Shannii's Fantasy Writing Prompts - Come here for inspiration!


#1

Are you someone who loves to create beautiful Episode stories, but has no idea what to write? Well, this is my threat to help you with that! Sometimes stories on Episode can get quite repetitive, so I aim to help you come up with some unique new prompts to help broaden your horizon and come up with some snazzy new stories.

I will try my best to update this section as frequently as possible for people who want to try out some new ideas and plots!

Remember: these are only story prompts. Feel free to change them or add to them as much as you want. Use my ideas to inspire you!

Also, if you have any ideas that you’d love to see come to life, please feel free to add your own prompts!

*Note: All the story prompts in this section can be used by anyone on Episode for their stories. They’re broad and thought of by Shannii from ShanniiWrites. Any similarities you notice between these prompts and stories you already know about are unintentional.

If you do decide to use my ideas, it would be great if you could give me a shoutout! Let’s support each other!


#1

Set in a futuristic world where an unknown virus is reported to be sweeping through the country, wreaking havoc on its population. A journalist decides to report on this weird phenomenon, going into a quarantine zone without government permission. What this journalist wasn’t expecting is that the people inside the quarantine are completely healthy, and placed there to hide a big secret that the government don’t want anyone knowing about. The most unexpected thing for this journalist, however, is that they’d end up challenging the system, questioning what’s right and finding love in the strangest of places.

#2

From a young age, you were taught by your Dragon-hunting family that the Dragons were monsters. You were trained to hunt them from the time you could walk. No mercy. They eat people, after all! What happens when you find out that the Dragons are actually just shape-shifting humans, and you meet a Vegetarian?

#3

You have a crush on the new kid in school. When they start to show an interest in you, all seems to be going well! You go out on your first date, they ask you out properly and pretty soon you’re meeting their parents! This is when everything changes, though: they’ve been showing an interest in you for a reason. The witches are an endangered species and you’re one of the last ones. The new kid’s family are part of an organisation aiming to save the witches, and they see a lot of potential in you. They’re hoping they can recruit you to help find out what’s been attacking witches all over the world.


Ideas for storylines
Looking for a co-author 😻
Story Ideas please!
#2

#4

Fire is disappearing from the world. For millennia, humans thought that Fire was just something that they could control. Very few people suspected that the Elements are people with their own personalities, thoughts and feelings. Fire just so happens to be a really hot guy called Aidan with a hot temper, but a warm, caring and passionate heart. Unfortunately for all of humankind, he has become sick of being associated with pain and hell, so he decides to set up shop in a new world. Pretty soon, the world realises what they’re missing. You’re sent by the other Elements to convince him to come back, but is it too late?


#3

#5

You’re the most popular girl in school, but also a massive bully. None of the other girls like you and one of them makes a wish that you’ll learn your lesson - a wish that goes horribly wrong. Instead of just being a nicer person, you become overly empathetic, crying when you feel the slight hint of sadness around you and laughing uncontrollably at the worst joke possible. The only person who can reverse this curse is the girl who wished for it, but she has no reason to since you’ve been so mean to her for her whole life. Instead, you hypothesise that helping her will possibly encourage her to change her mind. Will you win her over and convince her to change you back? Will you ever be the same again?


#4

#6

When people suddenly start trying to kidnap you, your whole life is thrown out of the ordinary. Pretty soon you discover that these men are looking for the late King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, and have been informed by some vague prophesy that you would lead the way. Finally, one gorgeous guy/girl gets their hands on you and you begin reluctantly trying to help them uncover the mystery - but what if Excalibur is not a sword anymore, but rather a person?


#5

#7

When it comes to being a witch, you’re completely clueless. Unlike the other students at the witch academy, you weren’t exposed to magic from an early age. In fact, for some reason, your parents had abandoned you when you were very young, leaving you in a world without magic to protect you from a deal they made years ago. When you’re returned to this world by the dark and mysterious wizard policeman, Roland, your whole life is turned upside down. You didn’t even know you were adopted until your life was suddenly uprooted and now you find out that you’re destined to be the next sacrifice to the Demon protecting the witches from some unknown evil entity. Can you find out what this is and and put a stop to it before you become Demon-chow?


#6

Very clever ideas! Has a story about reincarnation been done on Episode before?


#7

I think there have been some stories, but it’s not a very common theme! I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head though :sweat_smile:

Thank you very much! Are there any types of prompts you’d like to see more of?


