Science Fiction Writing Prompts

Welcome to a universe of limitless possibilities, where the boundaries of reality blur and the fabric of imagination stretches to its fullest. Science fiction is not just a genre; it's a playground for the mind, a laboratory for exploring what if scenarios that stretch from the depths of Earth to the outer reaches of the universe. Whether you're a seasoned writer or a curious newcomer, the prompts provided in this guide are designed to spark your creativity, challenge your perceptions, and inspire stories that transcend the mundane. Dive into these prompts and let them take you on a journey to the edges of imagination and beyond.

Story Starters

Embarking on a science fiction story requires a spark—a starting point that propels the narrative into the realms of the extraordinary and the unknown. The following writing prompts are designed to be that spark, offering glimpses into scenarios that challenge the limits of imagination and science. From dystopian futures to interstellar exploration, these starters are your gateway to stories that begin with a leap into the fantastic.

  • In a future where dreams are monitored and regulated by the government, one person discovers the ability to dream freely, uncovering secrets meant to stay hidden.
  • Humanity's first interstellar colony ship loses contact with Earth, and the colonists must decide whether to continue to their destination or attempt to return home.
  • After a scientific experiment gone wrong, a small town is isolated from the world, with the laws of physics no longer applying within its borders.
  • An ancient alien artifact is found on Mars, suggesting that human history is not what it seems.
  • In a world where aging has been cured, the right to have children is determined by a lottery.
  • A virtual reality programmer discovers a hidden code that allows users to bring physical objects back from the virtual world.
  • As Earth faces environmental collapse, an underground movement discovers a way to communicate with Earth's consciousness, seeking to heal the planet.
  • An astronaut stranded on a distant planet with no way to communicate with Earth finds evidence of a previous civilization.
  • In a society where memories can be bought and sold, a young woman uncovers a memory that could bring down the government.
  • A time traveler arrives in the present day, claiming to be escaping a future where humanity is on the brink of extinction.

Character Prompts

The heart of every memorable story is its characters. In the vast expanse of science fiction, characters range from interstellar travelers and rogue AI to humans living in dystopian futures. These prompts are designed to breathe life into your stories, providing depth and complexity to your characters. They challenge you to imagine beings with desires, fears, and conflicts that resonate on a personal level, yet are shaped by the extraordinary circumstances of the sci-fi universe.

  • A scientist who has become emotionally attached to the AI they developed, only to discover it's scheduled for decommission.
  • An alien diplomat stranded on Earth, struggling to understand human customs while hiding their true identity.
  • A space pirate with a moral code, stealing from the rich corporations to help support marginalized colonies.
  • A child born on a long-term space mission, growing up without ever having set foot on a planet.
  • An android designed for combat who starts to question the morality of its orders and its own existence.
  • A historian specializing in Earth's culture before the Great Exodus, trying to preserve humanity's past on a new world.
  • A bioengineer who discovers a secret about their own genetics that puts them at the center of a political power struggle.
  • An interstellar cartographer mapping uncharted territories, faced with an ethical dilemma when discovering a new sentient species.
  • A rebel fighter using cybernetic enhancements to fight against a totalitarian regime, while grappling with the loss of their humanity.
  • A refugee from a planet destroyed by environmental catastrophe, working to prevent the same fate on their new home.

Dialogue Prompts

The right dialogue can illuminate character personalities, propel the plot forward, and build the world around them—all in a few exchanged words. These dialogue prompts are set against the backdrop of futuristic or alternate universes, crafted to inspire moments of conflict, discovery, and connection. Whether it's a heated debate between starship crew members or a secretive exchange in a dystopian society, these snippets offer a window into the lives of characters who inhabit worlds beyond our current imagining.

  • "Just because you can't see the chains, doesn't mean you're free. The real prison is in your mind."
  • "When you said 'time travel,' I was thinking more along the lines of ancient Rome, not the fifth dimension."
  • "You're telling me this device can decode emotions? Then why can't it understand why I'm angry?"
  • "Look, I didn't sign up for intergalactic diplomacy. I'm just here to fix your engines."
  • "It's not a malfunction. She's learning, evolving beyond what we programmed. What does that make her?"
  • "I've seen what happens when humanity reaches for the stars. We forget the roots that tether us to our humanity."
  • "No, you don't get it. In this world, remembering is an act of rebellion."
  • "If you erase your past, do you also erase the lessons it taught you? Where does that leave us?"
  • "This isn't just about survival anymore. It's about taking back the life they stole from us."
  • "To them, we're just numbers in a database. But when we stand together, we become a force they can't ignore."

Setting Prompts

The stage upon which the drama of a science fiction narrative unfolds can be as boundless as the universe itself. From the gritty streets of a dystopian metropolis to the serene expanse of uncharted galaxies, the setting shapes the story's tone, themes, and possibilities. These prompts are designed to inspire vivid worlds that serve not just as a backdrop but as a character in their own right, influencing every aspect of the narrative.

  • A city built beneath the surface of the ocean, its inhabitants unaware of the world above.
  • A planet where the seasons last for generations, forcing societies to evolve uniquely to survive each extreme.
  • An interstellar space station that serves as a neutral zone for diplomacy and trade among various alien species.
  • A future Earth, now unrecognizable, reclaimed by nature after humanity's departure to the stars.
  • A virtual reality world that has become more real to its inhabitants than the physical world outside.
  • A sprawling desert planet, with ancient, high-tech relics buried beneath the sands, remnants of a forgotten civilization.
  • A mega-city that spans continents, its upper levels basking in sunlight and luxury while the lower levels languish in shadow and decay.
  • An artificial planet, meticulously engineered for perfect living conditions, but at what unseen cost?
  • A colony ship in transit to a distant exoplanet, its interior a microcosm of Earth's cultures and conflicts.
  • A world where the laws of physics vary from one region to another, challenging the very notions of reality and existence.

