If you’re waiting for the muse, she’s here.
This is your chance. To write carelessly. To ignore spelling. To hop over plot holes.
Take an idea from this list and run with it. You have permission to just write. For ten minutes. Or five. Because no one is watching. And no one is judging.
This is the time. This is the place. This is your inspiration.
Go for it.
The List: 58 Science Fiction Writing Prompts
- You find out you’re a DNA experiment combining as many recessive genes into one person as possible. That’s why you’ve always felt so different from everyone else.
- A man takes a vacation to another dimension only to find that everything he was trying to get away from, he’s brought with him.
- Couchsurfing on another planet goes wrong.
- A marathon runner illegally trains on a planet with stonger-than-Earth gravity to gain an advantage over his competition in the inter-universe Olympics.
- “It’s not really a fly. If you swat it, they’ll just fine you and send two more.”
- You think you’re chasing the last vestige of a prehistoric Earth creature, but it turns out to be an alien.
- A woman disappears for three years and returns with psychic powers.
- “If I can’t save her from the creaux, then no one else matters.”
- The solar system is an ecologically closed spacecraft hurtling makind toward its ultimate destiny.
- “We’re headed to Madam Maxime’s at the edge of the universe.”
- An existentially bored man who lives in a smart house—where everything is done for him—pines for the Wild West where men had to fend for themselves.
- A corporate analyst who investigates failed colonization projects encounters the strangest case of his career. It’s a ghost colony with no record of anything catastrophic or any indication of what went wrong. The people are simply gone. Just when he’s about to write off the project into bureaucratic oblivion, he notices something else that’s missing. Can he reconstruct the past from the hole it left deleting itself?
- “I learned to stop time traveling today. I was doing it just to hurt myself.”
- An orphan girl, desperate to make anything last, snaps pictures with a camera she found among ship wreckage. She finds she can enter the still-life photos without aging.
- “We were always on the same page, even when it came to splitting for separate planets.”
- A social worker in an impoverished planetary colony discovers a cheap way to manufacture housing for the homeless, but the housing material is on a corporate reserve.
- A hobo finds the secret to true love tonic.
- An old woman, fed up with the alien soldiers she’s forced to house, kills one who puts his muddy boots on her coffee table for the last time.
- Women on Calisto colony are legally permitted only two children each. One man decides that one wife and two children aren’t enough.
- Tired of stalled space exploration advancements, a scientist convinces the public that a meteor is on a collision course with Earth. In designing the fake “evidence,” it turns out the meteor isn’t a hoax. But now no one believes him.
- A neurologist discovers that the human brain is wired to learn planetary physics during infancy. Is this proof that humans weren’t always Earth-dwelling?
- Everyone on Earth falls asleep at the same time, except one man.
- “You can see my love from space.”
- Each child a woman births is a vote for that world’s continuation.
- A girl’s dead brother contacts her through dreams claiming the afterlife is just another dimension.
- A failing physics student accidentally discovers faster-than-light-speed travel, but his professor doesn’t believe him.
- “No man on the planet has the key to the galaxy that we do. Join us.”
- “They say there’s worms in the black. I never seen no worm. But I ain’t going back out there all the same.”
- “You got the credits, we got the crystal.”
- A time-adept species will serve your prison sentence, but you have to exchange the favor in the afterlife. An atheist decides if it’s worth it.
- “Turns out separate planets wasn’t far enough.”
- “He flew in here on his government-issue cruiser and stole my heart.”
- A man decides to climb Mars’s Olympus Mons. He’ll finish in three years, just in time for his wife to emerge from cryogenic freezing.
- A man with writer’s block attends a hypnotic dream workshop where his dreams will be recorded for story premises. Except, when he awakens, one hundred years have passed, and all his story ideas are already classics with someone else’s name on them.
- A boy from 1920s America learns he’s actually in the year 2020, where technology is advanced and he’s a social study.
- “Why grieve when you can keep your loved one encased in Forever Glass™?”
