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21 Fiction Writing Prompts and Story Ideas

Fiction Writing Prompts

Fiction writing is seriously cool. You get to create entire worlds and play around with crazy ideas. But… sometimes those ideas can get a little stuck, right?

Whether you’re a total newbie or a published pro, we all get writer’s block now and then.

That’s why we have got some awesome fiction writing prompts to kickstart your imagination.

We are talking mystery, romance, the whole deal!

You’ll find stuff here to help you write that short story, get your novel moving, or even try out some super-short flash fiction.

Let’s go.

21 Fiction Writing Prompts

  1. Survival in the Forbidden Forest – In a quiet little town surrounded by an ancient, foreboding forest, children grow up hearing tales of the dangerous creatures that live within its borders. One day, your protagonist, a 12-year-old child, is dared by their peers to venture into the forest. Driven by the need to prove their bravery, they step into the forest, only to find themselves lost, setting the stage for a survival story intertwined with age-old myths and mysteries.

  2. Unseen Guardian – Imagine a world where each human is born with an unseen guardian entity. They are said to guide and protect their human throughout their life, but no one can communicate with them directly. Your main character, a scientist, develops a device to communicate with these guardians. The story unravels as they discover the true nature of these entities and the unforeseen consequences of this groundbreaking invention.

  3. The Old Man’s Diary – Your protagonist is a young historian who comes across an old diary at a flea market. Intrigued, they purchase it and soon discover it’s the diary of a man who lived through a major, but little-known, historical event. The historian decides to verify the diary’s content and shed light on the unexplored historical event. Their journey takes them across the world, unearthing secrets that might have been better left buried.

  4. The City Without Memories – Your protagonist wakes up one day in a city where no one, including themselves, has any memory of their past. Despite the strange condition, the city functions as any normal city would. The protagonist is driven by the need to discover why and how everyone’s memories were erased, uncovering a conspiracy that is larger and more sinister than they could have imagined.

  5. A Second Chance – Imagine a society where on their 50th birthday, everyone is offered the chance to start over – to be 18 again, with all the knowledge and experience they’ve gained. Your protagonist, after much contemplation, decides to take this second chance. The story follows their journey navigating the world as a young adult in a vastly different era, grappling with their old memories while creating new ones.

  6. The Voice of the Ocean – Your main character is a marine biologist who has been researching marine communication for years. One day, during an underwater expedition, they discover a peculiar sound that they haven’t heard before. As they investigate, they realize they’ve stumbled upon a way to understand and communicate with marine life. This discovery sets them on a path that challenges their scientific beliefs and brings them face to face with the reality of human impact on marine life.

  7. Artificial Empathy – In a near-future world, your protagonist is an AI developer who has been struggling to create a robot with true empathy. After many attempts, they finally create a robot capable of experiencing emotions similar to humans. As the story unfolds, the protagonist grapples with the ethical implications of creating a machine capable of emotional experiences, and what it truly means to be human.

  8. The Strangers on Train 47B – Your protagonist is a regular commuter on train 47B. One day, they notice something strange: some of the passengers they’ve seen every day have subtly changed. The protagonist decides to investigate, and uncovers a reality-bending secret: Train 47B is a portal that links parallel universes, and the “changed” passengers are their alternate versions from different realities.

  9. The Forgotten Language – In an attempt to reconnect with her roots, your protagonist moves to a secluded village where her ancestors were from. She discovers that the villagers speak a unique language that even scholars have deemed extinct. Intrigued, she decides to learn and document this forgotten language, unraveling surprising secrets about her lineage and the ancient civilization in the process.

  10. The Unchanging Town – Your main character, a journalist, is sent to cover a story in a remote town known for its peculiar trait: nothing ever changes. The weather, people’s ages, even the time of day seem to be frozen in a perpetual state of “sameness.” As the protagonist digs deeper into the mystery of this town, they need to uncover the reason behind the town’s unchanging state, challenging their perception of reality.

  11. The Book of Prophecies – Your protagonist is an antiquarian bookseller who stumbles upon a rare, unmarked book filled with prophecies. As they read through it, they begin to notice that the prophecies eerily align with current events. Driven by curiosity and fear, the protagonist decides to change the course of events to prevent a grim prophecy from coming true, stirring up a whirlwind of suspense and intrigue.

  12. Unheard Music – Your main character, a music professor, begins hearing a melody that no one else can hear. The music is beautiful, unlike anything they have ever heard, but its constant presence begins to interfere with their life. The story unfolds as they embark on a journey to find the source of this unheard music, leading them to question the nature of reality and the power of perception.

  13. The Hundred-Year Message – The protagonist is a communication specialist at a space agency, responsible for decoding signals from outer space. One day, they receive a message that, after months of decoding, appears to have been sent by humans a hundred years in the future. The story revolves around the protagonist’s struggle to understand and convey the warning from the future while dealing with disbelief, bureaucracy, and the potential for widespread panic.

  14. The Time Capsule Mystery – Your character, a school teacher, unearths a time capsule buried by students 50 years ago. Among the various artifacts, they find a letter containing a cryptic prediction about a disaster that’s going to happen soon. With the date fast approaching, the teacher, with the help of her students, sets out to prevent the disaster foretold in the time capsule, uncovering old secrets and hidden truths along the way.

  15. The Invisible Artist – Your protagonist, a gallery owner, comes across astonishingly beautiful pieces of artwork with no signature or attribution. Determined to find the artist, they set out on a quest to discover the identity of this invisible artist, unraveling a trail of unsent letters and sketches that lead to a hidden truth about an unrecognized genius.

  16. The Ageless Child – Imagine a world where your protagonist, a child psychologist, encounters a peculiar case: a child who doesn’t age. The child has the physical appearance of a ten-year-old, but claims to be over a century old. As the psychologist delves deeper into the child’s mind and history, they strive to uncover the mystery behind the ageless child, uncovering a tale of time, loss, and eternal innocence.

  17. The Dream Traveler – Your protagonist is an ordinary person with an extraordinary ability – they can travel to real places and times through their dreams. One day, they dream of an impending disaster. The race against time begins as the protagonist must figure out how to prevent a disaster they’ve seen in a dream, raising questions about fate, free will, and the nature of reality.

  18. The Second Shadow – In a world where everyone is born with two shadows that represent different aspects of their personality, your protagonist is born with only one. As they grow up, they feel incomplete and set out on a quest to find their missing shadow, embarking on a psychological and physical journey that explores identity, self-discovery, and acceptance.

  19. The Bridge Between Lives – Your protagonist, a renowned neurosurgeon, develops a procedure that allows people to access memories from their past lives. However, one of his patients begins to display personalities and knowledge from a past life that they shouldn’t possess. The story revolves around the surgeon’s endeavor to understand this abnormal manifestation of past life memories, diving deep into reincarnation, identity, and the ethics of tampering with the human mind.

  20. The Lost Colony – Imagine your protagonist as an archaeologist who discovers an unknown ancient civilization right in the heart of a modern city. As they investigate the ruins and decipher the ancient language, they realize that the colony was far more advanced than the current world. The narrative unfolds as the protagonist seeks to unveil the secrets and downfall of the lost colony, stirring up political tension and challenging historical narratives.

  21. Echoes of the Past – Your protagonist is a young woman who inherits a derelict mansion from an unknown relative. As she starts renovating the mansion, she begins to hear whispers and see visions of the house’s past residents. The story centers around her efforts to uncover the mansion’s haunting history and its connection to her own family lineage, blurring the lines between past and present, reality and the supernatural.