The best science fiction writing prompts
Life on Earth… a million years in the future. Technology that comes alive without permission. Humans on a distant planet, in an altogether different dimension. Aliens in space. These are just a few of the far-flung places that science fiction writing prompts can take you — if you're willing to ride on this spaceship of ideas, that is!
A sci-fi writing prompt can give you that seed of a story idea, so that you can use your imagination to turn it into a full-blown short story — or even a novel, if you're so inclined. So whether you're more interested in writing stories about a found family of scientists crossing the known universe together or simply an all-out alien war, this page of science fiction writing prompts is all for you.
If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a list of our top ten favorite sci-fi writing prompts:
- Write a science fiction story where all human behavior can be predicted — until your character does something the algorithm did not expect.
- Write a space adventure story featuring a visit to an alien marketplace.
- Write a story about someone who travels to the future and isn't happy about how they've been remembered.
- Write a story set in the dark recesses of space where the two main characters are often at odds with each other in humorous and comedic ways.
- Write about a character preparing to go into stasis for decades (or centuries).
- Write about a character who wakes up in someone else's clothes — or utterly weird apparel they don't recognize as their own.
- Write about a person experiencing the 'overview effect' (a feeling astronauts report having when they first view Earth from outer space).
- Write about an android trying to blend in with its human companions.
- Write from the POV of someone, or something, that experiences gravity differently.
- Your character has just realized the app they've been developing has become self-aware. How do they react?
If you're interested in learning how to write science fiction or fantasy, check out our free resources on the topic:
How to Write Mind-Blowing Fantasy Fiction (free course) — The key to a great fantasy story isn’t just adding more dragons. You need compelling characters, a gripping plot, and a believable magic system that readers will want to fall in love with. Sounds like a lot to keep track of? Don’t worry: this ten-day course will walk you through the whole process for free.
How to Write Science Fiction (blog post) — When you write science fiction, there are no limits… which is a curse and a blessing. On one hand, all worlds and civilizations (and the rules of time and space) are under your control. On the other hand — where do you even start writing with all of these possibilities under your fingertips? Our blog post, which has the advice of some of the most experienced science fiction editors in publishing, will show you.
Ready to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.