#8

Have actually created a story with the number 2 plot before. It wasnt on here though and it was originally inspired by How to Train Your Dragon lol


#9

The characters were not just dragons though. They were all mythological creature from all over the world.


#10

So I know that people may want some fantasy prompts for the newest competition, so I thought I would give you all a little bit of information about the Fantasy genre as a whole.

Fantasy and Sci-Fi are probably two of my favourite genres. Generally, they’ve been used as a way to comment on big, complicated and sometimes painful issues by withdrawing the real-life implications, and putting them in a new and unusual place to give them a new context. For example, if I were to make a story tackling racism as an issue, I would personally choose the fantasy genre because I could avoid singling out specific races (which isn’t in my personal style), but rather focus on humans and some kind of other race or species of humanoid. The premise would still be there (like in my story The Queen of Freaks, where there is overt and systematic racism towards the Faerie characters) without having to delve into or simplify the issues at hand. It can be easier to create a new world (for me, anyway) in which you are in charge of the complexity of the issues you’re presenting than misrepresenting the struggles that people face in society today.

Apart from that point, fantasy stories can be super fun to write! You have one of the biggest distinctions being High Fantasy vs Low Fantasy (but that doesn’t mean one is better than the other). This is a difficult thing to categorise, as there are so many different sources which classify different books/series differently, but basically, High Fantasy is when you create a whole new world separate from ours. Think Tolkien’s Middle Earth or George R.R Martin’s Westeros. Then, you have Low Fantasy, which would be more concerned with a sort of mix or mesh between our real world and the fantastical elements of the story. Some people would say that Harry Potter, His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass) and Narnia are low fantasy, but I think that they’re actually somewhere in between the two: yes, our world is present in the stories, but all three of the stories feature a plot which takes place separate from the “muggle” world. Twilight (which I dislike), on the other hand, is most definitely Low Fantasy: the vampires interact with our real world throughout the story and never really “escape” into a magical world.

As well as this, I think its essential to point out that not all fantasy stories contain magic. Fantasies can be about mythical creatures like dragons, selkies, pegasus and kitsune as well. Stories in which the main character is merely brushed, or slightly influenced, by the fantastical elements do count, technically. The most important thing to ensuring that your story does remain in the fantasy genre is, in my opinion, that you make the mythical or fantastical elements of the story plot points in themselves. Some incredibly talented writers take this to a whole new level, actually choosing to personify magic, which I think is profoundly clever.

Interesting fact: Star Wars is technically somewhere in between Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It was a fantasy set in space when they decided not to give a scientific explanation for The Force. That’s the real difference between Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Sci-Fi explains its unusual phenomena using scientifical theories, so what happens could, to some extent, happen. Fantasy is deep-rooted in magic or the impossible. It doesn’t represent the world, or science, as we know it in any way.

So where do I start?
I would recommend being different and unique about where you draw your inspirations from! For example, loads of people turn to Greek mythology when they’re thinking of writing a fantasy story. It would be quite hypocritical for me to criticise this and tell you to avoid it, as my newest story combines Greek Mythology with Judeo-Christian creation stories. However, I do recommend doing a little research on other types of mythology! In particular, I have a few that I suggest looking into, even just for a little bit of inspiration if you end up not using them:

  • Irish Mythology
    If you’re into the strange, mysterious and just downright unexplainable from time to time, Irish mythology is definitely for you. I mean, you have characters who, just out of nowhere, turn into a salmon when they’re in danger and swim off into the sea. Then there’s the fact that the Irish have often combined their deep Catholicism with their old-school legends. (which I absolutely love). You’ll have stories about Faeries that describe them as fallen angels that weren’t bad enough to go to hell just as one example. It is full of the bizarre, but the beautiful!

  • Japanese Mythology
    Japanese mythology fanatics get a bad name because of those so-called “weeaboos” who, in the pursuit of information about Japan, end up disrespecting Japanese culture as a whole. However, despite this, I think it’s definitely something for the budding fantasy writer to have a look into. The problem with Greek and Roman mythology is that, to some extent, the western world has been influenced and shaped by the people who generated these myths. Therefore, we can see strands of our ethos and worldview throughout the tales once you remove all the barbarism. However, when you look at more Eastern traditions, you’ll see a lot of substantial differences, which can be refreshing! This is also true of Chinese, Korean and even Indian mythology, just to name a few. With Japanese, you’ll often see the fact that they stress the importance of the collective: their enthusiasm about teamwork is super different to the praising of the individual that we’re used to in the west.

