Are you suffering from writer’s block? Reedsy, an author community you may remember from its Infographics, has the answer, with some great tips and over 200 writing prompts, conveniently organized by genre: mystery, comedy, drama, fantasy, and more. Here are my personal favorites from science fiction!
Science Fiction Writing Prompts
- A team of scientists has successfully teleported an apple. It reappears with a bite taken out of it.
- She was dying. She was your mother. And you remember the day your engineers first turned her on…
- You wish upon what looks like a star but is actually a satellite. Your wish has been recorded, cataloged, and an agent is now assigned the task of granting your wish.
- You are born with the ability to stop time. One day, you see something else moving when you have already stopped time.
- Time travel is real and time tourists show up in large numbers around major historical events. Today, thousands of time tourists are in ships above the earth, quietly waiting.
- Amazon has invented time travel and introduced pre-emptive shipping. Today, you receive something completely unexpected from your future self.
If you need some further inspiration, here are Reedsy’s four tips to overcome that dreaded block:
All stories, even ones about robots or plants, have some element of humanity at its core. There are therefore a countless number of stories to be found by observing human nature. 90% of the prompts included in Reedsy’s writing prompts newsletter are inspired by simply staring out a window and watching people go by.
2. Forget what you already know
Have you ever become trapped in a “but why?” loop with a child? It’s enough to make your head spin or an existential crisis occur. But if you can return to this sense of curiosity and wondering you had as a child, you can find a treasure trove of short story ideas to be found. Take in your surroundings and ask yourself why things are the way they are. What if they were different? What would that look like and how would it work?
3. Use your day job
If you feel like you have the most interesting job on the planet, well, perfect! It shouldn’t be hard to use it as plot-fodder for a great short story. On the other hand, if you find yourself yawning a lot at work, ask yourself: What could happen to make this work day interesting? Let’s say you work as a receptionist but your real passion lies in art. Write a story about a receptionist who sees a colleague hang a new piece of art in their cubicle — one the receptionist recognizes as being famous for going missing a century ago.
Imagine walking up to a piano and trying to make beautiful music without ever having heard it played before. You need to consume great short stories in order to know what you enjoy about them. Figure out what you like, and you’ll be on the path to great writing topics.