You’ve just finished reading a fantasy novel, and while you hate that there’s no more to read, you’re so in love with the story and its characters, you marvel at the author’s power and imagination.
What must it be like to make readers feel the way you’re feeling right now?
With the generous supply of fantasy writing prompts in this post, maybe this is the year to find out.
Fantasy Story Ideas
Fantasy writing gives you the opportunity to create new worlds and realities. Your cast of characters can be regular humans, mythical beings, magical beings, or a group that includes all three.
The most compelling stories in this genre make use of the hero’s journey in some form. Think of Tolkien’s Frodo and the Ring. Or the teenage protagonist in Rick Riordan’s Greek mythology-inspired Percy Jackson series.
Pick up any well-written and well-loved fantasy novel, and chances are, the author adapted the hero’s journey to their main character’s fears, desires, and personal tests.
Learn from your favorite authors how to do the same, but in a way that fits your unique voice.
- Create something that will inspire as well as entertain your readers.
- Draw them into a world where anything is possible.
- Help readers believe their own power to change things when they’ve finished reading your book.
For these outcomes, you need a story idea that grabs hold of you and makes you feel the way you want your reader to feel.
Maybe you’ve dabbled in writing fantasy, but you’re having a hard time thinking up a story idea that really excites you. You want one that will stand out in a way that still meets genre expectations.
You’re not looking to change the fantasy genre, after all. But you do want to create something that will have millions waiting impatiently for your next book.
To help you in this, we give you the following collection of fantasy story ideas.
61 Fantasy Writing Prompts
Writing a fantasy novel (or short story) is much easier when you have a story in mind that makes you itch to sit down and write.
The more you work on it and flesh out your characters, the more excited you become — and the less likely you are to ditch your work in progress when the going gets tough.
And it will. Quests are like that. Here’s to finishing yours, anyway.
Dark Fantasy Writing Prompts
Dark fantasy incorporates darker and sometimes frightening themes in its storytelling. It often combines fantasy with horror, drawing the reader in by invoking their fears. Use the following fantasy plot prompts to explore darker story ideas in the fantasy genre.
1. Top Secret Opportunity. You find an ad describing the job you’ve always wanted, and the employer agrees to interview you in the basement of the abandoned library.
2. The Rune Pendant. Your best friend at college is a highly intuitive rune-caster, and people seek her out. One querent pays her with a magical pendant that changes both your lives.
3. The Dream Key. You receive notice that an estranged aunt has passed and left you the key to her hiding place, which she says she’ll reveal to you in a dream.
4. A Single Touch. You always wondered why your grandfather had so much influence over others. You were immune. And now, you’re his successor.
5. Queen of the Garden. Your mother is obsessed with her garden. When sickness keeps her in bed, you step up to help and find it well tended by elves.
6. The Goddess Ring. Your partner breaks up with you, and while sitting dejected on the beach, you find a ring. When you slip it on your finger, it transforms your appearance.
7. One Minute of Memory. You trade one minute of memory every day for the power to transform any room in your home to match any image. Your family begins to fall apart.
8. Lost Time. You were told you wandered off as a child for a few minutes but later discover you were gone far longer than that. One person knows why, and he’s in prison.
9. The Crystal Finder. A new crystal shop opens near your home, and you’re one of its first customers. You even accept their offer of a part-time job, working in the back for the “finder.”
10. The Rift in the Bookshop. Your favorite reading room at a local bookshop is off-limits, ever since a mysterious disappearance and strange energy readings. Your favorite books also go missing.
11. Will Work for a Cure. You’re scrambling to find a lucrative work-from-home job before you start kidney dialysis, and you reply to an ad that sounds too good to be true. One of the benefits is a cure.
12. The Memory Glass. You’re looking through the property of a departed aunt and find a mirror. You uncover it and see an altered reflection that revives a memory. Suddenly your dreams make sense.
13. Becoming Justice. Your country has been taken over by a narcissistic tyrant, and a powerful relative has offered you a role in his downfall — but not as a human.
14. The Manor’s Keeper. Your new job has an unexpected and life-changing benefit: fully-paid lodgings in an opulent manor. Everything you want appears as if by magic. After a week, your body starts changing.
15. The Spy Diary. You accidentally leave your diary behind at a coffee shop, and after searching in vain, you find it on your doorstep with a note: “You’re exactly the person I need.”
16. The Lost Heiress. A new friend invites you over for a cup of the most delicious tea you’ve ever had. You wake up in a palatial room, attended by someone who says, “After centuries of searching, we finally found you.”
17. The Recluse and the Ghost. You get a job as a ghostwriter for a well-known author who has some unusual expectations — one of which involves you living in absolute isolation as well as luxury. Given your background and personality, it seems doable.
