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40 Dystopian Writing Prompts And Story Ideas

Dystopian Writing Prompts

Dystopian stories are the best because they’re fascinating and a little bit terrifying.

They’re like “what if” stories on steroids – what if things went totally sideways? It makes us stop and think about the world around us.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at writing a dark, twisted tale about the future, here’s a bunch of ideas to get you started.

We have got some amazing prompts to spark those creative juices.

Whether you’re totally new to writing or a pro, there’s something here that’ll make you want to grab a pen and get to work!

40 Dystopian Writing Prompts

  1. The Scramble of Resources: It’s the year 2070, the world has exhausted its resources due to uncontrolled consumerism and overpopulation. Governments have formed an international alliance to ration what’s left. Everyone has a digital ‘Resource Meter’ tied to their ID that dictates how much they can consume. Write a story of a group of rebels who found a way to hack the ‘Resource Meter’ system and are planning to distribute resources equally.

  2. Virtual Escapism: In an overpopulated future, the physical world is dull, crowded and controlled. To cope, most people spend their time in a perfect, virtual world through a device known as the ‘Solace System’. Craft a narrative revolving around a young protagonist who begins to question the authenticity of the ‘Solace System’ and seeks to uncover the truths behind this dystopian world.

  3. The New Eden Project: Climate change has made Earth uninhabitable. Humanity’s last hope is ‘New Eden’, an artificial ecosystem inside a giant biosphere. But within this seemingly utopian refuge, the strict rules and hierarchy create a new kind of dystopia. Write about a character who starts a revolution to break down the unjust system within New Eden.

  4. Gene Dictation: Gene manipulation has become so advanced that people can design their children, leading to a society divided by ‘Naturals’ and ‘Designed’. The ‘Designed’ are perceived as superior and hold power. Your story will focus on a ‘Natural’ who infiltrates the ruling class to bring about equality.

  5. Tech Mutes: In a world hyper-connected by technology, a mysterious virus causes people to lose their ability to communicate verbally. Society has to rely entirely on written and digital communication. Spin a tale of a group of ‘Tech Mutes’ trying to restore human verbal communication in a society that has moved on.

  6. The Memory Trade: In a society where memories can be extracted and traded, the rich live off the joyful memories of the poor, leaving them with only the negative ones. Write about a memory trader who decides to overthrow this oppressive system.

  7. Endless Night: A mysterious celestial event has caused the Earth to be in perpetual darkness. Solar energy is now a thing of the past, and society has to adapt to a world without sunlight. Create a narrative around a group of scientists trying to artificially recreate sunlight for the survival of the planet.

  8. The Silence Wave: Sound has mysteriously disappeared from the world. No one can hear anything anymore, leading to a new way of existence defined by silence. Your task is to tell a story of a child born just before ‘The Silence Wave’, who remembers what sound was like and fights to bring it back.

  9. The Sickness of Knowledge: In a world where technology allows for instant knowledge transfer, learning is seen as an outdated and inefficient process. Everyone is implanted with a ‘Knowledge Chip’ at birth. Write a story of a protagonist who somehow remains unchipped and sees the dangerous implications of this instant knowledge system.

  10. Seabound: After centuries of global warming, all landmasses have been swallowed by the sea. Humanity now lives in large, floating city-states. Craft a narrative revolving around a young historian who discovers the lost knowledge of ‘land’ and tries to find it against all odds.

  11. Post-Cognition: An invention enables people to see their future, leading to a society where everyone bases their decisions on what they will become. Your story will focus on a character who rejects their known future to forge their own path.

  12. Eden 2.0: Due to relentless environmental damage, the natural world is dying. The only wildlife left exists in ‘Eden 2.0’, an immense, highly-controlled dome. Tell the tale of a rebellious botanist who challenges the corporate greed and control governing this last bastion of nature.

  13. Echoes of Emotion: In a world where emotions can be manipulated and even deleted, society is ruled by apathy. Write about a protagonist who starts experiencing raw, uncontrolled emotions and becomes a symbol of rebellion in an emotionless world.

  14. The Age of Augmentation: In a future where body modification and cybernetic augmentation have become the norm, those with organic bodies (‘Organics’) are viewed as inferior. Spin a story of an ‘Organic’ who becomes a beacon of hope for those who resist the societal pressure to augment.

  15. The Last Word: A tyrannical regime invents a device that restricts people’s vocabulary, limiting freedom of speech and thought. Craft a narrative around a group of linguists who invent a new language to defy this oppressive control.

  16. The Cryostasis Project: Overpopulation and resource scarcity lead to the implementation of the Cryostasis Project, where people are put to sleep for years at a time to conserve resources. Create a narrative around a character who wakes up during a ‘sleep cycle’ and uncovers a disturbing truth about the Project.

  17. Eternal Twilight: A solar phenomenon has caused the Earth to be stuck in a permanent state of twilight, disrupting ecosystems and societal routines. Write a story about a group of scientists who undertake a perilous journey to reverse the solar anomaly and restore Earth’s day-night cycle.

