Writing fantasy can be an exciting experience. It is an opportunity for writers to really get creative with their stories and develop world-building skills.

But, however fun it may be, coming up with ideas for your next fantasy-based short story or novel can be a major source of frustration and unnecessary stress. There are so many sub-genres of fantasy and ways that you can include fantasy elements in your story that it can be overwhelming.

Sometimes, all you need is a gentle nudge in order to get going. To help you out, I came up with 40 writing prompts for fantasy writers to kick start that story of yours.

I have organized the prompts into 4 sub-genres of fantasy, so feel free to scroll down to the part that is most convenient for you!

Also, please comment down below which prompts were your favorite.

Horror/Dark fantasy prompts

It is no secret that humans have a natural attraction towards quite troubling and dark stories/films. It seems counterintuitive that we tend to run towards things that would cause us ‘negative’ emotions. However, there is a certain thrill, an adrenaline rush that the horror genre provides us, making it irresistible to some. It is this adrenaline that we feel that keeps us coming back for more. Dark Fantasy is a genre that can include ghosts, haunted forests, nightmares, monsters, and anything that might send chills down your readers back.

1. The grave keeper: Write your story from the perspective of a cemetery caretaker. This caretaker newly moved to a small town with little to no money and needed a job immediately. The only available one happened to be taking care of the cemeteries. During a shift, your protagonist witnesses supernatural events.  

2. The empty tombs: Write about a group of young people who decide to have a party in a cemetery and discover that all tombs are dug out and empty.

3. A sorcerer’s curse: Write about a sorcerer who was cursed. Although they have the ability to do magic, they are unable to lift the curse themselves. Hence, they embark on a journey to find another sorcerer/sorceress who can lift the curse for them.

4. The monsters that come at night: Write about a little kid who has nightmares & sleep problems such as sleep paralysis. This kid starts having difficulty differentiating dreams from reality but is convinced that the monsters they see in their nightmares are real.  

5. A haunted sailor: Write about a sailor that is haunted by the ghosts of his past crew who mysteriously disappeared.

6. A siren’s call: What if sirens were real and had the ability to make captains crash/sink their boats and their crew? Write from the perspective of a young sailor who survives a crash and interacts with the sirens.

7. The little boy called who called wolf: Write about an isolated village that gets attacked by wolves. Those who are attacked and do not die become werewolves and soon there is an epidemic of werewolves.

8. If she says so: Write about a woman who has the ability to make people do anything she wants them to. Everyone around her is aware of her powers and hence feel the need to walk on eggshells around her.

9. Come and serve the devil: Write about a girl who moves to a small town. After she has settled in and starts looking for a job, she is hired as a waitress in the town’s most popular bar. However, the owner of the bar, unbeknownst to her, is the devil himself.  

10. Let’s trade hearts: Write about a person purposefully casting a spell on someone else in the hopes of switching bodies with them.

11. Be careful what you wish for: Write about a person who gets into an argument/fight and says something they regret. The next day that person finds out that their “wish” came true.

12. The mark of the cursed: There is a curse spreading around town and no one knows why it is happening. The pattern goes as follows: One day, a mark of a specific shape appears on a person’s skin indicating that they are now cursed. Your characters have to figure out a way to break the curse (as well as why this is happening to them) before it comes true. If they don’t figure this out in time, the curse will become irreversible.

Sci-fi fantasy prompts

Science fiction fantasy is where imagined and revolutionary technology meets the supernatural. There are many ways science fiction and fantasy can collide to create a riveting storyline.

13. An alien world: Write about a group of people that were chosen to explore another planet that is inhabited.

14. Dangerous medicine: In a world where morals have become questionable, scientists have been permitted to experiment on prisoners. One day, a scientist is convinced that he discovered the cure to a previously uncurable disease. He decides to test this on a particular prisoner. However, the side effects of the cure cause this prisoner to develop powers.

15. The inventor’s creation: Write about an inventor who is deemed a prodigy. One day, this inventor has a revolutionary idea, but others warn him that his creation may be dangerous. He refuses to listen and proceeds anyway.

16. The underworld: What if some type of technology was invented that permitted us to visit both the underworld and heaven?

17. Another Dimension: A group of delinquents get their hands on some valuable technology and intend to sell it on the black market. However, they have difficulty finding a buyer because nobody knows what this bizarre-looking object even does. One of the members of this group decides to spend the night playing around with this object and ends up being transported into another dimension. The other members of his group notice his absence and embark on a mission to find him.  

18. The New Atlantis:  A city is running out of space to house its inhabitants. The innovative leaders decide to extend their city underwater to solve this problem. Your main character along with a couple hundred more people are recruited to “test” out this new underwater city.