  • Norse Mythology
    So if you’ve seen a Marvel film in the past eight years, you’ll probably be pretty familiar with characters like Thor, Loki and Fenrir. However, how much do you actually know about the true myth of the Ragnarok? I think you’d be (hopefully pleasantly) surprised if you had a delve into it all. It’s full of the weird and wonderful, just like all other types of mythology, which makes it loads of fun to read up on.

Those are just a few that I’ve named, and I’d be happy for other people to recommend some others. Fantasy is really as fun as you let it be, and for me, I’d have to say that these are always a good start when it comes to being inspired for your competition work, or just any fantasy story in general.

My story has princesses, knights and swordfights, but no magic or mythical creatures. Does that count as fantasy?
Not quite. I’ve mentioned this in a post before, but I think that there should be a Historical Fiction section on Episode, because, thanks to the wonderful Tolkien with The Lord of the Rings, people have started to believe that High Fantasy means medieval. From there, we have slowly begun assuming that anything with a medieval setting is fantasy, which is simply not true. Thanks, D&D, WoW, LotR, GoT and Narnia for giving us this weird medieval-centric idea of fantasy. The link is not real, but because they’re the staples of the fantasy genre, people forget that any time period can be fantastical, but that not every fiction about a world set in the past is fantasy. Don’t get me wrong: I love medieval fantasy, but I hate when people think they’re limited to that, or when people think that medieval automatically qualifies. Plus, we do have knights, princesses and fencing today!

So what do I do?
I know you’re probably panicking now if you’ve started a story about the competition and it doesn’t quite cover what I mentioned. Don’t worry! We can add some stuff in to make it fit the genre better! My advice is to think of a cool creation story. Add some fantasy elements to that and you have the basis of a good fantasy story straight away. How did the people in your story get where they are? Did it involve magic? Were there magical elements? That way, you can make sure that either magic or some mythical creature enters the mix without forcing it or changing your story drastically. You can add a creation story wherever it works to fill any gap or time-space you have, and it would likely work.

Do you have any last tips?

  1. Don’t make your story superficial. Add in some bigger social question you want to comment on, whether it be about racism, sexism, deindustrialisation or anything else. Use fantasy as a chance to voice the things that frustrate you about our world, but put them in a fantasy world where you can comment on aspects without singling out real-life people or groups. The more complex and political your fantasy is, the better. If it says nothing by the end, what’s the point?

  2. Be original. We already have so many medieval English-based fantasies and Greek mythology Percy Jackson-style stories. Why not try something different or combine different types of mythology? Pick a country you’re particularly interested in and research it a little? This is making me want to look into different stories in Africa and see what I can do with them in the future.

  3. Make believable characters. I don’t care how bizarre and crazy the things that happen in the story are. I don’t care that your story is set in a whole new world with entirely different races. In fantasy, you’ll very quickly notice that there is a massive difference between a human and a person. Make sure that all of your characters act like real life people and ask yourself if you or someone you know would react that way if they were in that situation. The essential believable thing about fantasies has to be the way people act. Yes, we all have different cultures. That’s true of different races in this world and different species in the fantasy world. However, people, even villains, should be relatable.

  4. Make the events make sense. By this, I don’t mean that they have to make sense in real life. However, give magic rules and limitations. Give mythical creatures legends and weaknesses. Make sure that there isn’t anything that is invincible without any way to stop it. Create laws, both of nature and of people, that apply in your world. Give your world its own internal logic. The best way to make a fantasy story believable and realistic is to not explain everything away by saying “magic did it”. Magic shouldn’t be able to do everything. Mythical creatures shouldn’t just live forever with no costs. To quote Once Upon a Time, “All magic comes with a price” (or it should).

I think that’s everything for now. Please feel free to ask any questions you see fit.


