Are you running out of fantasy plot ideas? Do not worry! We have got you covered. In this article, we have created some short and simple fantasy writing prompts and story ideas, from romantic to dark, settings and characters. Use these creative writing prompts to get your next idea off the ground.
Why write fantasy?
Fantasy is a broad genre that appeals to adults and children alike. There is a lot of scope for the genre for a writer’s unique style and tone, which is why many writers like to try their hand at crafting a compelling fantasy novel. Though there is a lot of competition, those who do well in the genre can gather a large and loyal fan base.
Eccentric characters, magic systems, otherworldly settings, and mythical creatures are at your disposal as a fantasy writer. They can help you immerse readers in a world they have never seen or heard of before.
Fantasy novel ideas to help you get started
We have included a list of fantasy writing prompts below to help you get started on your novel. Even if you are not ready to write a full novel, the plot prompts and ideas below should help you start developing an idea. So, if you want to write a fantasy novel, need a short story idea, or simply get some fresh ideas for any other work of fantasy, such as a comic book, an audiobook, or a script, then read on. We have included some popular fantasy genre elements as prompts, from romance to dark fantasy to setting ideas.
Fantasy romance plot ideas
One of the biggest reasons readers adore the fantasy genre is that, even though the settings often involve worlds much unlike ours, the characters are mystical and magical. The laws of power are unique to the world of the story, and there are still elements of the human experience that prevail and to which the reader can relate.
Coming-of-age stories, underdogs versus authority, and tales of redemption are inherently human and relatable even when they occur in alternate worlds. One theme that often features fantasy and can immerse readers even deeper in the story is romance. In this article, you will find some fantasy romance prompts to help you add some love and heartbreak to your story.
1. The Princess
A princess is captured during an ambush on the royal family’s journey through the lowlands. The captors, a team of bandits hired by a powerful sorcerer with a claim to the throne, take the princess to a cave in the desert lands where she is kept hostage. The King knows that sending a large army would threaten the Sorcerer and make him act with reckless urgency, putting the princess in danger.
The King hires a former knight and skilled mercenary to track the captors and rescue the princess. The Ling knows that the knight will work tirelessly – the knight and the princess were in love before the knight was cast out of the kingdom for betraying orders. His redemption story involves the grace of the King on the surface, but on a deeper level, he fights to be reunited with his former lover.
A vampire hunter works tirelessly every night to keep her city free from the residents of the underworld. She is skilled, brutal, unforgiving, and has kept the unassuming citizens of her city free from the blood-sucking, soul-destroying power of the vampires for as long as she can remember.
She finds no vampires on the hunt on the next moon on her usual nighttime route. Confused about the lack of danger, she walks through the local graveyard. One dark figure sits on a bench in the graveyard, waiting for her to appear. It is Kalar (or choose your character’s name), a powerful vampire in human form who has come to warn her of a huge uprising in the underworld.
A vampire himself, Kalar, wants to take the side of humans for the powers that reside underground, which have run amok and threatened the well-being of both worlds. Kalar and the vampire hunter unite in a romantic, passionate, and violent story in a world that depends on their success.
3. The Accident
A young woman is famous at her university. She has lots of friends, gets consistently good grades, and is loved by many. Then there is a young man who is a loner. He is always by himself and takes a seat at the back of the class whenever possible. He is smart but does not talk to many people and keeps a hood up to hide the scar on his face.
The two are unlikely to be friends, but when one of the members of their class is found dead in the library, their lives become intertwined. A police investigation that seems to be going nowhere, a suspicious librarian, and a dean with blood on his hands lead the two students into a supernatural adventure that irreversibly changes their lives.
Dark fantasy writing prompts
Dark fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that covers darker, often more violent, and adult-themed topics in its stories. Antiheroes, corruption, and evil play critical roles in the genre, and happy endings are scarce. Horror is a typical sister theme in the dark fantasy genre. Check out our dark fantasy plot prompts to help you craft such a dark and twisted story.
A bounty hunter has to track down a target and bring him back to his employer alive. The target is hard to catch, with a violent path in his wake. When the hunter finds the target and believes his work is almost over, the story just begins.
2. The Source
In a dystopian future, people with magic powers are hunted and enslaved, extorted for their powers. Their captors use the source of the people’s magic for their evil gain. A former captor, morally awakened upon discovering how poorly the people were being treated, turns rogue on the enslavers and sets out to sabotage their plans.
3. Beast of Wrath
An oppressed people are almost out of hope. Death and destruction haunt their villages and the oppressor, a colonizing force with advanced technology hovering over the skies, shows no sign of stopping. One young magician stumbles across an ancient spell, an evocation of a monster so vile and destructive that the spell had been forbidden for thousands of years. The young magician’s outrage at the oppressor may cause more problems than both sides could ever have imagined.
