creative writing prompts

Fantastical creative writing prompts.

Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!

In the world of creative writing, we’ve only begun tapping the possibilities in speculative fiction, a genre that includes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, and superhero stories, as well as anything that ventures beyond known reality.

Speculative fiction is an under-recognized genre: academia and literary elitists traditionally haven’t given it much credence, although it has been gaining acclaim in recent years.

But the genre’s fans are rabid. In fact, you won’t find a more dedicated group of readers anywhere else, which makes reading and writing speculative fiction a delight.

Plus, it’s a lot of fun to step outside of reality and see just what your imagination can do.

You can write about knights and dragons, spaceships and far-off planets, the apocalypse, ghosts, or strange islands with magical properties. In the world of speculative fiction, anything goes.




The creative writing prompts below can be used in any way you want. Have fun with a freewrite, compose a poem, or draft a short story. Who knows? Maybe one of these prompts will inspire an idea for a novel. And if you’ve never given science fiction or fantasy a shot, this is your chance to test the waters and find out just how deep they are.

Creative Writing Prompts

The Speculative Fiction Edition*

  1. As passengers disembark from a transatlantic flight, they start to experience amnesia—all of the passengers except one. The farther they go from the plane, the more severe their amnesia becomes. Will they risk forgetting everything?
  2. Four friends on a nature hike discover a deep cave, complete with running water. As they go deeper and deeper into the cave, they find strange objects–human skeletons, an old computer from the early 80s, a gas mask, and strange mango-sized orbs that emit a glowing blue light.
  3. The earth has been ravaged by war, famine, disease, and devastating natural disasters. In less than a decade, the population has dwindled from seven billion to less than 42,000. There is no law or order. The grid is gone. Everyone is struggling to survive.
  4. The year is 1623. A visitor comes to a small, tribal village. The visitor is wearing blue jeans, an old rock-band tee shirt, and a fedora and is carrying a pack that contains a solar-powered laptop computer.
  5. Two children, a boy and a girl, decide to make a time capsule and bury it at the edge of a farm, under a big oak tree. While digging, they unearth a metallic object the size of a shoe box. It’s shaped like a bullet and has the number 8 engraved on it. It appears to be a container, since it rattles when they shake it. But there is no obvious way to open it.
  6. A man who sees ghosts checks himself into a mental institution, oblivious to the fact that the facility has been closed for almost thirty years.
  7. A surgeon who does not believe in miracles is diagnosed with an aggressive terminal illness and is given six months to live. Three years later, the surgeon is alive and perfectly healthy.
  8. A con man who convinces people they’ve been abducted by aliens and takes their money… is abducted by aliens.
  9. A deadly virus hits a highly populated metropolitan area, killing thousands of people. After it passes, those who survived start realizing they have acquired bizarre talents and abilities.
  10. A traveler picks up a souvenir, a strange and colorful rock with one side that is completely flat. As she goes about her travels, she realizes that when she has the rock with her, she can understand any language that people are speaking but can only speak her own native language.
  11. While on vacation on a tropical island, a young couple spots a strange bird that speaks their names. When the bird takes off, they decide to follow it.
  12. A sixteen-year-old growing up on a ranch is out in a storm, gets hit by lightning, and survives. After that, the kid can hear other people’s (or animals’) thoughts.
  13. A young girl starts having recurring dreams about a dragon. In one of the dreams, the dragon says, “You made me.” The girl becomes obsessed with dragons and decides her life purpose is to become a genetic biologist so she can, indeed, make a real dragon.
  14. A team of researchers in a submarine is caught in a deadly sea storm. The instruments on board go haywire. The submarine submerges deep into the ocean in search of calm waters until the storm passes. Afterward, the submarine surfaces, but the instruments are still not functioning properly. They can’t get a fix on their location or find land, which should be nearby. When night falls, the researchers realize there are two moons in the sky and the constellations are completely unfamiliar.

Remember, these creative writing prompts are meant to be inspiring. If one of them gives you an idea, run with it. You don’t have to stick with what the prompt says. Change the characters, the situation, or the setting. Just go with the flow, and keep writing. And if you have any creative writing prompts of your own, feel free to share them in the comments.

*All of these creative writing prompts were inspired by the television show LOST.

Creative Writing Prompts

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