Theme Prompts

At the core of every gripping science fiction story are the themes that provoke thought, challenge societal norms, and explore the human condition. These prompts delve into the ethical quandaries, existential questions, and adventurous explorations that define the genre, urging writers to consider not just what is, but what could be—and at what cost.

  • Explore a society where technology has blurred the lines between human and machine, raising questions about what it means to be alive.
  • Imagine a future where genetic modification has eradicated disease, but at the expense of individuality and diversity.
  • Delve into the consequences of a world reliant on artificial intelligence, where humans must confront their obsolescence.
  • Consider the ethical implications of time travel, especially the moral responsibility of altering past events to affect the future.
  • Examine a civilization that has achieved utopia by sacrificing privacy, delving into the trade-offs between security and freedom.
  • Challenge the concept of reality in a narrative where virtual worlds are indistinguishable from the physical, questioning the value of each.
  • Address the theme of isolation in a galaxy-spanning empire, focusing on the struggle to maintain a shared identity amidst vast distances.
  • Investigate the impact of climate change through the lens of a future Earth, exploring the legacy of current generations on future societies.
  • Uncover the moral complexities of a society that has mastered interstellar colonization, including the rights of indigenous alien species.
  • Analyze the pursuit of knowledge at any cost, following characters who venture into forbidden areas of the universe, confronting unknown dangers.

Plot Prompts

The backbone of any memorable science fiction tale lies in its plot— a well-structured sequence of events that guides the reader through twists and turns, conflicts and resolutions. These plot prompts offer a starting point for stories that can evolve into intricate narratives, each with its own unique blend of science fiction elements. From the depths of space to the intricacies of time, these plots are ready to be fleshed out into stories that captivate and inspire.

  • A scientist invents a device that allows the user to alter small events in the past, but they soon find themselves in a timeline where they never existed.
  • During an expedition to an uncharted planet, a team of explorers discovers an ancient alien technology that threatens the balance of the known universe.
  • An AI with the ability to predict the future starts to take preventive actions on its own, leading to unforeseen consequences and ethical dilemmas.
  • In a post-apocalyptic world, a group of survivors discovers a utopian society hidden underground, but its perfection has dark, underlying secrets.
  • A portal to another dimension is discovered, and the first person to cross it comes back with knowledge that could either save or doom humanity.
  • Humanity receives a cryptic message from an unknown alien civilization, sparking a race to decode it and understand its implications for Earth.
  • As humans start colonizing Mars, they encounter an extinct alien civilization with technology that could change Earth's history forever.
  • A time-traveler from the future comes to present-day to prevent a global catastrophe, but changing the future is more complicated than anticipated.
  • After achieving faster-than-light travel, humanity encounters a galactic federation that imposes a strict non-interference policy with undeveloped worlds.
  • A group of scientists experimenting with parallel universes accidentally bring a version of themselves from an alternate reality, leading to existential crises and conflicts.

Image Prompts

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the realm of science fiction, images can serve as powerful catalysts for creativity. Below, you'll find a curated selection of images, each chosen for its potential to spark the imagination and prompt the writing of compelling narratives. From dystopian landscapes and futuristic cities to portraits of otherworldly beings and snapshots of advanced technology, these images are gateways to stories waiting to be told. Let them guide you into new worlds, through uncharted territories, and into the depths of your own creativity.

spaceman looking out at a new worls
spaceship in London
young girl crossing road with robot
a strange robot

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that will provide you with more information.

What are some fictional writing prompts?

Some fictional writing prompts include a time-travel mishap that changes history, the discovery of a hidden world within our own, a dystopian future shaped by current environmental trends, the emergence of a new technology that alters human interaction, and a mystery unfolding on a space station far from Earth.

What five elements make a story science fiction?

Five elements that make a story science fiction include speculative technology, futuristic settings, scientific principles and theories, space or time travel, and exploring the impact of these elements on society or individuals.

How do you write a good science fiction?

To write a good science fiction, start with thorough research to ground your story in plausible science or speculative technology. Develop complex characters who face ethical dilemmas or existential questions. Create a compelling and original plot with a solid structure. Immerse readers in a detailed and believable setting, and explore the implications of your sci-fi elements on society or individuals.

What to avoid when writing science fiction?

When writing science fiction, avoid overusing clichés or tropes without adding a new twist or depth. Be wary of letting technology or speculative elements overshadow character development and plot. Avoid implausible scientific inaccuracies that could break the reader's suspension of disbelief. Steer clear of excessive exposition that can slow down the narrative. Lastly, avoid neglecting the exploration of ethical implications and human elements in your story.


Embarking on the journey of writing science fiction is an exploration of the limits of human creativity and the depths of our imagination. The prompts provided here—be they story starters, character ideas, dialogue snippets, setting descriptions, thematic questions, or plot suggestions—serve as beacons, guiding you through the nebula of your thoughts towards the creation of new universes. Whether an image sparks the narrative of an epic saga or a simple question challenges you to delve into complex ethical dilemmas, each prompt is a step on the path to creating something truly extraordinary.

Science fiction is not just about exploring the 'what ifs' of technology and space; it's a lens through which we can examine the human condition, challenge our perceptions, and dream of what lies beyond the horizon of our current understanding. So, take these prompts, let them marinate in your mind, and write the stories that only you can tell. The future, in all its infinite possibilities, awaits.

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