- The CEO of Living Doll Corp has a crisis of conscience when a child drowns trying to save a doll that fell in a lake.
- Scientists discover the key to human origins trapped in the polar ice caps after they melt. The message it delivers is a second chance for mankind’s irresponsible treatment of their home.
- Gold-fingered gods arrive in chariot-emblazoned space crafts claiming to be the Roman Pantheon back from vacation.
- A diaspora of humans evacuate Earth before a catastrophic collision. When the collision date comes and goes without incident, those left behind must decide what to do with Earth and whether to let the evacuees get away with criminal abandonment.
- A virus attacks humans. The survivors, now fused with the virus, begin to remember a time before Earth.
- Scientists discover a fusion phenomena in deep space. Like a black hole, but in reverse. The material leaving it seems to be the building blocks for all life in the galaxy. Is this the great mother of all life in the universe?
- When the last courtesan training house is threatened with obsolescence, the downtrodden women of the Athena belt unite to preserve the last vestige of female independence.
- Cassandra, a time traveling police officer, pretends to read her customers’ futures through Tarot cards because it’s the only way to convince them of the truth.
- A man shows up at the home of an infertile woman who is desperate to conceive. He claims to be her son from the future. He needs money and an egg from her ovary to help save her life.
- Men in a secret society on Earth decide to transform the US into a third-world country to make it a more exciting vacation spot.
- When the capitalist class of Pandora moves to a remote third-world country, a group of unemployed journalists investigate.
- A man in a refugee camp for memory loss victims starts to remember his past—that he and the other refugees were freedom fighters with special abilities. But he can’t access his powers without help from his friends. Can he help the others remember?
- Faced with Earth’s imminent destruction, two computer whizzes design Earth Memory—a hub containing art, internet content, knowledge, written history, human DNA, and the two boys’ memories. They wake up with 100k other humans on an Earth-like planet where they must work to find out what happened and who saved them.
- A boy grows up amidst “lost technology” with his grandparent’s stories about “Earth that was.”
- Five intrepid teens discover that the wizard class who rule the country are really just masters of a minor technology that one of the boys has accidentally stolen.
- A girl discovers an additive in the food supply that keeps the population tired, sick, and foggy-headed. After she stops eating the additive and “wakes up,” her success and seemingly super-human abilities draws the attention of the authorities who offer compelling reasons why she should keep her silence.
- “After eons and light years of travel, I’ve learned only one thing of any consequence: there’s nowhere far enough that her memory doesn’t follow.”
- “Ikaria isn’t a religious retreat. It’s a science experiment. And you’re the mouse.”
- “I don’t care about bioluminescent lakes, dad! I like my sparkle in a glow stick.”
- A man driven mad by a ringing in his ears discovers it’s an alien signal. And he isn’t the only one who can hear it.
- An abandoned shack turns out to be a door to another universe as a band of local hooligans is about to find out.
- A group of intelligence-enhanced lab animals must find a way to communicate before their turn in the euthanization chamber.
Got your idea? You’re almost there.
Transform your idea into a story with 5 Deceptively Simple Plot Techniques for Writers. Then polish it off with The Art of Brevity: 5 Powerful Techniques to Cut the Fluff from Your Fiction.
M. G. Herron says
I used prompt 15 to write a scifi flash fiction story for my blog 🙂
If you want to read it: http://mgherron.com/scifi-flash-fiction-nothing-denisela-nothing/
Thanks for the inspiration!
Mandy Wallace says
Loved it, Matt! Thanks for sharing <3
S. Ann F. says
Hello there, Mandy,
I wrote a (very) short story using prompt #5.
If you’d like to read it, here’s a link: http://insannewriting.blogspot.com/2016/12/flies-inspired-by-writing-prompt-found.html
S. Ann F. says
Thank you for these prompts!
S. Ann F.
I used prompt 12 for my assignment at it went over astonishingly well.
