Are you looking for dark fantasy story ideas and prompts or simply some dark writing prompts for your next writing project?
Read on for prompts like an elderly woman befriending the seven demons of grief following her husband’s death, to a painter imprisoning his victims inside of his paintings!
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Dark Fantasy Story Ideas & Writing Prompts
Let’s dive into some deep dark fantasy story ideas and writing prompts that will lay the setting for a captivating tapestry that keeps readers engrossed till the very end.
Stories related to the depth of human nature and the shadows of the mind are always fascinating. Here are some ideas:
- The Forbidden Genesis
Adam and Even live blissfully in the Garden of Eden until they discovered that their existence was a carefully orchestrated experiment by ancient beings known as the “Architects”, who plants seeds of strife and discord among them in order to observe how humanity would evolve in a world they shape.
- Fragments of Heaven
Adam and Eve awaken in a seemingly heavenly landscape with fragmented memories of their past. As they discovered haunting remnants of civilizations that are kept hidden from them, they realized that they’re not the first Adam and Eve.
- Fountain of Youth
Within the shadows of Hollywood’s glitz and glamour, a revered actress guards a sinister secret, casting a curse upon every unsuspecting co-star to siphon their youth and vitality, sacrificing their very essence to maintain her own eternal beauty.
- Nature vs Nurture
A musical prodigy claims that they could wield shadows and that the shadows help them in their artistic endeavor. The truth is that the shadows are the byproduct of substance abuse, with their mother being the one supplying them with the substance since they were a kid to “inspire” their creativity.
- The 27 Club
A clairvoyant gaslights and manipulates a budding artist who has an unnatural fear of the 27 Club, an urban legend that claims there’s a spike of artists and celebrities who die at the age of 27.
From my post Bone-Chilling Urban Legend Story Ideas (2023)
- Love Beyond the Grave
After losing her lover in a freak accident, a grieving woman isolates herself. However, when she starts seeing him around the house again with another woman, she gradually realizes that she was actually the one who died in the tragic event. Still in love with him, she slowly begins antagonizing the other woman to make her leave him.
(Originally appear in my post Paranormal Romance Story Ideas and Writing Prompts.)
Dark creatures are almost essential to any dark fantasy story! Here are some inspiration and ideas for story ideas with dark creatures at the center.
- The Seven Demons
An elderly woman whose husband just died is so lonely that she befriends not one, not two, but seven demons who regularly come to see her, who are actually the seven stages of grief.
- Midnight Tide
Bound by a malevolent curse, the merpeople who lives on a secluded, hidden lake can only come to life for a single night every century. Once they do, they cavort, feast and rampage through the lake, which may spell demise for the two couples who happen to camp nearby.
- Deceived by Appearance
It’s zombie apocalypse but once someone is infected by the zombie virus, their appearance do not deteriorate. So, in a glance, there’s almost no way to tell whether someone is a zombie or a healthy person… until it’s too late.
From my post Unique Zombie Story Ideas (2023)
- The Stray
An elderly man who lives alone has permanently loses his sight. When a portal opens in his living room straight into the gates of the Underworld, he mistakes Cerberus as a stray dog and begins befriending it.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
In an alternate world, vampires are hunted because injecting their blood into a human’s system will grant the human immortality. Vampire blood becomes a high-ticket commodity as humans play God and toy with sentient creatures for their own gain.
Originally appeared in my post Vampire Romance Story Ideas (2023)
- The Promise
A malevolent genie who are recently being re-awakened in the 20th century, tries to collect on a century-old promise. The original promise maker has been long dead. So, the monster is coming for their nearest descendant.
Originally appeared in my post The Best Monster Story Ideas (2023)
- The Demon Jury
A person dies and finds themselves on trial in hell, with a jury of demons deciding their fate. The person must argue their case and prove they don’t belong in hell, but the demon won’t let them go that easily before toying with them.
Originally appeared in my post The Most Disturbing Demon Story Ideas (2023)
Cursed artifacts have always held a captivating allure in the dark fantasy genre. Here are some inspiration:
- The Family Heirloom
A bullied teen discovers their family’s secret: a book of shamanism which grants its wielder a control over weather. Using the book, the bullied teen plots to exact revenge on their bullies.
