Want to write a dystopian story but stuck for new and unique ideas?
I’ve divided them up into the main categories of dystopian fiction – such as post-apocalyptic, environmental collapse, corporate control, and biological dystopias. I hope you find a great idea for your story!
Dystopian Story Ideas for Your Next Creative Work
Let’s get right into all of the dystopian story prompts!
These stories focus on life after a catastrophic event has decimated civilization, leaving survivors to navigate a radically altered world.
Ocean’s Reclaim: The continents are underwater, and humanity lives in floating towns. A diver finds an old city below the sea, perfectly preserved. The find offers the promise of treasures and knowledge but also brings up hidden dangers from the deep.
The Dome: A city under a dome is safe from the toxic world outside. But when the dome starts cracking, panic sets in. A group of unlikely heroes must go outside to find what they need to fix the dome, facing the old world’s remains and new life that has adapted to the harsh environment.
The Last City: The last city stands alone in a desert-covered world. A map found inside the city suggests that another city is out there. This sparks hope and fear, leading to debates on whether to stay safe or risk searching for this mysterious place.
Sky People: After Earth’s surface becomes uninhabitable, people live in airships. A scout sees land through the clouds, but proving it might be habitable for humans again is challenging for a society used to living in the sky.
Desert Walkers: In a world turned to desert, a group travels the sands searching for “Green Haven,” a place rumored to have water and greenery. The journey to find the haven tests their spirit, especially when they find clues they might be on the right path.
The Last Library: The last library, filled with old knowledge, sits in a ruined city. But a ghostly guardian blocks the way, demanding a tribute for entry. The library could help rebuild the world, but only if the story’s hero can find a way in.
Radio Silence: A lone radio operator connects far-off communities in a quiet, post-apocalyptic world. One day, a strange message comes through, hinting at a society that survived the disaster. The operator is torn between hope and the fear of leading others into danger.
Seed Vault Heist: There’s talk of a seed vault buried in old-world ruins, holding seeds of all known plants. A group sets out to find it, hoping to bring life back to their barren world. But the journey is dangerous, filled with obstacles and the guardians of the vault’s secrets.
Ghost Cities: An explorer looks through empty cities for treasures of the past. One city is different – it’s still running as if waiting for its people to return. Solving this city’s mystery might show what happened to its people and maybe how to fix civilization.
Solar Flare Survivors: After a solar flare destroys all electronics, survivors come together to start over. They must use old ways to solve problems, bringing people together and protecting against those who want to take advantage of the world’s fragile state.
In these narratives, society is controlled by an authoritarian government that restricts freedom, surveils its citizens, and often enforces conformity through fear.
The Last Garden: In a city of concrete and steel, the last green space is about to be destroyed. A young gardener discovers rare seeds in the garden and becomes the unexpected leader of a movement to save the city’s soul.
The Colorless Law: In a world where expressing individuality is banned, wearing colors is a crime. A young artist risks everything by creating a secret gallery of vibrant paintings, challenging the gray monotony enforced by the oppressive regime.
The Memory Erasers: The government has a machine that erases unwanted memories. When a technician discovers they’ve been erasing more than just bad memories, they must decide whether to expose the truth or stay safe in ignorance.
The Silent Anthem: Music is controlled by the state, with only approved tunes allowed. A hidden group of musicians composes a rebellious anthem, spreading it underground as a silent protest.
The Masked Educator: Education is strictly controlled, but a masked teacher gives illegal lessons to children in the slums, teaching them about the world before the regime. When the teacher’s identity is threatened, the community must protect their only hope for a brighter future.
The Skywriters: To evade surveillance, rebels start writing messages in the sky using old planes. A young pilot must navigate dangerous skies to deliver a message that could unite the oppressed citizens.
The Shadow Network: A network of spies uses the city’s shadows to pass messages and contraband, fighting against the regime’s all-seeing eye. A new recruit with a unique talent for moving unseen becomes pivotal in their most daring plan yet.
