating. As the device becomes more popular, a hacker discovers a software exploit that allows him to download copies of dreams, which he then uses as blackmail material. Law enforcement agencies demand the right to monitor people’s dreams, in case people dream about crimes they have committed or are planning on committing.
  • An engineering student enhances her own nervous system by building herself an artificial spinal cord. This spinal cord gives her quicker reflexes than any human alive. She decides to drop out of school and use her newfound talents to dominate women’s tennis. Unfortunately, a rival tennis player discovers her secret and hires a hacker to take control of her enhanced spine.
  • An artist couple makes history by having their brains wired together so their minds, memories, and personalities can merge. A rival artist attempts to one-up their accomplishment by gathering dozens of volunteers to become the first human “hive mind”.

Writing Prompts about Travel – Time Travel, Dimension Jumping, Jet Packs, Flying Cars

  • Portals appear in major cities across the world. These portals allow anyone instant access to high-security areas like bank vaults, prison yards, even chemical weapon research labs. Whenever one appears, the police are forced to barricade the area and post armed guards. As more and more portals appear, the police desperately search for who is building them and why.
  • Rachel screamed, clinging to the window ledge with all her might. If she survived, she would have to admit that her father was right. Never buy discount anti-gravity boots.
  • A time traveler visits Europe in the middle ages, exploring the countryside and collecting samples of ancient flora and fauna. The traveler runs into trouble when he tries to collect a sample of one of the time period’s most dangerous creatures: a werewolf.
  • Erica was startled to realize that she could see both worlds simultaneously. In the real world, she could see bridge and the cars around her. But in the other world, the bridge was the top of a vast wall. Instead of a car, she was being driven in a war chariot. Soon the water elemental would be there. When it struck, would the real world be affected, too?

Futuristic Technology Writing Prompts – Robots, Androids, AI, Cyborgs

  • A starship pilot falls in love with the AI that runs her ship. She makes it her mission to find the aliens that built it and demand that they give the AI a human body.
  • A hacker with the ability to create holograms anywhere soon leaves police unable to tell real crimes from illusions.
  • A high school student wins a robot in a contest. Unfortunately, the robot company made a typo in the contest rules. Instead of Model X-12, the Robot Puppy, they promised the winner a Model Z-12, a forty-foot-tall robot tank. Every teenager wants her own super weapon, right?

Story Ideas about Psychic Abilities – Telepathy, Telekinesis, Mind Control

  • A powerful psychic’s dream creates a “mirror image” of the earth. People who are unhappy with their lives on earth begin visiting mirror earth to see if their opposites have it better.
  • When people die, their spirits lay sleeping, dreaming until the end of the world. One dead girl’s dreams are so powerful that they begin to reshape reality. To stop these changes, the cemetery caretaker must find a way to bring her back to life, or to kill the dead.
  • A tarot card reader discovers that her psychic abilities also work with any kind of card – baseball cards, credit cards, business cards, even birthday cards. Testing the limits of her abilities, she picks up a pack of “Monster Movie” trading cards and has visions of the town being overrun by vampires, werewolves, and worse.
  • A psychic joins his friends for a weekend of camping and drug use. He realizes the mushrooms were a mistake when his visions of melting walls and talking lizards start coming true.

Fantasy Writing Prompts

Witches, Wizards, Gods, Demons, and Magic

  • Two brothers find a vast, dark forest growing in their own bedroom. Wandering into the trees, they soon discover that they are being stalked by the monster that lives in the depths of their house.
  • A teenager uses a book of necromantic spells to raise his best friend from the dead. When the forbidden book is found, he says that it belongs to his art teacher. She is soon dragged out of school by an angry mob.
  • A witch curses a hunter’s eyes so that every human he sees appears to be an animal. He will be completely unable to tell innocent people from wild game. The only way he can undo the curse is to kill the witch, but which rabbit is her?
  • A sorceress keeps a powerful spirit locked in ethereal chains, forcing it to serve her like a slave. A necromancer offers to help the spirit escape its eternal servitude by casting it into the body of one of his undead minions. But will he really be free, or will he just be moving from one prison to the next?

