Fantasy is one of the biggest genres out there, with a huge variety of sub genres and sub-sub genres.
Fantasy is also great because it can be combined with almost any other genre, whether it be romance, thriller, science fiction, and even literary books.
But because fantasy is so imaginative, it can sometimes be difficult to come up with all of the ideas you need to create a compelling fantasy story. With that in mind, here are a variety of fantasy writing prompts that you can use get your creative juices flowing.
Bear in mind that these prompts will help you come up interesting ideas, but if you want to become a bestseller, you need to test them out on the marketplace. One quick way to determine if a story born from a prompt will be successful is if you can find popular keywords about its subject. Tools like Publisher Rocket can also be a huge help in the brainstorming process, showing you the keywords that readers are actively searching for on Amazon, which may spark your next great idea. In addition, draw inspiration from the huge list of Amazon categories, which will tell you what subgenres that Fantasy readers frequently visit to find their next great book.
- Recipes for a great fantasy story
- Overarching fantasy tropes
- A list of fantasy story ideas
Table of contents
- What Makes a Good Fantasy?
- Common Fantasy Genre Tropes
- Fantasy Writing Prompts
- Test Your Fantasy Novel for Viability
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What Makes a Good Fantasy?
Before we dive into the fantasy story prompts, let's talk about what makes a good fantasy book. This is difficult, because there is such variety to the type of fantasy story you could have, but most fantasy stories do tend to have certain elements:
- Some type of magic, often a detailed magic system
- A fantastical world
- Huge stakes and conflicts
- Extensive world building
Additionally, a good fantasy book is determined by elements that make up any good book, period. These can include:
- Well-developed characters
- A clear theme
- A personal connection with the reader
- Clever dialogue
- Epic pacing and a satisfying conclusion
Get these down, and you are likely to have a very successful fantasy book, regardless of your magic or world building.
Common Fantasy Genre Tropes
As I already mentioned, fantasy can be combined with almost any other genre, but there are specific tropes that are unique to fantasy, and if any of these show up in your book, it is likely a fantasy book.
Note that not all of these tropes are used in fantasy books, but they can be common, and when used well, they can be a huge help:
- The chosen one
- A Dark Lord
- Good vs. evil
- Some type of magic
- The mentor figure
- Different fantasy races
- An ancient (often medieval) setting
- Magical items
- A heroic quest
- Magical schools
- Portals that open to a fantasy world
- “The myths are real”
- A secret magical world coexisting with ours (urban fantasy)
These are just a sample of the different tropes out there, and you should look at your specific sub genre for a better understanding of what tropes you should use. For example, an urban fantasy will have very different tropes from an epic fantasy. One of the best ways to research genre specific tropes is to go straight to the source- head over to winning Amazon categories, and see what books perform well within them.
With all that in mind, let's get into the prompts.
Fantasy Writing Prompts
I've tried to categorize these ideas as best I can, though there will obviously be some overlap.
Genre Matchup Prompts
- Take a fantasy trope and subvert it.
- Write Robinson Crusoe but with fantasy elements.
- Robots team up with wizards.
- Someone learns how to harness magic in technology, leading to huge innovations.
- What would a legal drama look like in an epic fantasy world?
- Write a romance between a regular human and some kind of fantastical race/creature.
- Write a heist in a fantasy setting.
- Write an underdog sports story in a fantasy setting.
- Write a revenge narrative in a fantasy setting.
- What if aliens invaded a fantasy world?
- What if Cthulhu awoke on a fantasy world?
- Imagine a political thriller with a fantasy government.
- Write a psychological thriller, where the character doesn't know if they are hallucinating the fantasy world or not.
- Write a mystery set in an epic fantasy world, incorporating the magic system.
- Pick a public domain story and turn it into a fantasy.
Portal Fantasy Prompts
- A character from another world escapes into ours.
- Your character finds a magic portal in the basement.
- Dreaming is actually the real world.
- Your dreams start to come true.
- A painting comes to life.
- You discover a library where the books can come to life.
- The character mutters gibberish to themselves, only to discover they were speaking a magical language.
- Memory Lane is real.
- A reality TV show featuring magical creatures.
