55 Story Ideas for SFF Writers

Regular readers will know that I’ve been posting story ideas on Twitter each day, using the hashtag #DailyStoryIdeas.

If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve gathered together 55 of the best of those ideas into one post. Feel free to use and adapt them.

If you find one that really inspires you, you can always say thank you by supporting me on Patreon.

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  1. Aliens come to Earth, but mistake the Internet for the planet’s dominant life form.
  1. 12 strangers wake up with a single letter tattooed on their bodies. They must seek each other out to read the message.
  1. When an outspoken critic is murdered, the list of suspects includes some of the world’s bestselling mystery writers.
  1. For years, the queen has been playing the piano in memory of her lost love. When she stops, the world will end.
  1. A psychic pawnbroker picks up “memories” from objects. A pawned gun leads him to the man who shot his wife.
  1. A detective investigates the person who murdered him in a past life.
  1. A murderer has hidden the name of his next victim in the first letter of a series of tweets. But which account has he used?
  1. A police SWAT team falls through a temporal rift into the power vacuum of post Roman Britain.
  1. A guy develops superheroic powers, but can only use them in the presence of his 5 yr old daughter.
  1. A paddle boat sinking in the Mississippi, but the card players won’t leave their table until they’ve played the final hand.
  1. A stranger appears at a Travel Lodge outside Milton Keynes. He is Odin, king of the Norse Gods. And he brings a message.
  1. A hooligan scientist invents a device that lets him cross between parallel worlds, stealing the best inventions from each.
  1. New letters start appearing in the alphabet, but no one knows where they came from. After a while, people start using them.
  1. Locals say a ghost train haunts the line. One day, it pulls up at the station and all the ghosts get off.
  1. A movie star becomes obsessed with a fan. Starts stalking them. No one will believe the fan. In desperation, they lash out.
  1. Creatures live beneath the soft mud of the estuary. They pull unwary fishermen to their deaths. The locals call them trolls.
  1. Zeus wearied of his duties and came to Earth. If you know where to look, you can find him running a junk shop in Brooklyn.
  1. A golden door appears on the arctic tundra. From within can be heard the distant tolling of a cathedral bell. Who will enter
  1. Well-meaning time travellers prevent the Titanic disaster. What are the implications to history?
  1. In the future, emotionless algorithms will decide who gets sent to the labour camps. But algorithms can be hacked.
  1. A party of werewolves searching for spiritual understanding in India run afoul of a pack of ravenous Bengal weretigers.
  1. There is a message hidden in the cosmic background radiation. It is the reboot code for the universe.
  1. What if all moths are bio-eningeered camera platforms sent back in time by future historians?
  1. Wolves and coyotes howl because they alone know the true nature of the world
  1. Every time a woman goes to sleep, she wakes up the next morning in a different parallel universe. Never the same one twice.
  1. A man trying to get home in the aftermath of an apocalypse steals a mobile library. Lends out books in return for food.
  1. After a storm at sea, a modern day cruise liner returns to port to find it has somehow travelled to the eighteenth century.
  1. An ageing writer and an upstart young critic meet on a hotel balcony overlooking the sea. One is pushed to their death.
  1. Overnight, everyone on Earth develops the ability read each others thoughts. Every lie is revealed, every relationship
  1. A child finds a sword made from scorpions and fire, and a shield fashioned from poetry and ice.
  1. Magic is dangerously real, but only toddlers can wield it. The ability fades at age five, as reason takes over the brain
  1. The birds believe their singing causes the sun to rise. Turns out they’re right.
  1. A woman lives in a shack on the beach, waiting for the tide to wash up usable fragments from the distant apocalypse
  1. The sun becomes sentient. Humanity tries to teach it how to communicate. Then other stars start to wake up.
  1. Inside an old castle that’s more ivy than stone lies a princess whose nightmares become flesh and prey on the townspeople
  1. An AI engraves its memories in seven gem stones. When the stones are scattered, it hires a faun to find them.
  1. Humanity finds itself as just another set of counters in an intricate war game played by pan-dimensional centaurs.
  1. Two friends joke that if neither is married by 40, they’ll marry each other. Many years later, they meet in a cafe.
  1. A comic book artist decides to become the superhero he has spent the last ten years drawing.
  1. A woman lives alone on a beach. At night, the sea whispers stories. It tells her of other survivors in other lands.
  1. The world looks up to find a message of dire portent written on the face of the full moon. In ancient Sanskrit.
  1. A hunting party turns lethal when the rich hunters find themselves attacked by a pack of disturbingly cunning hyenas.
  1. The crack of fireworks. Sparks leap from the bonfire. In the darkness, a secret is whispered.
  1. The eclipse has lasted a thousand years. Now it draws to an end. The night creatures must cede the land to the humans.
  1. Jumping through hyperspace is dangerous. One often emerges with a different personality. Sometimes a whole new identity.
  1. A man contracts temporal narcolepsy. Every time he falls asleep, he wakes up 1D6 years in the future.
  1. Escaped nanotech starts reshaping the Pacific garbage patch into something hideously alien. And alive.
  1. A house becomes infatuated with the family that lives in it. It protects them. It serves them. It won’t let them leave.
  1. Trapped on an island when civilisation falls, a lighthouse keeper struggles to survive. Then a boat washes up on the beach.
  1. A detective is visited by his time-travelling older self, who warns him to stop investigating his brother’s murder.
  1. A paleontologist finds a dinosaur fossil wearing what appears to be a leather belt and a knife carved from a t-rex tooth.
  1. A hive of bees becomes sentient and embarks on a campaign of revenge against those poisoning the land.
  1. Crooked cop blackmails hacker to find drug money. Drug dealer kills cop. Hacker kills drug dealer. Hacker takes money.
  1. When a market town expands, the gods of city and countryside go to war with one another over the disputed territory.
  1. A person gains the ability to change appearance at will, but forgets their true identity.
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Author: Gareth L Powell

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