- Mirror on the Wall
A lonely, young janitor in a traveling circus befriends the new, famous resident magician. When the janitor catches the magician trapping various victims inside of their magical mirror, they must do what their conscience tells them to do.
- Book of the Future
A writer becomes obsessed with a mysterious manuscript that seems to predict future events, leading them down a dangerous path of fate and self-discovery.
- The Painting
A troubled artist becomes obsessed with a gift from an anonymous fan, which is a mysterious painting that seems to come to life. Soon, the artist’s life becomes a jumble of blurred lines between reality and nightmare.
After stumbling onto an artifact on their latest hike and desecrate it, a group of college students are cursed with the inability to sleep. As fatigue and delirium slowly gnaw at their sanity, they begin turning against each other.
- Cursed Brush
A painter imprisons his victims inside of his paintings using a magical brush before taking over their lives. The newest victim finds a way to travel to other paintings and rallying the other victims to fight back.
- The Haunted House
A cursed witch, bound to a haunted house, must unravel the mysteries of her own past and confront the malevolent spirits that dwell within, all while protecting an unsuspecting family who moves in.
Originally posted in Spellbinding Witch Story Ideas (2023)
Here are some picture-based dark fantasy story prompts, because, a picture speaks a thousand words! Below are some image prompts as well as some prompt ideas to accompany each.
(Please click on the image for more information.)
1. Write about a raven that can change into a human form during full moon nights.
2. Or what if in one full moon night, all the domestic dogs in a particular city begin howling along with the pack of wolves that live in a forest on the outskirt of town. What is happening?
(Please click on the image for more information.)
1. Write about an unbeatable, immortal warrior that seeks out Death, because they’re tired of living and they want Death to kill them.
2. Or what about this: When his time is up, a man tries to make a deal with Death and agrees to bring him a soul every year in exchange for his own life.
About Dark Fantasy
Dark fantasy takes readers on a journey into the shadows of imagination, where moral ambiguity, psychological depth, and intricate world-building create a captivating exploration of the human psyche and the forces that shape our darkest desires and fears.
It intertwines elements of darkness, mystery, and magic, immersing readers in a realm where the line between light and shadow is blurred, and where heroes and villains alike grapple with the complexities of their own existence.
Terry Pratchett has something to say about this genre:
People don’t like to say Horror so they say Dark Fantasy because that’s Horror wearing a collar and a tie.
However, the fact is that there are some major differences between horror and dark fantasy. Horror may be set in both the real and fantasy worlds, with emphasis on blood, gore, thrills, and shivers.
On the other hand, deep dark fantasy employs the more supernatural aspects of the narrative as a vehicle for character development and world building, rather than merely as a horrific background designed to elicit screams. The journey through terrifying new realms is the focus in dark fantasy, followed by the horrors.
The Allure of Dark Fantasy
The allure of deep dark fantasy lies in escapism. This kind of story helps the readers confront their fears, or inject a dose of adrenaline rush into their system. The darker, the better.
Due to the nature of the theme, it’s always prudent to include a trigger warning in your book, so your reader knows what they’re walking into.
Elements of Dark Fantasy Story
Dark fantasy stories, which are sometimes mistaken with horror stories, focus more on the aesthetical components of the narrative, whereas horror stories focus on the visceral aspects. Here are some elements frequently found in dark fantasy stories:
– Supernatural creatures, so much so that the dark fantasy genre is oftentimes synonymous with the supernatural horror genre.
– Focusing more on the aesthetic than the visceral.
– Often deal with dark themes such as abuse, manipulation, and the likes.
– Stories told from the monster’s or the supernatural being’s point of view. Example including Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles.
– Features anti-hero or morally-ambiguous protagonists.
Other posts that you might find interesting:
- Surreal Writing Prompts
- 11 Edgy Futuristic Story Ideas
- Witch Story Ideas
- 9 Inspiring Hero Story Ideas