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Writing

15 Sci-Fi Writing Prompts to Fuel Your Creativity

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Oct 2, 2020 • 3 min read

If you’re interested in creative writing and want to write a short story or novel, coming up with a good story idea is the first step—and it can be one of the hardest parts. This is especially true of sci-fi writing because most sci-fi stories hinge on an interesting and technically complicated plot and setting.

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What Is Sci-Fi?

Sci-fi, short for science fiction, is a genre of speculative fiction that contains imagined elements that don’t exist in the real world. Science fiction spans a wide range of themes that often explore time travel, space travel, are set in the future, and deal with the consequences of technological and scientific advances.

15 Science Fiction Writing Prompts

Here is a list of writing prompts for sci-fi story ideas to help you get over your writers’ block. You can use these as anything from short writing exercises to book ideas. Choose a topic that interests you and kick your story writing into high gear!

  1. An earthquake in the central U.S. reveals the framework of an ancient civilization far beneath the surface. As archeologists dig, they realize they’re unearthing skyscrapers.
  2. Stars start disappearing from the sky, one by one. Then, one day, the sun disappears, leaving the whole earth in freezing darkness.
  3. After the earth is rendered inhabitable from global warming, the last survivors get into a voyager spacecraft, hoping to find another planet to call home. It’s been thirty years, the ship is still searching, and they’re almost out of food.
  4. Superheroes are becoming more and more common, and every city in the US is now rushing to have one of their own as their mascot. When one city fails to find a hero living in town, they hire the city-hall intern to pretend for a little while.
  5. Astronauts finally land on Mars—only to find that exact copies of themselves have already arrived.
  6. Space ships are now mass-produced, and everyone has access to space travel at light speed. As new planets are discovered, people begin to settle down in new solar systems—but battles for ownership of the best planets have begun.
  7. After World War III, the entire earth is united as one country. However, a secret society is bored with peace and starts planning ways to spread discontent.
  8. An android escapes from a factory and hopes to blend in to avoid getting caught. The only problem? It escaped right before it could finish its software download, so it only knows human history up to the 1920s.
  9. Cars now have artificial intelligence and will know where their passengers want to go without even being told. One day, every car in the world drives toward a specific point on Earth—and won’t let anyone out.
  10. Scientists have discovered a black hole much closer to Earth than they thought possible. Everyone was so worried about the planet getting sucked into it—nobody was ready for something to come out of it.
  11. An alien species comes to Earth, and, due to a clerical error, their ambassador shows up on the doorstep of a low-level government HR employee, who welcomes them in for snacks.
  12. The dead have risen from their graves like zombies, but they don’t want to eat people—they just want answers about why the afterlife sucked.
  13. The last person on earth walks across a desolate wasteland. One day, for the first time, a voice comes through her walkie talkie.
  14. A high schooler spends all of his time in a virtual reality video game. One day his character gets injured and he can feel the pain in the real world. When he takes off the headset, he has the exact same injury on his body.
  15. A large hole has opened up in the center of Alaska. People are saying they can hear whispers coming from down below. The last time a team of explorers went to investigate, they disappeared.
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