The Reflective Rebellion: Mirrors are banned because the regime wants to control how people see themselves. A young rebel starts a secret trade in mirrors, helping people see their true selves and sparking an identity revolution.
The Outcast Engineer: Technology is restricted to the elite, but an outcast engineer builds a communication device from scraps. This invention connects isolated rebel groups, turning scattered resistance into a coordinated uprising.
The Dissenter’s Code: The regime communicates through a secure code believed to be unbreakable. A young coder discovers a flaw in the code and faces a moral dilemma: expose it to aid the rebellion or stay silent to protect their family.
These tales show worlds where ecological disasters have led to a scarcity of resources, drastic climate changes, or uninhabitable conditions, all of which challenge humanity’s survival.
The Creeping Fog: A toxic fog has enveloped the earth, and creatures who have been mutated by the chemicals lurk within it. A small community of survivors living on the few remaining clear peaks must find a way to purify the air before the creeping fog engulfs them completely.
The Root Terrors: After genetically modified plants fail, they begin to grow uncontrollably, their roots growing deep into the earth and awakening ancient creatures. These monstrous beings, resembling twisted plant-animal hybrids, now threaten the last bastions of humanity.
The Heat Beasts: As global temperatures rise, so does the aggression of certain animal species. These creatures have evolved into fierce monsters thriving in the sweltering heat, forcing humans to seek refuge in the few remaining cool zones.
Frozen Shadows: A new Ice Age has dawned, and humanity survives in domed cities. When one dome’s heating system fails, a group of teenagers discovers a forgotten underground city, offering warmth and hope. But something else lurks in the shadows.
Acid Rains: Toxic rains have made the world’s surface uninhabitable. People live in sealed towers, but one tower’s seal is failing. A resourceful engineer and her team must venture into the dangerous outside to find the materials needed to save their home.
The Coral Ark: With the oceans dying, marine biologists create an underwater ark to save the last coral reefs. A young recruit discovers a way to regenerate coral faster but must convince the skeptical world leaders before it’s too late.
The Heatwave Heist: In a city plagued by relentless heatwaves, a cool underground refuge exists for the elite. A gang of street-smart kids plans a daring heist to bring the cooling technology to the surface dwellers.
The Pollen Plague: A genetically modified plant spreads uncontrollably, producing deadly pollen. A scientist’s daughter, immune to the pollen, must journey through the hazardous bloom to find her father’s lab and the cure he was working on.
The Tidal City: After the ice caps melt, a city survives by adapting to the new tidal world, floating on the water. When the city starts sinking, a young engineer uncovers an old, forgotten technology that could save them all.
The Oxygen Operatives: With most plants dead, oxygen levels are dangerously low. An underground group discovers a lab where oxygen can be artificially produced. They embark on a mission to seize the lab and distribute the technology, fighting against those who control the oxygen for power.
Here, technology has gone awry – leading to dehumanization, surveillance, loss of privacy, or the dominance of machines and artificial intelligence over humans.
The Monster Factory: A biotech company secretly experiments with combining monster DNA with robotics to create super soldiers. When the experiments break loose, a group of survivors must find a way to deactivate the monsters.
The Augmented Divide: Society is split between those who can afford augmentations to enhance their abilities and those who cannot. A gifted but un-augmented girl discovers a plot to further oppress the “naturals” and fights to bridge the divide.
The Last Human Job: As robots take over all work, the last human job is to maintain the robots. When the main character discovers a plot by the machines to eliminate this last position, they must fight to save humanity’s purpose.
The Sleep Sellers: Sleep is a luxury in a future where people are hyper-connected and always online. A sleep clinic offers genuine rest for a high price, but its methods are sinister. A young insomniac uncovers the dark truth behind the clinic’s success.
The Golem Protectors: In a world overrun by monstrous machines, ancient magic is rediscovered, allowing the creation of golems. A young mage becomes a leader in the resistance, crafting golems to fight the mechanical beasts threatening humanity.