Announcing Fantastical! Our June 2018 Creator's Contest
#11

A Guide to Creating Believable Mythical Creatures

The key to creating a mythical creature that fits the story and is believable as something almost human is to treat it as though it is human. Before you even begin thinking about what makes it different to us, think about what makes it similar and you’ll have a much better character. Here’s a guide for people who feel a little bit out of their depths on how to make that character the best you can:

  1. Start with a backstory
    Create a believable backstory for this character – where do they come from? Did something sad happen in their past? Were they actually just bored most of the time? This is important because it creates a sense of realism. You can have them reflect on the things that happened in their past and it can help you tell the audience what kind of person they are.
  1. Give them a personality
    Now it’s time to look at their personality. What are their inner strengths? What about their weaknesses? Do they have any fears? What about pet peeves and hobbies? Think about the small details, too – if they have a sarcastic sense of humour, if they’re optimistic or pessimistic, if they like the company of others or not, if they read loads. Everything is important for creating a genuinely interesting character. Make sure you consider how the character’s backstory links to their personality – have sad things in the past turned them into a pessimist? Did their parents spoil them a little too much? However, make sure that their personality isn’t completely dictated by their upbringing or past. Nature vs Nurture after all! The most important part is to consider their motivations. You need to be aware that characters to have reasons for acting the way they do, whether we agree with these reasons or not. It’s lazy writing if your character acts a certain way just because it’s convenient for the story. Even Voldemort had multiple reasons for being a villain in Harry Potter – he was disowned by his muggle side and loved the magical world. He was born through love potion, which means he was not able to feel love himself. He was a supremacist. This is where Nature vs Nurture comes in actually - Harry and Voldemort had pretty similar upbringings in terms of being orphans who were treated badly by muggles, but they turned out completely differently! (This stage and the first one can be swapped around if you’d like!)

  2. Now it’s time to think about their species
    You may have even decided this before you started with their backstory and personality, but it is good to push it aside until this stage. Now it’s time for you to consider what makes this character similar and different to the humans you’re used to. Could they fit into human life? If not, why? Do they look too different? Do they act too differently? (Side note: in my grammar post soon, I’ll cover why I used ‘different’ the first time and ‘differently’ the second.) Is the way that we humans live restrictive to them in some way? What I mean by that is, if you’re setting your story in our world (a low fantasy setting), a centaur would probably struggle to use a car, to use an elevator or even to function properly in class. You can have a lot of fun with these differences!

  1. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
    What’s so good about being this mythical creature? What advantages do they have over ordinary humans? What advantages do humans have? A really fun one could be that humans have opposable thumbs, so the creature occasionally needs a human’s help to open something or hold something. There should always be strengths and weaknesses to every character. I covered ‘Deus ex Machina’ in one of my blog posts on my website recently, but I can guarantee you that making a character too overpowered is a surefire way to accidentally include Deus ex Machina – particuarly if said character is a villain. You find that you haven’t given them a proper way to be thwarted and then you have to do some crazy mental gymnastics and adding in of silly, equally overpowered, solutions to make sure that you have a way of beating them. Or, if they’re the hero, then you already have a pretty boring story – how are they supposed to get themselves in any trouble if they don’t have any weaknesses? You don’t have to introduce the weakness until you need it, but make sure you have a realistic one planted firmly in your heads. What’s even better is if you hint at it throughout. It’s a great feeling when you make an audience go “OH!” because they forgot that you included information about the character much earlier that they forgot about.
  1. Do they have magical powers?
    If so, make sure that the magic is limited in some way. Don’t make the magic overpowered just like you shouldn’t make the characters overpowered. In the words of practically every character in Once Upon a Time, “All magic comes with a price” – or it should, anyway! It could be that magic has a physical toil on the user, it could be the Fullmetal Alchemist idea of “equivalent exchange”, meaning that in order to make something, you have to give something up that has equal value. It can be that magic can’t force love or bring people back from the dead. There needs sto me some limitation for magic to be used believably.
  1. How do they fit into the story?
    Don’t just include a character because “Oh wow a centaur”. Ask yourself what the purpose and value of this character is to the story. They don’t need to be there to introduce or carry out a massive plot point. Making them useful as a sidekick, protagonist, antagonist or villain would make them useful. However, even the side characters need to be useful – do they deliver information to us? Do their problems parallel what’s going on? Are they intelligent and resourceful? Do they act as a commentary on what’s happening? Do they give the protagonist/antagonist strength in some way? Are they a comment on society? Do they act as comic relief? You need to consider this character’s role in your story just as you would with any other character. If you can’t think of a role for them, there’s no point in adding them in. I like to think of stories as jigsaw puzzles waiting to be made to emphasise this: don’t start adding in bits from other puzzles just because you want them to fit. The end result will be artificial, awkward and just messy. The pieces will never fit like you want them to. That applies to adding in diversity for no reason too!

I hope this has helped! Feel free to ask as many questions as you like. More next time!