Deep Dark Fantasy Story Ideas & Prompts (Updated in 2023)

Deep Dark Fantasy Story Ideas

Are you looking for deep 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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The Definition of Dark Fantasy

Dark fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that focuses more on its disturbing and frightening aspects and themes. While the tone of fantasy is whimsical and carefree, dark fantasy tends to incite a sense of horror and dread more than anything else.

Consider this tongue-in-cheek comment:

People don’t like to say Horror so they say Dark Fantasy because that’s Horror wearing a collar and a tie.

– Terry Pratchett

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, 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 a Dark Fantasy Story

The allure of a dark fantasy story 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.

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Elements of a 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 and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.
– Features anti-hero or morally-ambiguous protagonists.

So, without further ado, here are some deep, dark fantasy story ideas that will keep your readers on the edge of their seats.

Please note: the genders in these plots are just placeholders.

Dark Fantasy Writing Prompts: Corruption

1. Dissatisfied of the sugary heavenly life, Adam and Eve join forces with the serpent to escape the lull of Eden.


2. A senior Hollywood starlet’s youthful beauty secret lies in the curse she puts on every one of her co-stars. When she starts to encounter all kinds of incidents on the set of her latest movie, it’s clear that she has found her match.


3. 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.


Dark Fantasy Writing Prompts: Dark Creatures

1. 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.


2. The merpeople who lives on a secluded, hidden lake only come to life for one night every century and rampage through the lake once they come alive, which may spell demise for the two couples who happen to camp nearby.


3. A witch (or a human) accidentally summons and bonds a demon to herself. As the latter begrudgingly enters an indentured servitude to the former, they secretly plan her demise with every chance they get.


4. An elderly man who lives alone has permanently loses his sight that 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.


5. Vampires who only feed on newborns.


Dark Fantasy Writing Prompts: Cursed Artifacts

1. A lonely, young janitor in a traveling circus befriends the new, famous resident magician. The former must make a stand when they catches the later trapping various victims inside of their magical mirror.


2. 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.


3. A painter imprisons his victims inside of his paintings using a magical brush before taking over their lives. The newest victim finds a loophole by finding a way to travel to other paintings and rallying the other victims to fight back.


Picture Prompts

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.)

Some ideas:

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.)

Some ideas:

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.



There you are, 14 deep dark fantasy story ideas or dark fantasy book ideas that hopefully will get your inspiration going!

Other posts that you might find interesting:

Or browse our Story Ideas & Writing Prompts category for more ideas! Have any question or feedback? Feel free to contact me here. Until next time!

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