Urban Fantasy Writing Prompts
Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that takes place in an urban setting. While it doesn’t have to be dark, it often uses themes that correspond to the darker side of city life. The following fantasy story plot ideas can help you get into your characters’ heads.
18. Alien Town. The lights go out in your neighborhood one night, and you wake up to see yourself and all your neighbors changed. And your new abilities terrify you.
19. Stopping Time. You’re a barista with a gift that could cost you your life, but could also help the people of your community to fight back against those in control.
20. The Ghost Clause. You move into your dream apartment and soon discover you’re not the only sentient being living there. Ghosts don’t pay rent, but this one leaves gifts.
21. Hiding in New York. The coworker who irritates you the most just asked you for a big favor. He’s not who or what he appears to be. And he knows what you are, too.
22. Prodigal Witch. You’ve moved back to the city of your birth, and your family is nervous around you after a surprise revelation from your parents. Your new boss knows all about it.
23. Night and Day Trading. A sudden illness in the family costs you your job, and you accept a job offer from a relative who knows about your hidden abilities and wants to use them.
24. Herbal Vision. You wander into a tea shop, in search of the perfect evening tea, and the owner recommends a blend that enables you to see mythical creatures in disguise.
25. Doppelganger. You walk into an antique shop looking for a gift for your antique-loving bestie and are immediately noticed by the shopkeeper’s mother, who leads you to the back for a peek at something.
26. Cottage Industry. You move into a tiny but well-kept old house closer to downtown and you start receiving mysterious gifts on your doorstep. One note reads, “Check the attic.”
27. The Graveyard Connection. The trees surrounding your new home remind you of something — or rather someone. One touch of your hand on a trunk, and you’re face to face with him.
28. Witch for Hire. You’ve lost your job, food is running out, and bills are coming due. You make the call you never thought you’d make. Seconds later, she arrives with your assignment.
29. Tarot to the Stars. You’ve become a well-respected tarot reader, and even people in high places are taking notice. One of them makes you a tempting offer. Your next querent urges you to decline it and leave.
30. Poisonous Planet. Your doctor gives you terrible news, and you talk to your only remaining relative, who tells you of a stargate that can return you to a planet with an atmosphere better suited to your physiology.
Epic Fantasy Writing Prompts
Epic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy set in an invented or parallel world. It’s similar to high fantasy but the stakes are higher. A greater evil threatens the world of the protagonist, and the hero’s journey is often a critical part of the story.
31. Spirit Animal. During your stay in a residential treatment center for your eating disorder, you go to an animal shelter and meet a black cat, “Loki,” who is friendly only to you.
32. A Dog’s World. You adopt an older dog who had been abused by his former human, and in repayment, he leads you to a door — to his real home. Soon, it’ll be yours, too.
33. Forest of Souls. You go on a camping trip with your best friend’s family and wake up alone, surrounded by whispering trees. Everything beyond those trees is gone.
34. In a Different Life. After attending your grandmother’s funeral, you learn from a new acquaintance (with a young but familiar face) that the remains you buried were synthetic.
35. The Refuge Theater. You feed homeless visitors at your cafe, and one of them pays you with a movie ticket for an old theater — which is more than it seems.
36. Tree Spirit. On the eve of your birthday, you change into something that terrifies you. Your parents explain, telling you of a prophecy that involves you and every tree on earth.
37. Borrowed Past. You’re on your first airplane flight when one of the engines fails, and for some reason, you know exactly what to do to ensure the plane lands safely. Only one other person on the plane knows why.
38. Secret Guardian. An ominous letter arrives — along with one offering magical guardianship for you and the shop you inherited. More worlds than one are at stake.
39. Hybrid Alley. You run to the store and witness a crime involving what looks like a human with the face and ears of a cat. You intervene, saving her life, and she later invites you to join her on her mission.
40. Tarot Vision. A new shop owner comes to town and you win an open house drawing for a free tarot reading. You’re skeptical at first but that reading resets your life — and sets you on a dangerous path.
YA Fantasy Writing Prompts
YA fantasy is fantasy written for a young adult audience (12 to 18 years of age). Themes are often on the lighter side, but not always. The main difference is the age of the protagonist. With powerful storytelling, YA fantasy appeals to readers of all ages.
41. Breaking Time. Only when you meet someone you’re not supposed to fall in love with — and who knows how to time-travel — do you begin to really test your limits.
42. The Bucket List. You take your favorite uncle’s advice and create a bucket list. One by one, you cross each action item off, sometimes with hilarious results. The list changes you.
