Using Fantasy Writing Prompts and Other Sources To Overcome Writer’s Block
We all run into dead-ends when it comes to writing every once in awhile. In the past I have had an entire story plotted out, ready for me to paint the scenes with my words, but when I sat down in the morning nothing came to me. That is right. Ziltch. Nada. The complete void of nothing. No words were coming to me, and without the right words, write I could not. Rather than give up (I can be a bit stubborn when I get it in my head to make progress in my work) I decided to free-write some scenarios to get my creative juices flowing. Lo and behold, this kicked off my writing for the day and after thirty minutes I was able to dive back into my work-in-progress.
It is not always easy to find prompts we like, let alone ones that cause our creative juices to boil. With that in mind, here are a few sources and strategies to jumpstart your writing, as well as a few unorthodox sources of inspiration outside of standard approaches.
Those That Are Free
- Pinterest Writing Prompts: Though there are only collections of pins that have writing prompts to use for fantasy stories, this linked collection of 233 pins has been one have enjoyed.
- Tumblr Writing Prompts: A link to the Tumblr search for fantasy writing prompts, including a massive number of them to spark your creativity. (Note: To get access to all of them, it may require you to create an account.)
- Self Publishing Hub: Another website with a section geared towards providing a number of writing prompts for different sub-genres of fantasy, from epic fantasy to urban fantasy.
Those That Have Cost
- The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide: Prompts and Activities to Create the Most Interesting Story for Your Character: Though meant for playing RPGs, this book with fill-in-the blank narratives, prompts and activities provides a way for you to flesh out your characters and their backgrounds before you begin the writing process.
- 5,000 Writing Prompts: A Master List of Plot Ideas, Creative Exercises, and More: Aimed at any writer regardless of genre, this book includes 150 plots ideas meant specifically for fantasy writers, hundreds of master plots from classic works and mythology, as well as hundreds more prompts on dialogue, characters and settings. A great resource to begin a new project with.
- On Writing and Worldbuilding (Volume 1): A book divided into two parts aimed at exposing you to the different ways of writing fantasy in novel form, as well as whole chapters on how to go about worldbuilding on an epic scale for your works universe. Includes a section at the end where the author discusses how he plans his novels.
- The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction: Includes information on how to devise clever plots, build great characters, and populate your worlds with technology and magic that brings your work to life. Includes input by R.A. Salvatore, the author of the many wonder novels about the drow, Drizzt Do’Urden.
- Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction: How to Create Out-Of-This-World Novels and Short Stories: Building on an earlier book by the great Orson Scott Card, this book elaborates on such things as worldbuilding, utilizing themes in your work, how to approach specific sub-genres, as well as constructing societies to populate your worlds. I highly recommend this if you are just getting started thinking about writing a fantasy novel.
Those That Are Unorthodox
- Wikipedia Random Article: Less a source of prompts and more a source of inspiration. Using the random article button, I will click away until I stumble upon an article that catches my interest. From there, sometimes I will integrate it into a short story, into the plot of a greater work, or even just use it to spark ideas in my mind for other things I am working on.
- Read New Books or Ebooks: Sometimes the best way to overcome issues in your writing is to take a break, set your work aside, disregard writing prompts, and dive into some reading by an author you may or may not have read before. The benefit to this approach is it exposes you to different ways of writing, and of thinking, about fantasy stories. Reading creative work, even if it is not on topics you already right about or presenting plots or characters the way you would, still contributes to our knowledge as writers of fantasy. It may surprise you just how much it improves your work.
(Note: If you use the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, you can gain access to thousands of fantasy novels across the different sub-genres for a far cheaper price than buying them outright.)
- Go to the nearest library: If you don’t have to resources to buy books outright or to subscribe to a service like Kindle Unlimited, the library might be the perfect place for you. Apart from fantasy novels you can check out, the shelves of books provide an opportunity to peruse other works and references that you might not otherwise come across. Who is to say a book on antiques might prove useful? Maybe spark a new work on a magic wielding archeologist who fights to preserve history…lots of things belong in a museum, right?
Do you enjoy reading fantasy as much as writing it? Check out another one of my articles about a number of sub-genres of fantasy with recommendations of books to get you started in expanding your engagement with this amazing genre!
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This article contains some affiliate links to books that I recommend as sources for fantasy writing prompts. It is my hope that, even in reading one, you will be exposed to another source of inspiration in writing in this amazing genre. If you choose to purchase these books via my affiliate links, you will help support my writing and research at no additional cost to you.