dystopian writing prompts

3 Simple Dystopian Writing Prompts (2023)

Dystopias are always fun to think about and dystopian writing prompts are even more fun to tinker with. What would happen if the surveillance state became real? Oh. 

RELATED: 7 Dystopian Story Ideas For Creative Writers

Anyway, dystopias present an interesting study of social and cultural constructs that can present a drab, dreary world to the reader. These are the kinds of worlds you don’t want to live in, even for the most hardcore dystopia fans.

But not all dystopian fiction is based on cultural or social constructs. Some dystopian worlds are constructed from science fiction story ideas. Some are post apocalyptic. There even exists sub-genres of dystopian writing that bring our history to life – such as fiction about the darkest acts of World War Two, or the harrowing existence of a person living amid the Black Plague.

So, if you have a knack for government controlled conspiracy stories, a zombie apocalypse, or a post apocalyptic world then you have come to the ‘write’ place indeed. This volume marks just one of many Lore has planned to explore dystopias and dystopian writing ideas.

To keep the article short and sweet, we’ll present three ideas in this volume for you to develop. 

Dystopian Writing Prompt 1 – The Open Ender 

For this prompt, I want to set the scene to try to ignite the creative writing spark within you. We all have it and sometimes you need a little bit of inspiration to bring it out.

The alarm blares its shrill chirp, over and over, until you can be bothered to roll over and turn it off. Today marks Wednesday; the middle of the workweek slog that always sinks your heart back into your chest. Your already in negative social equity. Today needs to end already.

You lazily drag the covers off to one side and stand from the warm embrace of your bed sheets. You look around your room and despite the normality of another work day beginning to clutch your senses, you feel that something is off. But you think nothing of it and head for the main room.

When you get there…

Well? Keep it going! 

Dystopian Writing Prompt 2 – A Subtle Reminder

Sometimes I like to give subtle nods to build up a work of fiction. And for the dystopian worlds that I like to read, it’s always the subtleties that sell it for me. So let’s begin by presenting a situation and exploring how we can weave in subtle nods to build upon. How do you build upon them? Well, that’s what the prompt is for!

I took a seat at the café, but despite my tokens, it still took long enough to get service. Even then, the ordinator wasn’t too sufficient and the service was sub-par at best.

In this prompt we have three variables we can dissect and run with;

  • The Token; what is it? Why is it needed? What does it represent? How is it used?
  • Ordinator; again, what is it? Why is it needed? How does it help construct the world?
  • The social construct; why does this person speak with a sense of entitelement? Where do they get it from and why?

Let’s see what you come up with!

Dystopian Writing Prompt 3 – The Educators

This is a brilliant way to introduce certain cultural and societal aspects into your dystopian story idea. How a culture teaches its youth and what it teaches them shows a lot about society as a whole. It also adds a nice flair of juxtaposition for such horrid concepts in a setting like a high school.

Using this universally understood idea we can construct a dystopia that explores the values of your worldbuilding in a way that is PG, as I am aware not everyone will want to write R-rated stuff.

So thinking about what the youth will be taught in this world you are crafting can lay the foundations to explore ideas later on in your story – no matter if we are talking a short story or a full-length book series. Begin by thinking about questions our educators use to inspire the youth to learn and then start twisting them.

A shocking statement is always a good option for this kind of prompt for hooking readers. Some examples could be:

  • An educator praising a child for something morally horrid; like bullying.
  • A teacher asking a question that is seemingly innocent, but the true ugliness of this world you are creating is hinted at through how the child answers. Eg; Educator: What would you say is a strong personality trait? Child: Selfishness.

Don’t be shy. Get dark. Get brutal (if you want). But most importantly, get writing!

About This Article’s Author

Stewart Storrar is a professional writer and hobbyist filmmaker from Glasgow, Scotland. He writes fiction, poetry, and loves to skateboard in his free time. You can find him on Twitter here, or you can follow his other passions over on YouTube.

Read More On Lore

Want to read some fiction we’ve published on Lore? Or maybe you are looking for some more prompts or writing aids? Check out what we have: