Finding Inspiration for Fantasy and Sci-Fi Writing


Writing is tough work. It requires more than just a map. It constantly demands a wellspring of inspiration that fuels your imagination. Here are some easy tips and suggestions to fuel up your creativity and get writing.

Exploring Real-World Wonders

The universe around us is a treasure trove of inspiration waiting to be plundered. Look at the incredible aspects of the natural world, the mysteries of science, the ancient world with its seven wonders, and the various achievements of modern civilisation. Do some research into nature, the movement of water, the solar system, and things like math and geology.

Google is a great place to start. While authors from 100 years ago had to travel or rely on a few dozen photos or sketches or books about a place, now everything is at your fingertips. Search for weird and wonderful and beautiful and ugly environments. Check out the amazing creatures that live deep beneath the ocean, or in the rainforests of the Amazon, or in the harshest deserts. Look at the complexities of the human body, the science behind weather, and the strangeness of so many different animals and plants. Consider the intricacies of ecosystems untouched by human hands or the awe-inspiring phenomena occurring in the cosmos. From the microscopic intricacies of a single cell to the grandeur of galaxies far, far away, the real world is brimming with fantastical elements waiting to be woven into your narrative tapestry.

You can also look at more complex ideas, like the symbiotic relationships found in a coral reef ecosystem. The interdependence of species, the vibrant colors and their symbolism in nature, and the constant struggle for survival can serve as a metaphor for the complex dynamics in your alien societies. Or jump into the mysteries of quantum physics or explore the potential consequences of artificial intelligence. Real-world wonders provide a solid foundation for speculative fiction, giving your imagined worlds a touch of authenticity that resonates with readers while also bringing something fresh.

History and Mythology

You also have the entire breadth of human history to fuel your imagination, from politics to inventions to wars and nomadic movements, art and sculptures, music and books. Dive into the annals of history and mythology, extracting nuggets of inspiration that can breathe life into your fantasy realms or futuristic societies. Ancient civilizations, epic battles, and mythical creatures offer a rich tapestry of storytelling elements. Unearth forgotten legends and reimagine historical events through a speculative lens. The blending of reality and fantasy can create a potent brew that captivates readers and transports them to worlds both familiar and alien.

Consider drawing inspiration from the Age of Exploration, the Odyssey, the travels of the Maori to New Zealand, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, the histories of Japan and ancient China, and more. Explore the rich tapestry of mythology, infusing your narrative with creatures and gods from various cultural traditions. The beauty of these sources lies in their adaptability. You have the freedom to reshape history and myth into new forms to suit your fantasy tale. For more on Mythology and Religion, see my articles: Exploring Religion in Fantasy and Sci-Fi and The Power of Mythology.

Stargazing and Cosmic Wonder

The night sky has been a source of inspiration for storytellers throughout the ages. The cosmos, with its distant stars and uncharted galaxies, invites writers to dream beyond the limits of our earthly confines. Take a moment to stargaze, allowing the vastness of the universe to spark your imagination. Consider the possibilities of uncharted worlds, cosmic phenomena, and the mysteries that lie beyond our reach.

Perhaps the in-world stories and beliefs revolve around the stars. The celestial sphere has drawn the wonder of various cultures throughout human history. Draw on the beauty and chaos of the cosmos to shape the worlds in your stories, infusing them with a sense of wonder and the unknown. Whether it's the dance of binary stars or the eerie glow of a distant nebula, the celestial wonders can serve as both backdrop and catalyst for your fantastical tales.

Tapping into Technological Trends

In the realm of science fiction, the ever-evolving landscape of technology provides a wellspring of inspiration. Keep a keen eye on current technological trends, breakthroughs, and emerging scientific theories. Consider the societal implications of advancements like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, or genetic engineering. The intersection of humanity and technology can give rise to speculative scenarios that challenge and captivate your readers.

You can look at the history of industrialisation, gunpowder, mining, and medicine. Consider how progress might have differed from our own history if your magic system or new technology existed. Look at all aspects of society and think about how they would have differed.

Grounding your sci-fi narratives in plausible technological developments adds a layer of authenticity and relevance to your storytelling. Technological advancement is also a great way to raise some big questions about the future of humanity, and how we will deal with it. AI is the obvious one, and has been discussed and portrayed in a million ways since the mid-20th century. Cloning is another. Interplanetary travel and the economics involved is yet another. What interests you, as a writer, and what big questions do you have? Note that you don't need to necessarily answer these in the story. Sometimes just raising the question can lead to very interesting stories.

Personal Reflection and Inner Cosmos

Look inward to explore the inner cosmos of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Personal reflection can be a powerful source of inspiration, providing a well of emotions and insights that breathe life into your characters and their journeys. Draw on your own fears, triumphs, and aspirations to infuse authenticity into the struggles and triumphs of your protagonists.

Consider the impact of a life-changing decision or the emotional weight of confronting one's deepest fears. By tapping into your own innermost thoughts, you can create characters with genuine depth and resonance. Moreover, the act of self-reflection can lead to the discovery of universal themes that resonate with a broad audience. Whether it's the quest for identity, the struggle for acceptance, or the triumph of the human spirit, your internal thoughts may hold the keys to unlocking narratives that are both personal and universally compelling.


The key to creativity is to always be curious and always looking at our real world. There is so much we have not seen, so many experiences we can find. Observing the world, reading books from various genres, and even watching movies and playing video games can all inspire us in different ways.

Happy writing!

Subscribe for quarterly newsletter updates here.