43. Political Unrest. Your home town is changing (not for the better) since the election of its new mayor, who sees you lead a protest at his office door. Something growls outside your bedroom window that night.
44. One Percent Problems. For your 16th birthday, you get the genetic upgrade of your choice, and your experimental choice gives you superpowers — and get the attention of some unusual new friends.
45. Change in the Air. Your family is chosen for a year-long stay at an outpost on a new Earth-like planet, but the people in charge don’t tell you how the atmosphere there will change you.
46. Nervous Memory. You’re at a mirror, and a sudden thought sends a chill into the back of your head. That’s when you notice your eyes change color — and you remember things, either from your life or someone else’s.
47. The Family Business. Before dying, your mother tells you something about yourself she’d hoped you’d never need to know. Now only one person can help you prepare for the coming threat.
48. Designer Baby. You find out while researching for a term paper that you’re the result of a lab experiment. Now, you’re determined to find your creator, who has gone missing.
49. Visions in Bloom. Someone leaves flowers in your locker, and when they stay fresh for over a month, you get curious — especially when one sniff of the central bloom triggers a vision.
50. Accidental Superhero. A stupid dare leads you to a back of the local store wearing a superhero costume, which oddly enough helps prevent a crime and brands you with a new identity.
51. Alien Tech. You get your laptop fixed by a reclusive genius in town, and suddenly you’re able to connect to an “internet” that goes far beyond that of Earth’s.
Medieval Story Prompts
Medieval fantasy is fantasy based in the medieval era. Fantasy writing ideas include elements not typical of recorded history — including mythical beings, magic, etc. The following prompts act as medieval fantasy story starters.
52. A Royal Pain. Thanks to your quick thinking during a crisis at the village market, you’ve been appointed as the bodyguard for the princess. The job proves more difficult than any mission you’ve ever had — but also more rewarding.
53. Twins at Odds. You and your twin princess find each other on opposite sides of the law. You don’t always get along, but when the king tells you to help set a trap for her — leading to her execution — you’re determined to find a way to help her instead.
54. Secret Fire. Being the love child of a favorite palace servant and a dragon shifter, your gifts don’t reveal themselves until the evening of a long-awaited ball, when a man twice your age tries to get you into a compromising situation.
55. Ring of the Scribe. Your half-sibling has abilities that make you invisible around them. On your birthday, a favorite aunt gives you a ring that’s tied to a destiny kept secret from you. You put it on and strange things happen. But you can’t take it off.
56. Motion Potion. As a witch in a magic-hating kingdom, being crippled is more than inconvenient. Your aunt teaches you a potion that lets you not only walk but dance better than anyone in the kingdom — just in time for the ball.
57. Forbidden Friendship. You’re a young royal in disguise who befriends a villager with a scarred face. The next day, he’s arrested for stealing something you gave to him. Saving his life will mean risking everything.
58. Vendetta Undercover. Your ailing father has a serious grievance against the heir apparent and even named you accordingly. You set out to investigate on his behalf, securing a position in the castle. What you learn changes everything.
59. Hidden World. You find a tree near home with a natural ladder leading up the giant trunk. You climb and find a hidden world of magical beings. You’re discovered and your survival depends on agreeing to a dangerous mission.
60. Pickpocket Apprentice. You’re a poor villager who’s adept at pickpocketing, evading capture until a wizard catches you in the act and offers to teach you. The catch? His daughter suspects you and resents magic for what it cost her.
61. Cave of Discoveries. You investigate a cave, finding a furnished area in the center open to the sky. A veiled woman reveals the secret community taking refuge there — and why the kingdom wants them dead. His “missing” daughter is among them.
BONUS: List of Fantasy Plot Generators
If you have specific plot elements in mind, or if you just want more fantasy plot ideas thrown at you to get your creative mind humming, try one of the following links. Even the random ones can get you thinking of plot twists you hadn’t considered before.
- PlotGenerator.org.uk — Generates plot ideas based on your inputs.
- Reedsy Plot Generator — Generates random plot ideas with zero input.
- Fantasy Plot Generator — Generates random plot ideas for a male or female protagonist.
- Seventh Sanctum story generators — Provides links to multiple plot generators.
- Plot Generator at Rangen.com — Asks for a genre and detail level and generates random plot ideas.
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To New Beginnings
Now that you’ve had some time to look through these fantasy prompts, which ones stand out in your memory? Even if you change some of the details, I hope you find something that becomes the beginning of a story you’ll love writing.
Picture yourself within a year sharing the news about your finished fiction novel.
You’ll share snippets of it on social media, and fantasy lovers the world over will want to know when your book will go live.
And don’t think you’re in this alone, either. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
May you write the beginning of something that will linger in your readers’ imaginations for years to come.