- You arrive in the underworld sooner than expected.
- You discover a world that is the mirror opposite of hours.
- You discover a door in your attic that wasn't there before.
- A gamer discovers that the character he controls is actually a real person in a fantasy world.
- Your world is actually the fantasy world, and electricity is magic.
- You get sucked into a video game, in one of the following genres:
- Open world RPG
- First-person shooter
- A Mario-world-type game
- A dark fantasy
- A side scroller
- A top-down strategy game
- A fantasy MMO
- A melee fighting game
- A survival game
- An astronaut discovers another world that is eerily similar to ours.
- While out hiking, you discover a cave that leads to another world.
- There is a world where our world is the stuff of myths and legends.
- A huge fan of [insert fandom here], discovers that it's not fiction.
- A rich uncle dies and leaves you his magical castle.
- You go to a theme park, only for characters to come to life.
- You enter a theme park ride, and it transports you to another world.
- You discover that you are the dream of someone else.
- You meet someone in real life who has the same dreams as you, and you can enter this dreamworld together.
- Our reality is actually an advanced version of the Sims.
- A young child and their parents get sucked into a children's book.
- A Dungeons & Dragons game eventually becomes real.
- An artist is able to escape into their paintings.
Urban Fantasy Prompts
- Write about someone with an average job, but in a world of magic or with magical elements.
- You look up into the sky and see the two moons.
- Your food starts to speak to you.
- Two members of a classic fantasy the race (elf, dwarf, etc.) move in next door.
- Your garden gnomes are actually real gnomes.
- You somehow magically created a friend, and are constantly scared you'll make them disappear.
- As a joke, you put on a tinfoil hat, but then something happens.
- You wake up in a busy city, only to find that there is complete silence.
- You discover a pet that is not of this earth in the pet store.
- A photographer who specializes in photographing the supernatural.
- A child is discovered to be immune to vampirism.
- The gods from a [insert mythological pantheon here] return to earth.
- You move into a supper inhabited entirely by ghosts.
- Turns out, if you curse someone, that curse comes true.
- There is a wizard in every town protecting us.
- Turns out, you are Santa's grandchild.
- Turns out, your nanny is actually a witch.
- While on vacation, you discover a magical artifact out of mythology (i.e. Excalibur, Pandora's box, Thor's hammer, etc.).
- An ancient Viking suddenly appears in modern-day London.
- Deceased soldiers from an old war, suddenly come back to life.
- Dragons return to earth after many years gone.
- Turns out unicorns are real.
- Scientists uncovers the science behind magic.
- King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are magically transferred into modern-day teenage bodies.
- The Greek pantheon is magically transferred into modern-day teenage bodies.
- The Norse pantheon is magically transferred into modern-day teenage bodies.
- The Egyptian pantheon is magically transferred into modern-day teenage bodies.
- A DNA archaeologist discovers that mythical creatures did exist.
- Your character owns a magical shop in some important niche.
- A tattoo artist is able to imbue their subject with magical abilities.
Epic Fantasy Prompts
- Write a story about Gods over a specific element like water, fire, etc.
- A world where dragons are forced to fight each other, fight club style.
- A child wishes that a family member will return from the dead, and it works.
- A long-lost shipwreck is found, completely intact.
- Society is built around epic, arena-like games.
- Anything can become true if enough people believe it, and the villain exploits this fact.
- A bounty hunter and an epic fantasy world, hunting warlocks, witches, and monsters.
- Sherlock Holmes, but in an epic fantasy world.
- Pick an ancient Earth culture that is not medieval England, and develop an epic fantasy around that.
- Develop a culture over a huge timeline, from primitive beginnings, to the space-age.
- What if the humans on a fantasy world had no idea that any other fantasy race existed, until they appeared for the first time.
- Indiana Jones, but in an epic fantasy setting.
- Your characters develop spiritual connections with a specific animal.
- The trees have spirits, and only you can hear them.
- The character is appointed as a bodyguard for a royal prince/princess.
- A prince/princess discovers that they have a long lost twin, who was not raised in privilege.
- Take an ordinary piece of modern-day technology, and postulate how a medieval society would react to it.