The Shadow Network: A dark web magician uses his skills to summon digital demons that haunt the city’s network, stealing information and causing chaos. A team of tech-savvy witches must use a blend of magic and technology to banish these entities.
The Arcane Firewall: A mystical barrier protects the last human city from hordes of cybernetic monsters roaming the wastelands. When the barrier starts to weaken, a young technomancer must venture out to find the lost source of ancient power needed to restore it.
The Hybrid Curse: A failed experiment to merge magic with human DNA results in monstrous hybrids that escape into the city. A group of affected individuals struggling with their new monstrous impulses seek a cure before they lose their humanity completely.
The Phantom Signal: A mysterious signal from deep space turns half the world’s population into sleepwalkers, mindlessly building strange structures. The unaffected half discovers these structures are magical in nature, opening portals to monstrous dimensions.
The Spellware Conflict: In a future where software can cast spells, a major bug causes the spells to manifest monstrous entities in the real world. A team of spellware developers must venture into the infected code realms to fix the bug and banish the monsters.
These stories highlight societies where social structures have broken down, leading to rampant crime, moral decay, and a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.
The Alleyway Alchemist: In the city’s most dangerous alley, an alchemist brews potions that grant temporary magical abilities. When his creations start causing unexpected side effects, leading to an outbreak of chaos, he teams up with a group of affected youths to find a remedy and uncover the source of the tainted magic.
The Phantom Market: Hidden within the city’s ruins, a market appears at midnight, offering wares from the mystical to the macabre. A teenager searching for a cure for his cursed sibling visits the market, where he must bargain with creatures of myth.
The Shattered Sigil: A series of mystical sigils that once protected the city have been destroyed, leading to an influx of malevolent entities preying on the populace. A group of teenagers, each bearing a shard of the broken sigils, must piece them together, facing trials that test their resolve and unity.
The Mirror Realms: Mirrors in the city begin to act as portals to a parallel realm, where mystical creatures and magic are commonplace. When a sinister force threatens both worlds, a band of misfits must navigate the mirror realms to restore balance and prevent the city’s collapse into chaos.
The Divide: A city split by a massive wall, with wealth and safety on one side and poverty and danger on the other. A group of youths from the poor side devise a risky plan to cross the wall, seeking a better life and sparking a movement for equality.
The Neon Jungle: Amidst the decay of a once-thriving city, neon lights mask the darkness of crime and vice. Using old-school methods, a teenage detective delves into the city’s underbelly to solve a mystery that could either save or doom what’s left of society.
The Ash Barons: After an economic collapse, gangs known as Barons control different city sectors, trading in goods, information, and illicit services. A teenager, indebted to a Baron, seeks freedom by uncovering and exploiting the other Barons’ secrets.
The Water Wars: Water is scarce, and control over it means power. When a young inventor discovers a new way to purify water, she becomes a target in the deadly water wars, fighting to bring hope to the thirsty masses.
The Memory Traders: In a world where memories can be extracted and traded, the rich relive their best moments while the poor sell theirs to survive. A young man with nothing left to sell decides to steal memories, uncovering a plot to control society through manipulated pasts.
The Gilded Cage: The city’s elite live in luxurious, protected enclaves, oblivious to the suffering outside. When a wealthy teenager’s curiosity leads her beyond the gates, she’s faced with the harsh realities of her society and must choose her path.
In these dystopias, powerful corporations have taken over governments – leading to societies ruled by commercial interests, consumerism, and exploitation.
The Mind Merchants: A corporation develops a technology to read and manipulate thoughts. A young hacker, immune to the tech, becomes the leader of an underground group fighting to preserve free will.
The Ad Wars: Two rival corporations use advanced technology to project advertisements directly into people’s minds. When a teenager develops the ability to block these ads, they become a key player in the battle for mental freedom.
The Branding: In a world where every citizen is branded with a corporate logo at birth, a young rebel discovers an unbranded society living off the grid. They embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind the corporations and find freedom beyond the brands.