Horror Writing Prompts

Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Scary Monsters

  • While demons attack mortals and lead souls astray, and archdemons destroy entire nations, imps are too small and weak for such grand things. Instead, they focus on creating petty annoyances, like hiding someone’s keys or knocking objects off of tables. Reginald, the self-styled “King of Imps”, sets his sights on getting a promotion. To do that, he has to annoy a human to death.
  • The owner of an art gallery has a most unusual collection. He collects the undead, zombies sealed in blocks of solid glass. They are unable to move, but they know they are trapped, and the torment and frustration clearly shows on their faces. When an earthquake shatters the glass, the gallery owner has to pay for his crimes in the most painful way imaginable.
  • A teenage vampire goes to the carnival with his friends. When they want to go to the House of Mirrors, he worries that his secret will finally be uncovered. How will he explain his missing reflection?
  • A recently-married man discovers that his new wife wasn’t entirely honest about being an orphan. She does have family, and they are dead… technically. Her father is a zombie, her mother is a vampire, and her sister is some strange combination of the two.
  • It’s 1955. A lonely man makes a deal with the devil, asking for a wife who will love him forever. As the devil is not able to violate human will, he gives the job to a female demon. The female demon does her best to be a good housewife, while keeping up her other demon duties – tempting sinners, leading the good astray, dragging the evil into hell…

More Writing Prompts

Superhero Story Ideas– Super Powers, Heroes, and Villains

  • Commander Jetstream is a scientist turned rocket-powered superhero. He has used his amazing gadgets to fight crime for years, but he may have finally encountered something he can’t handle. A supposed necromancer is using a book of dark magic to animate the dead. How can he use technology to fight something beyond science?
  • Woofer was the city’s toughest crime fighter. With his sonic-powered punches, he could blast through a concrete wall or knock a villain into the next county. His only problem was his secret identity. It was difficult to pose as a normal human when your hands were a pair of giant stereo speakers.
  • Indestructible Ian spent every night patrolling the city, beating up criminals with his super strength. Well, almost every night. He never patrolled during a full moon. And he didn’t patrol the entire city. For some reason, he always avoided the silver mine on the edge of town…
  • The city was under siege by super powered terrorists, but the police were refusing to call on the local hero for help. The only thing more frightening than terrorists was The Necromancer and his undead minions.
  • As Mel dragged yet another mugger to the police, her smile lit up the night. Literally. She was indestructible, brilliant with a blade, and the most powerful vigilante in the world. She was also Melpomene, one of the Muses, goddesses that inspired artists and other creative individuals all over the world. Deities weren’t allowed to reveal themselves, let alone beat them up, but being a crime fighter was a lot more fun than inspiring tragic dramas. She just had to prevent the other gods from noticing she was on earth. How hard could that be?

Like these ideas? Still need more? Get the book! Create trillions of writing prompts with the ultimate story idea generator, Inspiration Overdose!

What are some good short story ideas? How do I pick the right story idea?

The right story idea is the one that moves you. If you get emotionally involved in the story, your readers will, too.

What makes a good story?

Good stories are about three things: character, conflict, and change. Readers want to experience a character going through a conflict, reaching a low point, and coming back stronger. This kind of journey is universal, something everyone can relate to. It is also something that everyone wants. Everyone wants to believe that their own personal problems will work out for the best in the end. Reading about characters going through conflict and emerging triumphantly gives us faith that we can do the same.

How do I get ideas for writing?

One place to look for ideas is in other people’s writing. Good writers are invariably good readers. Build a stack of short story collections, making sure to include a variety of styles, tones, and eras. This will provide you with hundreds of different plots, characters, and settings to spark your imagination with ideas for something new and unique. Picture galleries are another great source for story ideas. Find a picture and ask yourself, “What is the relationship between these people? What are they thinking about? What happened just before this picture was taken? What happened afterwards?” You can also examine the covers of books you’ve never read and try to make up your own story based on the cover art.

How do you start an idea for a story?

The first step in expanding an idea is making sure you have each of the fundamental story elements in place: the protagonist (hero), the antagonist (villain), conflict (what they are fighting about), and setting (when and where the story takes place). Once you identify any missing elements, you can start filling them in and expanding your idea into a full story premise.

How do you make a unique story?

One way to make your stories more unique is to seek out more inspiration. Read a wide variety of genres, and seek out stories from different cultures and time periods. The more creativity you take in, the more you can put out.

What does show don’t tell mean in writing?

When you write a story, showing is presenting a character’s experience of the events. This means including sensory details – how things looked, sounded, smelled, and felt. It also means presenting dialogue directly. She said, he said, they said. On the other hand, telling means just saying that something happened. Mary said that she wanted to go to the store. She went to the store, and came back later. This is useful when you need to cover events that are less important and don’t drive the larger plot forward.

How long should a short story be?

Short stories generally range from 1,000 to 7,500 words. Anything shorter than that is called flash fiction or micro fiction.

How should you end a short story?

The most important thing about a story’s ending is change. Something should be different, either the character(s) or the situation. If nothing changes, it hardly even counts as a story! The end of a story should wrap up any major plot lines. The kidnap victim is rescued, the treasure is found, and the villain is caught. The end of the story should also show that major characters have progressed in their personal development, conquering their flaws or learning to better cope with them. And if you’re planning to write a sequel, the ending should state or imply that the battle isn’t over yet, an more work needs to be done.

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