40 Top Fiction Writing Prompts to Get Those Keys Clacking (Historical, Romance, Adventure & More!)

self-publishing Jan 01, 2021

Looking for some fiction writing prompts to get those keys clacking and fingers flying? If so, you’re in the right place! Inspiration isn’t always flowing freely, so when you need a jumping off point, fiction writing prompts are the best place to start. We’ve listed prompts for a wide range of genres below, but feel free to pick one listed under a different genre and twist it for your own tastes. 

Take the prompts below and ask yourself: why? Who? When? What happens next? 

Adventure Writing Prompts 

  • A sea captain’s crew is mutinying. 
  • Shipwrecked on an island, your character must… 
  • With their bag on their back, and twenty dollars in your pocket, your character sets out from Charleston to reach Los Angeles. 
  • When your character breaks free from jail, they set out to take revenge on those that wronged them. 
  • Tales of an ancient city deep in the jungle have echoed for hundreds of years. Now, your character is about to find out if the rumors are true… 

Children’s Fiction Writing Prompts 

  • A child sees a cloaked figure at the edge of the woods on their way to school.  
  • Staying at their relative’s home, your protagonist ventures up into the attic and finds… 
  • Rumors of the vampire that lives in the old cabin in the woods at the back of the development are just that rumors… right? 
  • When your protagonist’s mom goes missing, they are determined to find them, even if none of the adults believe them about what they saw. 
  • When your protagonist wakes up in the middle of the night to a ghost sitting at the end of the bed, they sigh. This again?  

Fantasy Writing Prompts 

  • Your character finds the last dragon. 
  • Moving to Pleasantville was a safe bet. No more weird letters. No more mysterious figures at the end of the street. Only, things here are weirder than ever. 
  • The Dwarves have long been known to be extinct. They sequestered themselves deep in the mountain, and the doors never moved. Your protagonist must go in to find out what happened to them. 
  • Tarot readers are liars. Charlatans. Only, everything the one on the corner of North and Bridgeton has come true… 
  • Money is no longer currency, life force is. 

Historical Fiction Writing Prompts 

  • Life at the Lighthouse is a lonely one, at least until… 
  • Your character stands and watches as the confederate soldiers pass through their little town. 
  • Your character leaves Hiroshima the day before the bombs fall. 
  • When the Duke comes to visit the home, everything changes. 
  • For some, prohibition was dull. For your character, however… 

Horror Writing Prompts 

  • The submarine loses power. 
  • They knew the risks when they decided to climb Everest. Go up, and you may not come down. Only it’s not just the bitter cold they need to worry about… 
  • When your protagonist buys the local daycare that’s sat empty for 5 years, they don’t expect the renovation to be a problem. A little mold here, new drywall needed there – they certainly don’t expect… 
  • She was there one moment, then gone the next. He only looked away for a moment. Worse, he can still hear her, even if no one else can.
  • The trail cam they set up near their camp catches raccoons, squirrels, deer, rabbits, and something much, much more sinister…   

Romance Writing Prompts 

  • Your protagonist would rather die than show up to their Ex’s wedding without a date, so they enlist their boss to play the part of their partner. 
  • Falling in love with the girl across the hall is a bad idea. Falling in love with your roommate is even worse. 
  • Your protagonist has the hottest fling of their life. Imagine their surprise when their fling turns up in their college class the next day, and they’re their student. 
  • The honor student shouldn’t fall for the tattooed renegade… but that doesn’t mean they won’t
  • When your protagonist’s high school sweetheart moves back into town, they’re determined to find out what caused them to fall apart all those years ago. 

Science Fiction Writing Prompts 

  • The space ship runs out of fuel. 
  • A metal implant is extracted from the back of your protagonist’s hand. 
  • When your protagonist is caught up in a bad car accident, they’re surprised to find that their gash exposes the wires and metal inside their leg… 
  • When the dust settled after WWIII, a new world appeared… 
  • He knew the bachelor party had gone really wrong. The last thing he remembered was strolling up the Vegas Strip, but now, he was most definitely in a mall on Venus, with no money to get home. 

Thriller Writing Prompts 

  • A character is packing and intends to disappear. 
  • They can only remember their future, not their past. 
  • They saw the murder but no one has gone missing. 
  • Now, they must choose between their son and their daughter. 
  • The mafia gave you six hours. It’s been eight. Run. 

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