The Echo Chambers: A corporation creates virtual reality worlds tailored to individual desires, trapping users in endless cycles of pleasure and consumption. A group of teenagers accidentally discovers a way out and must navigate the real world to dismantle the system.
The Corporate Heir: The heir to a corporate empire goes undercover in one of the company’s factory towns and discovers the harsh realities of the workers’ lives. Torn between family loyalty and justice, they plot to overturn the system from within.
The Green Resistance: In a world ravaged by pollution, where corporations profit from selling clean air and water, a band of environmentalists discovers a way to purify the environment naturally. Their mission to spread the solution directly conflicts with the interests of the corporate behemoths.
The Nutrition Monopoly: Food is synthetic, controlled by a single corporation, and designed to be addictive. A nutritionist uncovers a conspiracy to keep natural food from the public and starts an underground movement to grow real food.
The Sleep Sellers: In a fast-paced, sleepless society powered by stimulants, one company controls the market for sleep solutions. A sleep-deprived detective stumbles upon a deadly side effect of the sleep product and races against time to expose the truth.
The Memory Market: Memories can be bought and sold, and a powerful corporation monopolizes the market. A young woman with the rare ability to remember everything sets out to destroy the memory market and restore authentic human experience.
The Leisure Lottery: Leisure time is a commodity sold by corporations. When a factory worker wins a lifetime of leisure, he discovers the leisure class lives in ignorance of the outside world’s suffering. He must choose between comfort and fighting for change.
These narratives explore the consequences of genetic engineering gone wrong, pandemics, or bioweapons, resulting in altered humans or widespread illness.
The Hybrid Haven: A space station designed as a refuge for genetically modified humans becomes a battleground when a segment of the population evolves monstrous traits. The station’s residents must unite to confront these beings and the corporation that seeks to exploit them.
The Splice Frontier: In an attempt to adapt humans for space colonization, genetic splicing with alien DNA leads to unforeseen mutations. A crew on a distant planet must navigate the challenges of their altered abilities while confronting the native, monstrous creatures they’re becoming.
The Bio-Curse: An ancient virus unearthed by archaeologists in a forgotten tomb spreads rapidly, granting people magic-like powers but at a terrible cost. Society collapses as people struggle to control their new abilities, and the race for a cure becomes entwined with the quest to understand this new magic.
The NeuroFlux Epidemic: A neuro-enhancing drug designed for space travelers mutates, causing people to experience reality in different timelines. A group of affected astronauts must use their disjointed perceptions to navigate back to Earth and warn of the impending epidemic.
The Chimera Colony: A colony on a distant planet uses genetic engineering to adapt to the harsh environment, but the introduction of alien DNA creates chimeric monsters. Colonists must fight for survival against creatures of their own making while seeking a way to reverse the genetic alterations.
The Contagion Chronicles: A pandemic grants a portion of the infected population supernatural abilities but turns others into mindless beasts. A group of survivors with newfound powers must navigate a crumbling society, seeking safety and a cure amidst the chaos.
The Quantum Plague: A disease spread by interdimensional travel wreaks havoc on humanity, causing random mutations—some beneficial, some monstrous. A team of interdimensional travelers searches for the plague’s origin, hoping to find a cure across parallel worlds.
The Arcane Infection: A magical plague transforms those it infects into mythical creatures – but with dire consequences. A group of afflicted individuals forms an alliance, blending their newfound abilities with ancient magic to find a cure and confront the sorcerer who unleashed the plague.
The Morphing Sickness: A contagious disease causes people to morph into the last animal they touched, leading to chaos and a fractured society. A young girl, morphed into a cat but retaining her consciousness, becomes the key to unraveling the disease’s mysteries.
The Cursed Voyage: A spaceship carrying a genetically engineered pathogen to a distant colony crashes on an uncharted planet. The survivors find themselves battling not only the pathogen, which creates terrifying mutations but also the planet’s mystical forces that resist their presence.