4. The Swap
A young woman grieves over the death of her boyfriend, who died in a car accident on his way home after their date. Struck with grief and trying to come to terms with the loss of her best and only true friend, the girl is determined to try anything to get her back. Sensing her desperation, a witch approaches her as she walks through the forest near her house. The witch promises to resurrect her boyfriend, but she must offer another life in return.
A demon sets out on a journey of redemption. To turn his fate around and be granted access to the High World again, he must track down a rogue group of former angels wreaking havoc on Earth. His journey through the earthly realm is filled with memories of his former sins, deities he must make amends with, magical powers, and an encounter with an enemy that threatens his success.
Fantasy setting ideas
In the fantasy genre, a setting can enhance the story immeasurably. Readers love to immerse themselves in a unique world with its own rules, laws, physics, magic systems, landscapes, and creatures. The more unique and detailed you are to make your setting, the more likely you are to engage and impress your readers. Consider the following setting ideas for your next short fantasy story.
1. Alternate Earth
Alternate Earth settings are a lot like ours, except they feature some elements of magic or laws of physics that do not apply in the real world. These settings are a great opener, and an unassuming character may begin in the real world but stumble across a feature of the alternate world that takes them on an adventure into the new.
Another benefit of using the alternate earth setting is that you can switch up the real world and the created world to broaden your story and enhance the plot—maybe events in one world are affecting the other world.
Many of us jump to images of witches and wizards, medieval castles, and magic kingdoms when we think of fantasy, but the genre is incredibly broad, as we mentioned at the start of this article.
Space fantasy, or science fantasy, is a subgenre of fantasy that readers increasingly enjoy. Aliens, distant planets, and space-faring human-like civilizations make space fantasy futuristic, exciting, and open to the playful scientific imagination.
Space fantasies typically take place on different planets. As such, as a writer, you should know what sets the planet apart from the Earth that readers are familiar with. What kind of creatures live on this planet? What is the weather like? Does it have one sun or several suns? How about the landscape? The colors in the sky?
Underground is a popular contemporary fantasy setting, and for a good reason. This setting features a world underneath Earth (or another planet), with dark caves, labyrinth-like paths, and creatures and dwellers underground that want nothing more than to eat the main character for dinner. Alternatively, the underground setting is a feature of a dystopian future on Earth.
Underworld, underground, or cave settings lend themselves to exciting creatures and characters. What type of creature or people would live in underground caves? Do they live there by choice, or are they forced to live there? This is an example of how the setting can influence other story elements.
Medieval settings feature beautiful landscapes and glorious kingdoms and are inhabited by kings, knights, dwarves, elves, goblins, witches, and wizards. Most epic fantasy novels take place in a medieval-type setting – such as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. Usually, the medieval landscape offers a lot in the plot development. Since the land is typically painted with enormous mountains, dense forests, and long roads, the setting can create many obstacles and challenges for characters to overcome.
Fantasy character ideas
1. The hero
The hero of the story, the protagonist, might be an unassuming young person or a wizened elder. Regardless of age, gender, or species, this character is the hook for their readers. The story follows their adventurous journey and, in doing so, allows us to see the unique setting and meet the other characters who will play critical roles in the plot development.
- A young farm boy finds a strange egg. He takes care of it, and the creature that emerges, a creature unlike anything he is ever seen, becomes his companion on an epic journey of self-discovery.
- In a world where the authorities in power harvest children for their purity, a mother whose daughter has been captured sets out on a tale of vengeance.
- A teenage girl discovers that she has power over the natural elements.
2. The villain
The antagonist wants something, and our hero stands in the way. Villains can be challenging but incredibly fun to write. It is best to give your villain such rich substance. A two-dimensional villain is pretty boring and does not keep the reader engaged. Your villain should be a hero in their own right.
- A kid who was bullied in school becomes a brilliant scientist but uses his advanced technological knowledge for evil, ultimately on the search for the kids who bullied him in school.
- Death itself is embodied as a dark figure.
- An ancient god has been awoken from a curse after the hero accidentally moves a critical gemstone.
3. The Teacher
In stories where the hero has no prior knowledge of the magic and power around him needs a guide. This is often an older and wiser character who is well-versed in the magical world. This character is on a journey alone but needs our protagonist to complete the journey on their own. This character is charming, mysterious, and cunning and teaches the protagonist the skills and knowledge they need to survive in the world hereafter and defeat those who stand in the way of their success.
- A wizard who has been in hiding.
- The protagonist’s relative, the black sheep of the family.
- A rogue former member of the villain’s army.
Whether it is epic, dark, romantic, urban fantasy, science fiction, or fantasy horror, writing fantasy can be challenging. The depth of detail required to create an entire world, unique characters, and an engaging plot means writers must keep their imaginative eyes wide open. Still, with the fantasy fiction writing prompts we have included above, it should be easier than ever to get your creative juices flowing.