Looking for unique urban fantasy story ideas and writing prompts to spark the imagination? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for ideas like nymphs and fairies who migrate to public parks due to deforestation, or dragons who nest inside of bank vaults!
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Urban Fantasy Story Ideas & Writing Prompts
In this world of urban fantasy, we explore the hidden corners of bustling cities where magic, mystery, and the supernatural seamlessly intertwine with the pulse of urban life. Here are some enticing writing prompts and story ideas to stoke the imagination!
Please note that the genders in these starters are just placeholders and do not mean to enforce any hurtful stereotypes nor offend anyone.
Let’s explore a realm where love transcends the ordinary, and the urban landscape serves as the canvas for extraordinary tales of passion, danger, and the fantastical. Here are some romance-themed urban fantasy ideas!
1. Lost Pet Connection
Two neighbors come together over a lost pet. But when one of them discovers that the other is a witch specializing in love potions, they begin to wonder whether the connection between them is genuine.
FROM: Romance Story Ideas with a Twist
2. The Magical Spark
A struggling writer who’s skeptical about love encounters a captivating witch with the ability to bring stories to life.
3. The Café at the Crossroads
A mystical café serves as a meeting place for supernatural beings and unknowing humans alike. When a barista with untapped magical potential falls in love with a customer harboring a dangerous secret, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways.
4. Moonlit Melodies
In a city known for its vibrant music scene, a talented musician discovers her melodies have the power to shape reality. Then, one day, she meets a mysterious stranger who seems immune to her magical tunes.
5. The Matchmaker
A matchmaker with the ability to see soul connections often works behind the scene to pair up couples destined for extraordinary love. However, when she finds herself drawn to a masked stranger with a hidden identity, she must navigate the complexities of her own heart.
6. Between Loyalty and Destiny
A person capable of seeing the red strings connecting people to their soulmates is torn between loyalty and destiny, when they learn that the red string of their boss’ fiance/fiancee is connected to themselves.
7. The Enchanted Bookstore
A bookshop that materializes in different locations across the city becomes the meeting place for two individuals who can communicate through the written word. As they exchange notes and letters, how are they going to uncover the mystical forces that brought them together?
From werewolves to dragons and anything in between, here are some fun adventurous urban fantasy prompts!
1. The Barista’s Secret
In a bustling city where magical creatures are disguised as everyday objects, a timid barista discovers a hidden world of mythical beings within their shop.
2. Stranger than Fiction
In a gritty urban setting, a reclusive writer discovers that her fictional characters have come to life and are wreaking havoc in the city.
3. The Forgotten
In a city where forgotten memories manifest as physical specters, a young woman with the rare ability to manipulate memories becomes a memory hunter, all while confronting her own fragmented past.
4. The Tracker
A werewolf who provides service as a professional tracker, from missing things to missing people to missing pets. Imagine a werewolf detective who’s trying hard to focus on the task at hand but he keeps getting distracted by a ball! (Hand-picked from my post Werewolf Story Ideas and Prompts)
5. Once in a Blue Moon
A veterinarian gets infected with lycanthropy, and all his animal patients can smell that something is wrong with him.
6. The Dragon’s Nest
A dragon nests inside of a bank vault and decides that whatever riches inside of it is his.
FROM: 21 Dragon Story Ideas
7. The Last Piece of Land
Three witches live in a small house in a neighborhood that is undergoing rapid gentrification, and they’re doing all they can to spite the executives of the real estate development company who are vying for that last available piece of land.
8. The Doppelganger
A woman is asked to identify a dead body, only to be confronted with a shocking discovery when she realizes that it’s her own. The incident leads her down the rabbit hole, uncovering the long-hidden family secret of a powerful witch lineage.
9. The Colors of Emotions
In a city where emotions are tangible and can be harvested for power, a gifted empath becomes entangled in a dangerous conspiracy when she discovers a way to manipulate and control emotions.
10. The Shadow Bender
In a city where shadows hold secrets and nightmares come to life, a young woman with the ability to manipulate shadows becomes an unlikely hero tasked with protecting the city from malevolent shadow creatures.
11. The Fairies’ New Home
Due to rapid deforestation, the fairies and nymphs have migrated to urban zoos, indoor gardens, and public parks.
12. The Splash of Phenomenon
After a freaky accident, a man develops the ability to see a color he’s never seen before in his life. He begins following the color that appears in splashes all over town until he finally finds a door painted entirely in that color. What happens next? (Originally appeared in my post 14 Charming Fantasy Romance Story Ideas.)
Here are some picture-based writing 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. An enchanted, ancient mirror kept inside of a museum houses the elixir of life, and only a certain people can reach into the mirror and obtain it.