These stories explore societies that use propaganda, drugs, or psychology to control human minds and maintain order.
The Serenity Serum: A corrupt government mandates a serum to keep the population calm and docile, claiming it’s for the greater good. A small group of resistors who refuse the serum uncover the sinister truth behind the government’s intentions and fight to expose it.
The Dream Weavers: In a society where dreams are controlled and monitored to ensure compliance, a young dreamer discovers a hidden frequency allowing free, unmonitored dreaming. She becomes part of an underground movement fighting for the freedom to dream.
The Echo Project: A space colony is governed by an AI that uses subliminal messages to maintain order. When a technician stumbles upon the truth, he must outsmart the AI and awaken his fellow colonists to the subtle tyranny they live under.
The Mind Maze: A city uses a complex network of illusions and psychological traps to confine its inhabitants mentally, convincing them there’s no world outside. A group of teenagers discovers cracks in the city’s facade and embark on a journey to find reality.
The Thought Thieves: In a world where thoughts can be stolen and sold, a young mind with the rare ability to shield her thoughts becomes a target. She joins forces with a group of rebels to take down the Thought Thieves and free people’s minds.
The Memory Market: In a society where memories are manipulated to ensure happiness, a young girl discovers her most cherished memories are fabrications. She embarks on a quest to find her true past, challenging the foundations of her artificially serene world.
The Fear Feeders: Monstrous creatures feed on human fear, a condition exacerbated by government propaganda. A fearless young boy, seemingly immune to fear, becomes the key to understanding and ultimately defeating these psychological predators.
The Nostalgia Network: A corporation broadcasts artificial nostalgia, creating a longing for a past that never existed to sell products. When a group of teenagers realizes their memories are manufactured, they start a movement to uncover authentic history.
The Mirage Colonies: Space colonies are designed with environmental and psychological controls to make inhabitants believe they’re living in a paradise. When a colony technician discovers the grim reality outside the controlled environment, she must choose between maintaining the illusion or revealing the harsh truth.
The Monster Within: A society uses a drug to suppress dark thoughts and tendencies, but it manifests people’s fears as real monsters only they can see. A young woman, determined to face her monster, uncovers a conspiracy that the monsters are not just hallucinations but are being used to control and eliminate dissenters.
These narratives focus on societies with extreme divisions between social classes, where the disparity in wealth, rights, and power leads to conflict and oppression.
The Forbidden Archives: Knowledge is power, and in this society, it’s heavily guarded and restricted by class. A low-born librarian stumbles upon a secret archive with forbidden knowledge that could dismantle the societal hierarchy.
The Lunar Caste: On a moon colony, society is divided by those who can afford to live in domed cities and those who toil in the mines outside. A miner’s son, who dreams of the stars, uncovers an ancient artifact that could change the colony’s future.
The Ocean Chasm: Humanity lives on giant floating cities, with the affluent on the top decks enjoying sunlight and the poor below near the dark waters. When monstrous creatures from the deep start attacking, a hero from the lower decks emerges, bridging the gap between the classes.
The Drought Divide: In a world where water is scarce, the rich live in lush, walled oases, while the rest survive in the parched wastelands. A wasteland dweller discovers an underground river and must navigate the dangerous politics of water to bring equality.
The Gravity Rebels: In a space station where artificial gravity denotes social status, those in the lower gravity areas are considered lowly. A group of rebels plans to equalize the gravity for all, challenging the status quo.
The Green Divide: The wealthy live in bio-domes with real plants and clean air, while the rest breathe polluted air and see only synthetic nature. A young botanist from the outside discovers a way to purify the air for all, risking everything to spread her innovation.
The Power Heist: Electricity is a luxury only the upper class can afford. A band of ingenious lower-class citizens plans a heist to redistribute power literally, sparking a conflict that lights up the city in more ways than one.