  18. The Hive: Advanced AI and automation have taken over all work. Society is now divided between the ‘Minds’, who design and control the machines, and the ‘Idle’, who live in state-provided comfort but lack purpose. Craft a tale around a character from the ‘Idle’ class who challenges this dichotomy.

  19. No Touch: A mutated virus has made human touch lethal, leading to a world where people live in individual, sanitized cells and interact only through virtual reality. Write about a protagonist who decides to defy the regulations and explore the abandoned, touchless world.

  20. Babel Reversed: A global government has enforced a single language to promote unity and peace, but it leads to the loss of cultural diversity and identity. Your story will focus on a linguistic rebel who tries to revive their ancient language and culture.

  21. Age of Silence: The use of voice has become a sign of class in a world where most communication is done telepathically. Only the elite can afford to speak, and words have become a symbol of power. Tell the story of a word-smuggler who attempts to democratize speech.

  22. Disposable Lives: Genetic engineering has led to a class of ‘Disposable’ people who are created for labor and have short lifespans. Create a narrative around a ‘Disposable’ who survives past their ‘expiry’ and starts a movement for equal rights.

  23. The Emotion Market: In a world where people’s emotions can be bought and sold, happiness has become a luxury only the rich can afford. Write a story about a protagonist who starts an ‘Emotion Revolution’ to disrupt this market and bring back natural emotions.

  24. Dream Reapers: Society has developed technology to harvest and manipulate dreams, leading to a world where the rich and powerful can steal and live out people’s most private fantasies. Craft a narrative around a ‘Dream Reaper’ who decides to fight against this exploitation of dreams.

  25. Invisible Division: A powerful technology renders wealth invisible, leading to a society that appears equal. However, under this facade, the rich continue to exploit the poor, who remain invisible in their struggle. Write a story about a character who can see through this illusion and strives to expose the truth.

  26. Decade Capsule: A system is in place that only allows citizens to live in one decade of their choosing for the rest of their lives. People can be ’60s people’, ’90s people’, etc., which creates division and societal tension. Craft a tale of a protagonist who rejects their ‘Decade Capsule’ and ventures to unite the segregated society.

  27. Air Breathers: In a world where breathable air is scarce and sold in bottles, the class divide is dictated by access to air. Your narrative will focus on an activist who rallies the oppressed to demand free air for all.

  28. The Last Music: Sound pollution has led to a ban on all natural sounds, including music. All that remains are synthesized sounds controlled by the State. Tell the story of a clandestine group of musicians trying to bring back natural music.

  29. Binary Children: Society is governed by an AI that dictates a person’s life based on data collected during their early childhood. Spin a tale about a ‘Binary Child’ who decides to break free from the AI’s prediction and forge their own destiny.

  30. Quantum Split: A quantum experiment goes wrong, causing every person to split into two versions — one embodying their best traits and the other their worst. Write about a character who seeks to unite their two halves and restore humanity’s wholeness.

  31. The Book Burners: In a future where all knowledge is digital and censored, physical books are illegal. Craft a narrative around a secret society of librarians who preserve the last books and fight against this information control.

  32. The Timeless City: A city exists where time has been eradicated — no one ages, and there are no days or nights. However, this timeless existence leads to apathy and despair. Your story will focus on a character who introduces the concept of ‘time’ to stir change and hope.

  33. Nature’s Outcasts: After decades of environmental neglect, nature fights back, rejecting humans. Plants and animals become hostile, and the earth becomes barren for human use. Write a story about a group of scientists who struggle to make peace with nature and restore the planet’s balance.

  34. One Life, One Role: In a world where each person is assigned a single role at birth based on genetic analysis, society runs like a well-oiled machine but lacks individuality. Craft a narrative around a protagonist who defies their assigned role and embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

  35. The Empathy Void: An AI system governs the world, and its logic-based decisions lack empathy, creating a cold and ruthless society. Your story will focus on a character who tries to reintroduce empathy into the AI to save humanity from its emotionless existence.

  36. The Shadow Web: After the internet is heavily regulated, an underground, decentralized network known as the ‘Shadow Web’ becomes the last bastion of free speech. Tell the story of a digital freedom fighter struggling to keep the ‘Shadow Web’ running against oppressive forces.

  37. The Mind Gardeners: Brain implants can modify people’s beliefs and ideologies, leading to a homogenized society where dissent is unheard of. Write about a protagonist who discovers how to resist the ‘Mind Gardening’ and starts a mental revolution.

  38. Oxygen Heirs: Oxygen levels have plummeted, and the rich live in luxurious, oxygen-rich domes while the poor struggle in the toxic atmosphere. Craft a narrative around a character from the outskirts who challenges this unjust distribution of breathable air.

  39. Hyper Surveillance: In a society where privacy is deemed illegal for the sake of security, everyone’s actions are constantly monitored and judged by an AI system. Spin a tale about a group of hackers who plan to disable the surveillance system and restore people’s right to privacy.

  40. The Synchronized: A global neural network connects people’s minds, enabling instant communication but also causing loss of individual thought. Your story will focus on a character who disconnects from the network and experiences loneliness and individuality for the first time.