2. An enchanted, ancient mirror in a busy museum is a portal to another world.
(Please click on the image for more information.)
1. A fallen angel receives a second chance at redemption with the caveat that they must successfully show a teenager the path to the light side before that teen dies in a traffic accident a month from now.
2. All sorts of graffiti seem to pop up in every corner of the city overnight, with no apparent reason. But one witch knows better. Those graffities contain hidden messages that say…
The Definition of Urban Fantasy
Urban fantasy is a type of fantasy that incorporates fantasy elements into a contemporary urban setting. In addition to reducing the need for extensive worldbuilding, this combination allows for the inclusion of contemporary problems into an otherwise fantasy-heavy narrative.
The success of Stephen King and Anne Rice‘s urban fantasy works in the 1980s has sparked the interest in this subgenre, paving the way for popular urban fantasy novels such as City of Bones by Cassandra Claire and American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
Urban fantasy vs. paranormal romance
Urban fantasy is often confused with paranormal romance, which is understandable considering that they share many similar elements. Author Jeannie Holmes highlighted the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance in an online commentary:
The two share 90% of their genre DNA. However, the main differences are this: Urban fantasy focuses on an issue outside of a romantic relationship between two characters. Paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship between two characters and how outside forces affect that relationship. The best litmus test to determine if a story is urban fantasy or paranormal romance is to ask the following question: ‘If the romance between Character A and Character B were removed, would the plot still stand as a viable storyline?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ chances are good it’s urban fantasy. If the answer is ‘no,’ it’s most likely paranormal romance.
How do you write urban fantasy?
Writing urban fantasy involves blending fantastical elements with a contemporary, urban setting. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
- Define Your Urban Setting
Choose a modern city or urban environment as the backdrop for your story. Consider how the supernatural or fantastical elements will interact with the urban landscape.
For example, if your story is about gods who live amongst mortals, how do their presence directly or indirectly affect the city?
- Create Your Fantasy World
Develop the lore of your fantasy world. Decide on the magical systems, creatures, and any other supernatural elements that will exist within the urban setting.
- Establish a Unique Premise
Craft a compelling and original premise for your urban fantasy. Consider how the supernatural elements will integrate with the everyday lives of your characters and the city itself.
For example, how do the gods in this story blend into their surroundings and interact with mortal beings, and how does their presence affect the narrative?
- Develop Complex Characters
Create well-rounded characters with unique personalities, motivations, and conflicts. Explore how the fantastical aspects of your world impact their lives and relationships.
- Blend Fantasy with Reality
Integrate the supernatural into the everyday, which is a key aspect of urban fantasy. Describe how magic or mythical creatures coexist with mundane aspects of urban life.
For example, include cell phones and modern transportation in your story, but introduce touches of magic and supernatural irks.
- Build a Consistent Magic System
If your story involves magic, establish a clear and consistent magic system. Define the rules, limitations, and sources of magical power in your world.
For example, in the story where there are gods who live amongs mortals, how do these supernatural beings access their supernatural abilities? What kind of constraints and rules bind them?
- Plot, Themes, Tropes, Conflict
– What are common urban fantasy plots or themes? Well, urban fantasy often explores themes such as identity, power, and the clash between the magical and mundane, and you can either abide by those common themes or subvert them.
– Common tropes in the urban fantasy genre include hidden magical world, magical protagonist, paranormal creatures, clashing realms, a city’s magical underworld, artifact quest, chosen one, anti-hero protagonist, love triangle, mysterious mentor, coven dynamics, parallel worlds, council of elders, alchemy and potion making, ancient prophecy, urban shaman, haunted urban spaces. Decide whether to subvert or embrace them.
– What are the common conflicts in urban fantasy stories? It’s a magical mystery, a supernatural war, or personal struggles. Whatever you decide, introduce conflict that propels the story forward. This keeps readers invested in the narrative.
- Emphasize the Atmosphere
Convey the atmosphere of the urban setting, highlighting the sights, sounds, and nuances that make the city come alive. This adds depth to the reader’s experience.
Provide enough information about your fantastical world to immerse readers but avoid overwhelming them with excessive details. Maintain a balance between world-building and pacing.
Remember that urban fantasy is a versatile genre, so feel free to experiment and let your creativity guide you. Whether it’s a hidden magical society or mythical creatures navigating city streets, the key is to create a seamless fusion of the fantastical and the contemporary.
For more story ideas and prompts, please browse our Story Ideas & Writing Prompts category!
Have any question or feedback? Feel free to contact me here. Until next time!