67 Fantasy Writing Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

Abi Wurdeman
April 20, 2023

It seems like fantasy writing ideas should come easily. I mean, this is fantasy. Anything could be anything. 

You could write about a nation of sentient toothbrushes. Your heroine could be a dragon witch who teaches preschool. Want to set your novel in a tiny groove on a pebble on the surface of the moon? 

You can do it. You can do all of it. Reality is not running this show, you are. Sweet freedom!

Or so you’d think.

There’s something about all that freedom that can really freeze the brain.

And there’s definitely something about the blank page that stops the flow of genius. 

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you get unstuck. Here are 67 fantasy writing ideas you can use to inspire your next great novel. 

Let’s jump in.

When and How to Use These Fantasy Writing Ideas

Use these ideas whenever you need them and however you wish.

If you know you want to write a fantasy novel but have no idea what you want that novel to be about, you can use this list. If you’ve already started planning your novel but you’re stuck on worldbuilding or character development, these ideas can help you get the wheels turning.

You can even come to the idea well if you’ve already finished a draft but just know something’s missing.

None of these fantasy writing ideas are meant to be rigid. If an idea speaks to you but doesn’t fit perfectly in your vision, tweak it! If tweaking it won’t work, play with it by writing a scene around that idea—a scene that has nothing to do with your novel. 

Sometimes exploring an intriguing thought helps us understand why it intrigues us. That understanding might spark a new idea that is right for your book.

Worst case scenario: it sparks an idea for the next book. In which case, write it down and then forget it until you finish what you started.

Okay, here we go. Sixty-seven fantasy writing ideas coming your way.

Fantasy Story Ideas

An open German fairytale book
  1. A chronic people-pleaser discovers a beautiful fantasy world they can only enter by following their own bliss.
  2. A sorcerer/sorceress cast a protective spell over a village centuries ago. Now, for reasons they are not able to divulge, they must release the spell and leave the village vulnerable to the dangers beyond their little utopia. Why? And what are the dangers?
  3. After accepting a great job opportunity in Germany and moving into a beautiful little cottage, your protagonist finds themselves living with a kobold.
  4. Design a utopia based on your values. Then create a protagonist who fights against it. Why are they right? What justification is there for destroying this society? Let your own internal debate inspire the protagonist’s internal conflict.
  5. Zeus hides in plain sight as a hedge fund manager on Wall Street.
  6. An elected leader claims authoritarian control by casting a spell that forces citizens to “make better choices.” Roads change direction, doors slam shut, apologies and requests spring involuntarily from people’s mouths. Your protagonist is determined to restore free will.
  7. A perfectionist can’t stop using magic to travel to the future and make sure they’re making the best possible choices today.
  8. A person who believes they have the perfect life discovers that they are actually a social media influencer’s online persona.
  9. A family enjoying the lazy river at their vacation resort soon finds that the river never loops back and the current becomes stronger when they try to swim against it. They’re trapped on the river, winding through bizarre places and running into unfamiliar dangers.
  10. The most powerful archangel has been tasked with guarding some witless, accident-prone nobody. It’s unclear why.
  11. The leader of a rebellion gets drunk on fame and ends up creating a cult.

For more story inspiration, check out these fantasy conflict ideas.

Fantasy Character Ideas

A fantasy character standing on a wet surface under a cloudy sky aims a bow and arrow.
  1. Farmer whose fingernails hold healing powers
  2. Pixie who lives for drama
  3. Former queen living in exile
  4. Imagine: (A)Your best friend as wanderer without a home. (B) Your parent as a poltergeist (C) A childhood nemesis as a benevolent healer (D) Your favorite teacher as a powerful wizard.
  5. The only being in the entire universe of your novel who has zero magical powers
  6. Talking chicken who dreams of becoming a dragon and lives by the philosophy “fake it til you make it.”
  7. Spiritual leader who never meant to be a spiritual leader
  8. Fairy in love with an ogre
  9. A passionate historian who doesn’t necessarily love all the horrors that accompany the collapse of civilization but does giddily geek out on looking back to see how all historical events inevitably led to this moment
  10. Child who shows up out of nowhere, doesn’t (won’t?) speak, and can make the earth rattle by whistling
  11. Fortune teller who is also a people-pleaser and regularly sugarcoats bad news
  12. Tortoise mayor in a non-tortoise town
  13. Your favorite fairy tale villain reimagined as a sympathetic protagonist.
  14. Your favorite fairy tale protagonist reimagined as a villain
  15. A fairy tale side character reimagined with a complex inner life and their own character arc.
  16. A lovestruck ghost

Want more character ideas? Check out these other Dabble articles:

A Giant Pile of Character Ideas to Jump-Start Your Brain

Character Development Questions That Aren’t About Eye Color

20 Original Character Questions (This Might Get Weird)

101 Character Goals That Don’t Involve Anyone’s Dead Wife

Character Flaws—The Traits You Totally Don’t See in Yourself

Fantasy World Ideas

An old wooden shack with a moss-green roof.

If you’re out looking for fantasy writing ideas, you’re probably looking for ideas to inspire the world of your story. I’ve separated these fantasy world ideas into physical and cultural categories.

If you’d like even more inspiration, this worldbuilding guide gives you some elements to consider and questions to spark more fantasy writing ideas as you go. 

