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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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.
Some other seminal works of the subgenre include the 1992 series Highlander and Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
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.
Urban Fantasy Writing Prompts
Without further ado, below are some enticing urban fantasy 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.
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Urban Fantasy Writing Prompts: Werewolves
Werewolves are fun additions to any urban fantasy story, because they’re creatures who’ve assimilated so well with modern society that we’ll never know if that charming neighbor, or that salty boss, or that friendly barista, is actually a werewolf!
Hence, here are some fun urban fantasy writing prompts with werewolves twists, hand-picked from my post Werewolf Story Ideas and Prompts.
1. 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!
2. A veterinarian gets infected with lycanthropy, and all his animal patients can smell that something is wrong with him.
3. A werewolf decides to become the hero of the city in order to challenge misconceptions about his kind. But he has to face oppositions from his werewolves kin who are all too comfortable with their old ways of living.
4. A man who’s been cured of his werewolf curse is unable to forget all the atrocities he committed while he was a werewolf, and slowly, he regresses into his old self and regains his werewolf instincts.
Urban Fantasy Writing Prompts: Dragons
Evidently, no fantasy story is complete without some dragons! Here are some urban fantasy writing prompts with dragons, hand-picked from my post 21 Dragon Story Ideas.
1. A dragon who nests inside of a bank vault and, moreover, decides that whatever riches inside of it is his.
2. A secretary bumps into her boss one rainy night, only to discover that the latter changes into a dragon when their skin makes contact with water.
3. There exists a mirror that allegedly can reveal to humans their dragon counterparts, creatures long thought to be extinct in the world. But it is said that when the two are able to meet, the pair will rule the world.
4. Write about the adventure of a dragon charmer or a dragon whisperer.
Urban Fantasy Writing Prompts: Witches
Witches, with their enigmatic personas, are guaranteed to add a splash of excitement to any narrative. Here are a collection of witch writing prompts to spice up your urban fantasy story, handpicked from my post 22 Spellbinding Witch Story Ideas.
1. 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.
2. A woman is asked to identify a dead body, only to find that it’s herself. The incident leads her down the rabbit hole, uncovering the long-hidden family secret of a powerful witch lineage.
3. An envious actor/painter/artist seeks the help of a witch to ruin a newcomer’s career. But what happens when it turns out that the newcomer is, in fact, also a witch?
4. A slighted museum curator finds out that he/she is a witch when the museum acquires an artifact belonging to their ancestor.
5. A witch who believes that she’s the last of her kind until something happens that makes her believe otherwise.
Urban Fantasy Writing Prompts: Others
Here are a collection of other urban fantasy writing prompts with various appearances from sorcerers to mermaids!
1. A sorcerer quickly rises to power by enchanting every mirror to behave as he wishes: as his spying tool, as a cloning device, as a portal to travel from one place to another, and more. The only person who can potentially stop his evil agenda is his apprentice, and he’s going to have to use his master’s mirror-enchanting specialty against himself. The problem is, his skills are not perfect yet… (Originally appeared in my post High Fantasy Writing Prompts.)
2. Due to rapid deforestation, the fairies and nymphs have migrated to urban zoos, indoor gardens, and public parks alike.
3. 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 urban fantasy 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. But one witch knows better. Those graffities contain hidden messages that say…
There they are, 16 urban fantasy story ideas that hopefully will get your inspiration going! 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!