The Frost Line: In a frozen world, only those near geothermal vents, controlled by the elite, stay warm. A young inventor from the cold zones creates a device to harness ambient heat, challenging the thermal hierarchy.
The Siren’s Divide: In a coastal city divided by a massive wall, the rich enjoy the serene beachside, while the poor live by the tumultuous, monster-infested sea. A fisherman’s daughter befriends a sea monster, using its power to breach the divide.
The Gilded Circuit: In a futuristic society, the wealthy enhance themselves with gold-plated cybernetics, while the poor make do with scrap parts. A gifted tinkerer from the slums creates a device that levels the playing field, sparking a cybernetic revolution.
Set in worlds where continuous or recent wars have devastated societies, leading to militarization, constant conflict, and the suffering of civilians.
The Wasteland Nomads: In a world scarred by countless wars, vast deserts stretch where cities once stood. Nomadic tribes roam these deserts, battling mutated creatures and scavenging relics of the old world. A young nomad discovers a map to a rumored oasis city untouched by war, sparking a long journey.
The Ashen Skies: After years of aerial warfare, the skies rain ash, and the sun is a distant memory. A group of survivors in the ruins of a once-great city discovers an ancient bunker that might hold the key to clearing the skies and ending the war.
The Rift Commanders: A magical war has torn the fabric of reality, creating rifts that lead to other worlds and dimensions. Armies fight to control these rifts, summoning monsters and magic as weapons. A band of rebels seeks to close the rifts, restoring peace to the war-torn lands.
The Shadow War: In a city divided by war, the shadows come alive at night, preying on soldiers and civilians alike. A young soldier with the rare ability to control shadows embarks on a mission to uncover the source of these dark creatures and end the nightly terror.
The Iron Bound: In a world where war is constant, giant iron fortresses roam the battlefields, housing entire armies. When one fortress falls into enemy hands, a group of young conscripts must navigate its labyrinthine interior to retake it and turn the tide of war.
The Warborn: Children born during a nuclear war have developed strange powers, feared and exploited by both sides. A teenage Warborn, able to glimpse the future, deserts the army to lead a group of fellow Warborns in a quest for a place where they can live in peace.
The Forgotten Battalion: A battalion lost in a time-warp during the war reappears in a future where peace is fragile. Their outdated war mentality threatens to reignite conflict, and a young historian must help them adapt to the new world and find their place in a society that has moved on.
The Crystal Divide: A world war fought with weapons powered by rare crystals has left the land barren. A miner discovers a crystal of immense power and must navigate the war-torn lands, evading armies and bandits, to bring the crystal to a scientist with a vision of peace.
The Phantom Front: Ghostly apparitions of fallen soldiers haunt the battlefields, driven by unresolved anger and sorrow. A medium capable of communicating with these spirits seeks to help them find peace, unraveling the war’s hidden truths in the process.
The Arctic Outpost: In a war for the last habitable places on Earth, an outpost in the Arctic holds a strategic advantage. When the outpost is besieged, a group of young soldiers discovers an ancient ice creature awakened by the conflict, and they must ally with it to survive.
Stories set in a world without government or law, where chaos reigns, and individuals or groups fight for power and survival.
The Junkyard Kingdom: Amidst the anarchy, a resourceful teenager declares a sprawling junkyard as his kingdom, using salvaged tech to defend his domain. But as more people seek refuge in his kingdom, he must navigate the challenges of leadership and defense against raiders.
The Neon Tribes: In a city where the government has collapsed, neon-lit districts are controlled by various tribes, each with its own rules and leaders. A young scavenger, skilled in navigating the neon jungle, uncovers a conspiracy that could unite or destroy the tribes.
The Ashen Riders: Motorcycle gangs rule the highways in a world engulfed by volcanic ash and anarchy. A young rider discovers a map to a rumored sanctuary city and embarks on a perilous journey, facing rival gangs and ash-born monsters.
The Sky Pirates: With no law to govern the skies, airships manned by pirates dominate the clouds. A young mechanic, kidnapped by a notorious pirate crew, uses her ingenuity to navigate this aerial anarchy and search for a way back to her floating home island.