Physical World

  1. There is a precious stone that has the power to cure emotional suffering. It can only be found in a river that runs through a small village. How does the presence of this resource define the society? What threats or opportunities does it create?
  2. In this fantasy world, anyone can earn the power to fly, instantly heal their own wounds, and charm animals. But they can only gain these powers by giving up the one natural talent that makes them unique.
  3. The physical world responds to the mood of its inhabitants. Contentment brings beauty, healthy crops, and perfect weather. Anger brings storms. Sadness causes drought. 
  4. Human beings (or whatever species you’re using in your story) were never meant to inhabit this world. The land, flora, fauna, and climate constantly try to drive them out.
  5. The land loves its inhabitants. Trees shift to protect them from danger. Blossoms fall like confetti when there’s something to celebrate. The fruit is always ripe.
  6. The universe is a giant tree. There are civilizations on leaves, branches, and roots. Nobody knows much about the root people, because the trunk is too far to travel. (Until now…)
  7. It’s the year 408 in the Philippines and shapeshifting is real.
  8. It’s 1920 in Scotland, and Nessie is real.
  9. An enchanted freight train hopped by American teenagers looking for work during the Great Depression.
  10. When someone is about to die, the air hums.
  11. The land is spongy and living creatures are made of granite.
  12. The floor is lava. 

Cultural World

  1. Two religions are constantly at odds with one another. Both religions began as a result of an ancient war. One was founded by the losers, the other by the winners.
  2. The colors green, purple, yellow, and orange have been outlawed. Why? And how does it influence daily life?
  3. Your hometown has become a dystopia. What would that look like and how did it happen?
  4. Your hometown has become a utopia. What would that look like and how did it happen? 
  5. In this society, schedules are sacred. “Good people” do things on a universal timeline, from eating lunch at exactly 12:00 p.m. to giving birth to their first child at exactly 26 years and twelve days old. 
  6. Borrow from family structures in the animal kingdom. For example:
  1. A mama rabbit stays away from her babies except to feed them out of fear that her strong scent will attract predators. 
  2. African wild dogs are hardcore about taking care of one another. They feed their young first and regurgitate their own food for elderly and injured adults. Also, they make group decisions by sneezing
  3. Dwarf mongoose families are led by a matriarch who is the first to eat and the only female permitted to mate. Her man is monogamous. Her death breaks the family up, but they still keep in touch. 
  1. Take inspiration from trees. They release chemicals to warn others about invasions, share resources through root fungi, and even pass on their nutrients when they know they’re dying. Design a species who communicates and shares through non-verbal systems.
  2. Six hundred years ago, thirty people secluded themselves in the mountain to escape a plague. How has that history influenced the way this isolated society functions today?
  3. A boarding school where all the students are animagi
  4. Babies are considered holy. There is a yearly festival celebrating infants and asking them to bless the community.
  5. Everybody here wears clothing made of giant flower petals.
  6. The people are governed by a sacred text they are forbidden from reading for themselves.
  7. A nomadic people journeys according to the guidance of the wind.
  8. Bugs rule over humans.

Fantasy Theme Ideas

  1. Power is addictive.
  2. Good ultimately prevails over evil.
  3. Freedom of thought is more important than perfection.
  4. Knowledge is power.
  5. Love conquers all (for your fantasy romance or your romantic fantasy).
  6. Blind commitment to tradition is dangerous.
  7. The things that set us apart are the things that make us powerful.
  8. A life governed by fear is a life half lived.
  9. Common people can do incredible things when they work together.
  10. We are responsible for creating the world we want.
  11. Love cannot survive where pride rules.
  12. Pride cannot survive where love rules.
  13. There is no joy in perfection.
  14. There is no joy in power.

To spark a few fantasy theme ideas of your own, explore the questions Doug presents in this article on common themes.

Other Places to Find Fantasy Writing Ideas

A stunning image of mountains in trees in Yosemite National Park, demonstrating how the real world can inspire fantasy writing ideas.

The animal kingdom. I’ve dropped this hint already, but I cannot stress the value of this resource enough. Google “unusual animals” or “otherworldly animals” or “fascinating animal behavior” and you’ll find hecka inspiration, from new species to social structures to communication habits.

Natural environments offer a gold mine, too. Here are some incredible landscapes that are sure to inspire a new fantasy world.

It’s also fun to play the Google game with “abandoned places.” What stories do these photos tell? 

You can even find inspiration just by looking at the world around you through a new lens. Try it literally. Take ultra close-up photos of your houseplant, your cat’s eye, or your spouse’s one pointy ear. Look at them in a week. What do you see? An alien landscape? A new species?

And don’t forget: mythology, theology, folklore, and fairytales are outstanding sources of fantasy writing ideas. Borrow their characters, themes, or locations. Or try a retelling. 

Turn Your Fantasy Writing Ideas Into an Actual Novel

Once those fantasy ideas start flowing, you’re going to want a system for capturing and organizing them.

This article on how to write fantasy gives excellent guidance for turning your wildest ideas into an engaging narrative.

You can also snag this free ebook, Let’s Write a Book. Trust me: this is not the kind of free ebook you’re thinking about. This thing has over 100 pages and covers everything you need to know to nail your first novel.

And Dabble itself is a great tool for organizing your fantasy writing ideas and drafting your novel. Story Notes double as a worldbuilding bible. The Plot Grid helps you see that epic storyline at a glance. All these things are right at your fingertips as you pound out that first draft.

A screenshot showing an example of a Dabble manuscript with the story notes menu on the left side of the page.

Check it out for free for fourteen days. You don’t even need a credit card to snag your free trial. Just click and begin.

Abi Wurdeman

Abi Wurdeman is the author of Cross-Section of a Human Heart: A Memoir of Early Adulthood, as well as the novella, Holiday Gifts for Insufferable People. She also writes for film and television with her brother and writing partner, Phil Wurdeman. On occasion, Abi pretends to be a poet. One of her poems is (legally) stamped into a sidewalk in Santa Clarita, California. When she’s not writing, Abi is most likely hiking, reading, or texting her mother pictures of her houseplants to ask why they look like that.