Mandy Wallace says
Hi, Mandy. Thanks for the inspiration. I wrote a little something using prompt number 53 here
Leanna Englert says
I linked to your 58 Science Fiction Writing Prompts in today’s blog post at https://novelwords.cafe/
Mandy Wallace says
Awesome, Leanna 🙂
Hey, here’s a short story I put together based off of #9
There was a moment where nobody believed what they were witnessing. The control room that was bustling with activity and chatter just a minute ago went silent in an instant.
I froze, coffee mug still in my right hand, and my left hand still on the keyboard. The wall-sized screen a dozen metres away had the words >>NO SIGNAL<>COLLISION WITH ….ERROR…ERROR….ERROR….ERROR…. UNKNOWN GRAVITATIONAL OBJECT<<
This couldn’t be real.
If it was, though, it would mean Voyager had collided with an object surrounding the entire solar system.
And that’s just not possible.
This is great, Tyler! Those poor characters of Voyager. Definitely makes a reader want to know what happens next!
Hello – I recently became interested in creative writing and found this list of writing prompts. Here’s what I’ve come up with for #11. Thanks for the great list!
Freedom. Fresh air and freedom. There’s nothing that feels quite like the vast expanse of the open wilderness. Wind blowing through peaks and valleys where the grass seems to never end. Nature and wildlife fill the view in near majestic fashion. There are no distractions; everything is natural. It’s a place to live out the most primal of instincts, where no artificial objects skew perception. It’s was a reality and daily normalcy for many, but now, in a technologically assisted life, it’s a far cry from humanity.
Artificial intelligence is now engrained in everything. We have smart homes, smart cars, smart transportation, smart utilities, and there is no end to what is becoming smart. We wake up when the house tells us to, only to be greeted by coffee and breakfast as we get out of bed. The shower turns on as the breakfast nook removes our dirty dishes for cleaning. The water feels nice, but that’s what everything feels like. There’s no need to work hard, no need to struggle. If you need a new wardrobe, place an order to the Store and wait the 10 minute delivery. There’s no need to leave your room, everything you need is a tap or thought away.
M Wallace says
Curran, it’s great to hear you recently discovered creative writing! I’m glad to see you here. And what a great beginning for a story. I could see it going so many places and can’t wait to see where it really winds up. Dystopia? A complete embrace of the easy, AI-assisted life? Somewhere in between? Personally, I’m all for the easy life. But I think that would make me want to get out and do even more in the great wide world. Or maybe I WOULD just stay in my room and write and work all day… 🙂
The Brotherhood of the Wone says
Writing prompt about science fiction is not at easy as you think because the most graceful style of writing is not required in science fiction. You can entirely write your story in your own language. You can even come up with your own words and concepts and coin your own terms. This has been done by a number of science fiction authors already.
James H. Jenkins says
Mandy, this is a wonderdful list. Thanks for keeping it alive these many years.
Great, inspiring ideas.
M Wallace says
Thanks, James! Glad to hear it.
Gimi two says
your idea is cool thank fro it in my school i ask my student to write a story about this idea thanks
The Brotherhood of the Wone says
A great storytelling is important in creating not just a science fiction story, but any other stories in literature. Aside from ideas, concepts, and themes, the quality of story telling is also essential in determining the goodness of a story. In writing science fiction, particularly, storytelling plays a vital role in achieving the ultimate purpose of a story – to stimulate imagination and make readers think. To tell your science fiction story in a great and remarkable way, you need to lay down your ideas in an organized way.
Wow, thanks! Number 6 fits perfectly with my idea! It is a fantasy-science fiction novel that I’m currently planning.
Greetings from Spain!
Rick Badman says
Science fiction writing prompts is not easy as you think. People hear tons of tips from others. However, the most common and useful would be to read a lot of books. What can you really get from reading books? And, what genre would be the most efficient to read? This blog will discuss ways on how you can benefit from reading and the type of novel you should read.