19. The Dragons of the city: Write about a city where dragons are bred and used as a transportation method.

20. A War of Superhumans: A war between two of the richest countries in the world breaks out. In this war, both sides have decided to inject their soldiers with a potion that gives them superhuman abilities. Your main character is enrolled as a soldier.

21. His artificial wife: A lonely man builds himself an artificial wife that is extremely realistic. However, although this artificial wife started out as an experiment for him, he starts to develop feelings for her.

22. The war of the clones: Write about a society that has created clones of people for the sole purpose of harvesting their organs in order to perform surgery on the people that have been cloned. In this world, people strongly believe that the clones don’t have complex emotions, thoughts, or feelings hence they feel free to use these clones however they please. But what happens when these clones reunite and rebel against their creators?

23. The mutation: Write about a character who has had a lifelong disability/illness and is offered the opportunity to be the test subject of revolutionary medicine. However, during the trials, the character undergoes unforeseen and irreversible mutations.

Historical fantasy prompts

History is fascinating in a lot of ways. It is a curious thing to imagine what life was like for the people who lived before us and paved the way for today’s culture & society. Writing historical fiction involves reimagining the past in terms of what could’ve been. Taking a historical era of your choice, create an alternative reality where the supernatural becomes intertwined with historic events, known landmarks, or even important historical figures.

24. The Battles of Julius Caesar: Everyone has heard of Julius Caesar and his legendary battles. Regarded as one of the greatest military leaders to ever exist, Julius Caesar’s life has impacted history greatly. However, what if this great general had a secret advantage that helped him win? Rewrite Julius Caesar’s life (or that of the people close to him) and include some supernatural elements.

25. Caligula’s fury: Caligula, one of the most infamous emperors of Rome, was described as cruel, tyrannical, and even crazy. However, what if there was something even more sinister about the mad emperor? Write from the perspective of someone living in the palace who finds out that the emperor was actually cursed.

26. The Egyptians: Write about people living in the Egyptian era. Describe how it was like and include elements of fantasy in the everyday lives of the people.

27. The dark war: Write about an inexperienced knight going to war for the first time. During his first battle, he notices that the opposing army is not only composed of men but also of huge hideous creatures. What he witnesses baffles and scares him. So, he runs off and gets lost.

28. The Victorian women: Write about a group of powerful women who lived during the Victorian era. These women had odd traditions and there were always unexplainable events happening wherever they went. The town they lived in was fascinated by them, but nobody dared to approach them.

29. Renaissance: Write about an artist or writer during the renaissance period who witnessed troubling supernatural phenomena. This character decides to start drawing/writing about this event which eventually gets them in trouble.

30. The imperial discoveries: Write about a group of European explorers traveling beyond Europe and discovering a nation with incredible powers.

Romantic fantasy prompts

As the name suggests, romantic fantasy is all about merging the genres of fantasy and romance. This type of story usually takes place in a fictional world where the core plot is centered around romance.

31. The sorcerer’s daughter: Write from the perspective of a young man from a small village. This character is seeking adventure and wants more than what his village can offer. One day, someone close to him gets sick and he sets out on a journey to find the mysterious sorcerer that has been rumored to live in another village. On his way there, he meets a young lady and falls madly in love. Little did he know the person he had fallen for was the sorcerer’s daughter.

32. The prince of dark magic: In an academy for gifted students with supernatural abilities, a new student arrives. He is rumored to be a prince. However, his use of magic is different than the other students. The magic he summons is dark and dangerous. The most gifted student in class notices his struggle to summon regular magic and decides to help him.

33. Through hell & heaven: An angel falls in love with a human who is bound for hell.

34. Lovers at War: A war is ravaging the city. On one side there are the humans and the scientists. On the other side are the superhumans and the gifted. What happens when two people on opposite sides fall in love with each other?

35. An experiment gone wrong: The government of a city decides to embark on a mission to create superhumans in order to use them as soldiers. However, the whole process of creating these superhumans is unethical and kept secret from the rest of the world. A young man is recruited as a scientist for the mission, but he is unaware of what he is getting himself into. One of the people he has to carry the experiments on is a girl his age who he develops feelings for.

36. A surprising Date: Two strangers with mutual friends go on a blind date with one another. At the end of the date, one person accidentally reveals their powers to the other.

37. The mysterious newcomer: In a small village where everyone knows each other, a mysterious newcomer moves in next to your character. Not only is this person odd in many ways but they exhibit some unexplainable behavior. Your character is determined to find out who this person is and what secrets they are hiding.

38. On the run: A girl is on the run from the police. She is said to be extremely dangerous and powerful. Your character bumps into her at a convenience store not knowing who she is and forms a bond with her.

39. Kidnapped: Write about a person who has been kidnapped because of their supernatural abilities but ends up developing a soft spot for their kidnapper.

40. Partners in crime: Write about two gifted and powerful characters that decide to work together in order to complete an important mission. During this mission, they start to like each other.

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