20 Writing Prompts for Science Fiction Writers


I’m sure you have your own lists, but this is my tried and true list to get me started on any writing project.  Perhaps you can use these or tweak these to suit your own interests, and perhaps you can use them to start yet another novel you won’t finish.

My advice: Finish it before beginning another one or just write a short story off of one of these, then get back to the novel you are working on.

Here is the list:

  1. A robot on an assembly line develops A.I.
  2. A robot is in conflict with Asimov’s three laws of robotics due to a given situation.
  3. First contact with a race that seems evil but is really benevolent.
  4. Something in the water supply evolves.
  5. Huck Finn appears in Times Square, was a real person kept secret by Twain, and now has to comment on modern society.
  6. In a remote location, a small town, etc., someone inadvertently discovers the equation of the theory of everything and chaos ensues.
  7. A teacher or student suddenly develops uncontrollable telepathy.
  8. Someone’s cell phone goes off all the time with an unknown number, but that caller who is blocked over and over again is someone calling the person from a pay phone in 1956.
  9. A trap door to hell is in the DMV.
  10. A mysterious box is found on a person’s doorstep with a message attached that simply says “do not open”.
  11. While sitting in a classroom, his/her students quietly working, a teacher begins to notice flashes of a creature skittering across the ceiling as it appears and disappears from our dimension.
  12. A future society that punishes all criminals by making them wear some form of public shaming for the rest of their lives.
  13. A future society where sports are all that is important and education is something of the past.
  14. Early experimentation with anti-gravity generators causes the geek who invents it to float uncontrollably skyward.
  15. Early experimentation with anti-gravity generators causes the geek who invents it to progressively become heavier and heavier.
  16. In the future people live in domed cities because their government tells them that the outside is uninhabitable, while all along the earth has reclaimed the atmosphere and cleaned it up to near-Eden quality.
  17. Someone is planning a birthday for a 200 year old vampire.
  18. Someone’s mother is coming over for a visit after being estranged from them for several years, the reason being that mother has actually been replaced by a trans-dimensional horror.
  19. The first faster-than-light engine is invented and during the test flight the corridor through the wormhole is populated with horrifying creatures.
  20. The Bern hadron collider opens up an unknown doorway to another earth but the doorway is not discovered for several weeks, long after the damage has been done by its fascist residents.
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