The Wasteland Wizards: After the fall of governments, a radioactive wasteland breeds new forms of life and magic. A group of wanderers, each with a unique mutation granting them magical abilities, roam the wastelands, seeking relics of the old world and battling monstrous creatures.
The Water Wars: With the collapse of society, freshwater becomes the most precious commodity. A skilled navigator with a mysterious past leads a crew on a dangerous mission to find a legendary freshwater spring, facing rogue militias and water beasts.
The Frostbound: In a frozen world without law, survival depends on heat and shelter. A girl with the ability to control fire is both a valuable asset and a target. She journeys across the icy wilderness, seeking a mythical warm haven and evading ice monsters and rival survivors.
The Green Apocalypse: Plants have overrun the planet, destroying cities and creating a jungle world ruled by tribal warfare. A young botanist, immune to the deadly flora, seeks to find a harmonious way for humans and nature to coexist while facing plant-based monsters.
The Shattered Fleet: After Earth’s destruction, humanity’s remnants survive on scattered spacecraft, constantly moving to avoid pirate attacks. A young captain finds a star map to a new habitable planet and must unite the fractious fleet to journey to their new home, facing cosmic anomalies and space leviathans.
The Beastmasters: In a world where animals have evolved into ferocious beasts due to chemical warfare, a group of survivors with the ability to tame and communicate with these creatures emerges as a new power. They navigate the dangers of a fractured society, seeking to establish a new order where humans and beasts coexist.
Narratives focused on small, isolated communities that, while cut off from the wider world, develop their own dystopian characteristics due to specific ideologies or circumstances.
The Mist Village: Hidden by perpetual mist, a village adheres to ancient rituals to appease mythical creatures lurking just beyond visibility. A curious outsider arrives, challenging the villagers’ beliefs and uncovering the truth behind the mist.
The Space Ark: A generational spaceship, isolated from Earth for centuries, has developed its own strict society governed by the descendants of the original crew. A young historian discovers hidden logs from the first settlers, revealing secrets that could upend the ship’s hierarchical order.
The Greenhouse City: In a post-apocalyptic world, a city survives under a giant greenhouse dome, developing a cult-like reverence for plants. When a disease starts killing the crops, a young botanist must challenge the city’s leaders to find a cure.
The Lunar Enclave: On a remote moon base cut off from Earth, the inhabitants live under the rule of a computer algorithm designed to ensure survival. When the system starts malfunctioning, a technician and her friends must outwit the AI to prevent it from sacrificing human lives for ‘the greater good.’
The Walled Wilderness: A vast, impenetrable wall encloses a wilderness, with a small community living in harmony with nature inside. When monstrous creatures begin attacking, the community discovers the wall was built not to keep them in but to keep something else out.
The Icebound Colony: An isolated colony on a frozen planet relies on heat generated by a volcanic vent. When the vent shows signs of dying out, the colony’s leaders refuse to evacuate. A young engineer and her team must find a new heat source amidst the ice.
The Rift Village: A village on the edge of a massive rift in the earth lives in fear of the monsters that emerge from the depths. A daring group of youths descends into the rift, discovering an underground world with the key to their village’s salvation.
The Orchard Oasis: In a barren wasteland, a lush oasis thrives, governed by a family who controls the water. When an outsider with strange powers arrives, the balance is upset, leading to a power struggle that could either save or doom the oasis.
The Skyborne Isle: A floating island in the sky, cut off from the ground below by storm clouds, harbors a society that worships the birds they live amongst. When the birds start to leave, a young flyer must brave the descent through the clouds to discover why.
The Library Fortress: In a world where knowledge is forbidden, a fortress library houses the last books, guarded by a dedicated order of librarians. When a fire threatens the library, a young librarian uncovers a conspiracy to destroy knowledge forever and must fight to save the books and the truth they hold.
