Would you like inspiration to help with world-building, developing exotic characters, or creating ideas for your next science fiction story? Or perhaps you’re simply trying to overcome writer’s block and want inspiration on, well … anything!
If so, these sci-fi writing prompts are for you. They’re written with two goals in mind:
- Help you come up with original story ideas.
- Help you learn some important sci-fi writing techniques.
For simplicity, the prompts are written using ‘you’; however, feel free to write your story in the first or third person with a character of your choosing.
Let’s dive into the prompts.
31 Inspirational Sci-Fi Writing Prompts
Some incredible worlds have been created in science fiction, including Dune by Frank Herbert and the Culture universe, by Iain M. Banks. Here are some sci-fi writing prompts to help you create your own.
- After an apocalypse, giant ants have been trained to repair huge gaps in the earth. You’re riding a giant ant when an eight-story-tall spider strolls onto the scene.
- Eating fruit gives you superpowers. Lemons let you spit acid. Kiwis allow you to turn invisible. Eat pineapple and you grow a spiky protective armor. You’re deep in a jungle and are about to eat a strange new fruit for the first time.
- You were born on a space station and have spent your whole life in zero gravity. A spaceship from Earth has just docked.
- Gravity starts getting weaker day after day.
- The dictatorship that runs the government insists everyone wears a helmet while driving. All your friends start acting weird. Suspecting mind control, you flee on foot to the countryside.
- A monstrous race evolves deep within Mount Pinatubo. It’s about to erupt.
- Levitation and telekinesis (moving objects with your mind) are commonplace. You live in the ideal secure home for the gifted when you lose all your superpowers.
- I. Robots enslaved humans decades ago. Now a solar storm has wiped out most of them.
Character development prompts
Understanding your character – their fears and motivations – will drive your story forward and make it dynamic. You can find extra writing prompts for adults if you’re still hungering for more after these.
- Ugly lumps start sprouting from your back when you’re a teenager. You try to conceal them from your friends. Little do you know that you’re a half-dragon.
- You’ve always loved horses. One day your mind is swapped with Sam, your horse. Write a scene from your perspective as a horse and Sam’s perspective, as you.
- Choose an image from this set of sci-fi alien races to use as inspiration for your main character.
- Everyone thinks you’re a vampire. You’re not, you just like the taste of blood.
- You’re a science teacher who is accidentally included in a military expedition to Mars. When you arrive, it’s a shallow learning curve.
- Your character enters an extraterrestrial library. Write a weakness and motivation for them. Now create a second character with a weakness and motivation that is in conflict with this. Create a scene where they meet.
- You live in a community where everyone is made of smoke. What’s your typical day like?
- Zgroff and Zarggyll are both learning how to capture dragon souls. They hate each other but are strangely attracted to each other. Write a scene where they’re arguing, but this attraction shines through in the undertone of their words.
If these last couple of writing prompts light your fire, then you might enjoy these other romantic creative writing prompts.
Do you want to boldly go where no man has gone before?
- You enter an alien marketplace and spot the immortality cloak on sale at a cheap clothing stand. Unfortunately, another customer is just about to buy it.
- Planet Lestariax is young. It has no oil or gas supplies and little iron. The Zvuulotta race evolved there. You are a young Zvuulottian and are determined to invent space travel.
- On entering zero gravity for the first time, you discover that all your friends can stick to any surface. Only you can’t.
- The Nossral need diamonds and they’ve landed on Earth to get them.
- An oxygen leak has reduced the capacity of your spaceship. One of you must be ejected from the ship, otherwise, you will all die.
- Prisoners are given the choice to land on an inhospitable planet. If they survive a year, they’re awarded their freedom. You’ve just touched down.
- You want to head back to Earth. Your A.I. spaceship has other plans.
Other story ideas
Sci-fi allows you to explore the unexplored like no other genre. Here are some more ideas to help keep your creativity flowing.
- You are a deep-sea diver and find a tunnel going down and down under the bottom of the ocean.
- You travel between dimensions randomly with no control. You’ve managed to stay in the same dimension for six months and have fallen in love. Now, you’re trying to take your partner with you.
- You are a time traveler from the far future. Due to genetic mutation, you look like you’re in your teens but are actually 82. Your best friend is struggling at school and you decide to play a prank to help her out.
- You uncover a rusty spaceship half-buried on an alien planet.
- Whatever you write becomes true.
- You’re an exceptional thief due to your ability to walk through glass. You’re robbing an art gallery when they shut the shutters.
- Time starts going backward, except for you.
- In Complex 7, the laws of physics are designed to prevent crime. Anything you do to another person happens to you. You’ve just discovered a loophole.
If you’d like to share your own prompt ideas, or short stories inspired by one of the above creative writing prompts, feel free to comment below.