- Write about someone who has a relationship (platonic or romantic) with a ghost.
- Ghosts/werewolves/vampires are actually super nice, and it's the fairies/elves/dwarves that are mean.
- You sit down to read your favorite book, only to find it has changed.
- You write a book, only to discover that it comes true.
- Here character decides to have a conversation with the author of the book.
- An angel walks on earth for a month.
- An angel and a demon switch places for a week.
- I monster is terrified of the child that sleeps above his bed.
- Humans are actually giants, and there are micro-human races beneath us.
- The giant emerges from the ocean.
- A child is transported into the past, into the teenage body of their mother or father.
- You go to a new high school, only to discover that everyone is a vampire.
- The Titanic mysteriously arrives in New York as if nothing had happened, with all passengers accounted for.
- A boating accident leads to the character being saved by mermaids.
- A deck of tarot cards accurately predicts the future for a group of friends.
- All of the figures in a wax museum become real.
- A ghost is having difficulty finding a place to haunt.
- A writer discovers that God is also a writer, and our reality is his book.
- It is discovered the zombies are actually very intelligent.
- Set your story in a fortuneteller's parlor.
- What if the sun suddenly didn't rise.
- What if the sun suddenly rose in the West instead of the east.
- Write a fantasy story in the wild West setting.
- A new continent is discovered.
- You discover the fountain of youth, but it turns out it only sends you forward in time.
- A retirement home for superheroes.
- A history teacher can take their students to any time or place in history.
- Area 51 protects a gateway to another dimension.
- Area 51 protects a gateway to hell.
World Building Prompts
- Use a currency that isn't money, and build your world from there.
- Luck is not random, but is an inherited genetic trait, or a skill that can be learned.
- I day in the life of a magical creature.
- Someone with the power of alchemy, but can only change a material into something useless.
- Snow falls one morning, but it isn't white.
- A character can only live three times in their lifetime.
- There is a river that will wipe your memory if you drink from it.
- You can buy bottled emotions.
- Develop a magic system based on self-help principles
- Develop a magic system based on biology
- Develop a magic system based on computer programming
- Develop a magic system based on commonplace social customs like shaking hands
Fantasy Character Prompts
- The story is set within a character's mind.
- A character wakes up in a past life.
- A character wakes up in a future reincarnation of themself.
- A character spends their whole life faking that they have magic, then suddenly discover they do.
- Your character is destined to do something they don't want.
- Your character becomes aware that they are a work of fiction.
- Write a story from the perspective of an orc.
- One of your parents is a werewolf, the other a vampire.
- People thought you were the chosen one, but turns out they were mistaken. Now what?
- A doctor claims to know how you can get someone to fall in love with you.
- You are immortal, married to a mortal, and you decide to tell them.
- Your character can suddenly read minds.
- A social outcast finds that they are actually the prince/princess of a distant world.
- Your character gains the ability to make any wish come true.
- A character can turn into any animal by wishing it.
- Your character receives a new superpower every day, losing the previous one.
- The ghost of a parent helps a young child through difficult times.
- A character is mute, but can talk to animals.
- Someone is hunted by their alternate universe twin.
- A monster, generally feared by all, is actually a gentle giant.
Fantasy Romance Prompts
- Write a romance between one superpowered individual and one who doesn't have powers.
- Write a romance between an elf and an orc, or two other diametrically opposed races.
- A romance between an angel and a demon.
- Sirens usually kill humans, until one falls in love.
Test Your Fantasy Novel for Viability
Hopefully, the creative juices are flowing now. But before you start writing your book, it's a good idea to see if there's a market for the type of fantasy you're looking to write. Since Fantasy is such a competitive genre, a little research goes a long way. And the easiest way to get this research done is with Publisher Rocket.
You can think of the information you get from Publisher Rocket as the foundation for your fantasy writing career. You get insights directly from Amazon on:
- Keywords – Metadata to position your book on Amazon.
- Competition – Allowing you to see what's selling and how stiff the competition is.
- Categories – So you know where people who are looking for books like yours go to find them.
- Amazon Ads – Helps you quickly configure a list of profitable keywords for running ads.
Check out Publisher Rocket here to get started.