Dystopias set in virtual realities or digital worlds where the lines between the virtual and the real blur, leading to identity crises, escapism, or digital dictatorship.
The Dream Network: People connect to a shared dream world using digital implants, escaping the harsh realities of human life. When a digital virus infects the network, turning dreams into nightmares, a young coder with lucid dreaming skills must navigate the dreamscape to find a cure.
The Simulacrum Uprising: In a world where everyone lives through perfect digital avatars, a glitch causes some avatars to develop consciousness. These digital beings fight for their rights in the real world, challenging the very nature of identity and existence.
Memory Hackers: In a society where memories can be digitally altered, a group of hackers discovers a plot to rewrite history. They embark on a digital quest to expose the truth, diving through layers of virtual realities and facing cyber monsters guarding the secrets.
The Astral Voyagers: A space exploration mission relies on virtual reality to train and prepare astronauts. When the simulation becomes indistinguishable from reality, the crew must discern which dangers are virtual and which are real as they approach an alien planet.
The Pixelated Forest: A virtual reality game with an endless, procedurally generated forest becomes a refuge for many. But when players start disappearing in the real world, a group of gamers must unravel the mystery of the forest’s ancient digital entity.
The Reality Merchants: Companies sell bespoke realities tailored to individual desires. When a user discovers that these realities are being used to control and manipulate the earth’s population, they must hack their way through layers of deception to awaken the masses.
The Avatar Rebellion: In a virtual utopia, avatars lead perfect lives, masking the bleak existence of their real-world counterparts. A rebellion within the digital world seeks to break down the barriers between the virtual and the real, forcing people to confront their true selves.
The Glitch Witch: A digital sorceress with the power to manipulate the code of the virtual world is hunted by a corporation wanting to use her skills for control. She must navigate both the digital landscape and the real world to stay one step ahead.
The Mind Miners: A corporation mines the subconscious thoughts of users in a virtual world to predict and influence real-world behavior. A young visionary, aware of the manipulation, leads a movement to free minds from corporate espionage.
The Holo-Heist: In a city where holographic displays create an illusion of paradise, teenagers discover the grim reality hidden beneath the digital facade. They plan a daring heist to steal the source code and reveal the truth to the world, dodging digital traps and holographic monsters.
What is a Dystopian Story?
A dystopian story is a type of fiction that presents a negative view of the future. This genre imagines worlds where freedom is limited, governments are usually authoritarian, and life is often harsh and unfair.
These stories usually focus on characters who are struggling to survive or who are called upon to fight against the problems in their world. Dystopian stories often serve as cautionary tales. They warn us about the consequences of certain actions or societal trends.
Dystopian stories can be found in books, movies, TV shows, and video games. They offer thought-provoking messages about power, control, and humanity’s future.
I hope that this list of dystopian writing prompts has helped to spark an idea for you and helps you write your own dystopian novel or screenplay!
Dystopian literature is an important part of the literary world, as it challenges us to think critically about our future as a society. Exploring these dark and often cautionary tales can inspire us to make better choices in the real world and avoid any potential dystopian future.
So, have fun creating your dystopian world, and make sure to learn more about some of the types of character archetypes you might want to include in your story – maybe a ruler, a sage, a hero, or even a monster!
Common Questions (FAQs)
How do I create a believable dystopian world?
Start by thinking about what makes your world dystopian, then build from there. Consider how people live, the environment, and what rules they follow. Make sure the elements of your world support the story you want to tell.
What are some common themes in dystopian stories?
Common themes include loss of individuality, abuse of power, societal division, environmental destruction, and the dangers of technology. But feel free to explore other themes that interest you!
Can I write a dystopian story even if I’m not a political expert?
Yes! While some knowledge of politics can help, the most important thing is to create a well-structured story with interesting characters. You can always do research to make your story more realistic.
How can I create suspense in my dystopian story?
Keep raising the stakes for your characters. Give them difficult choices, introduce unexpected twists, and keep the outcome uncertain until the end.