Sci-Fi Short Story Time Travel Prompts For Creative Writing

Sci-Fi Short Story Time Travel Prompts For Creative Writing

We all love a good time travel story. So, in conjunction with our how to write a sci-fi short story blog post, I have forged this list of time travel prompts for creative writing. However, unlike Lore's other writing prompt lists, this list has the aim of serving the time travel sub-genre only. I wanted to build out our resource list for writing sci-fi short stories. 

And so it was a question of where to begin and I decided that it felt that the time travel sub-genre, while very popular, has a surprising lack of writer prompts out there.

So, if you are a budding sci-fi writer or a veteran of the genre, get your notepad out! It is time to get imaginative with our creative writing prompts. 


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Prompts For Creative Writing - Let's Tell Those Stories

Let's not dilly-dally, let's delve!

Prompt One:
Imagine you are a scientist. The year is 2008, September 10th to be precise. Decades of work and research have led to this point and now the Large Hadron Collider is ready for use. You, and the scientists alongside you, are about to switch it on for the first time. The start up sequence is ready, and all that remains is to push a button that will run the code to start it.
However, as you go to press the button, a strange light emits from the corner of the room as...

Prompt Two:
You come home after a long day of work. The cat is meowing for good, which you quickly provide. Your keys and phone were left on the coffee table - that you make sure to keep squeaky clean - and so you go back through to retrieve them. Upon reaching your table you find a sticky note stuck to your phone's screen. All it reads is, "Wednesday, 13:03, Centre Square Gardens. Come alone."

Prompt Three:
The year is 2154. Time travel is common place, but highly regulated. Only authorized governmental institutions can legally time travel. However, time travel comes at a cost in that whole people and massive objects can travel to the future, but only information can travel back to the past. Why? How does this play a role in your story?

Prompt Four:
You wake up in a field. The last thing you remember is being on a night out, hilariously drunk, in the local town centre. As you stand up to take in your surroundings, your head is throbbing and your eyes are painful beyond belief. Despite all this, the one thing that grabs your attention is the smouldering spitfire in the middle of the field...

Prompt Five:
As an inside joke between yourself and another physicist, you mail out an invitation for time travellers to help solve your equations. You mail this out to publications, who agree to publish it, and do so two years after the meeting date next Tuesday.
You wait, not expecting much. You forget on the lead up to the day, but are woken at the crack of dawn by a chap on your door. Irritated, you go down to answer it to find a young woman standing in the door way. You ask her what she wants, and she replies...

Prompt Six:
The year is 2062, and the first 'human time capsule' is being prepared. Obeying the laws of relativity, it will propel two-hundred people around the solar system at 99% the speed of light for sixteen years. This will allow them to travel to the 'future' relativistically. You sit of your sofa holding an invitation.

Prompt Seven:
You are in the city, at a coffee shop, just about to take a sip of the Mocha you just ordered. As you take a seat, you notice a sudden flash as day turns to night - almost as if someone flicked a switch. You coffee is cold, the store is empty, and the doors are locked tight. You look outside to find out it is indeed night. The first thing you do is...

Prompt Eight:
Imagine a world where, for some reason, the Northern hemisphere is moving forwards in time and the Southern Hemisphere backwards in time - relative to the passage of time for the Sun. Why is this the case? What happens when you cross hemi-spheres? How does the world operate? Use you imagination and explore how such a world would function - and why it would be able to function if at all.

Prompt Nine:
You are hiking in the mountain ranges of Nepal when you come across what seems to be ancient ruins. Excited, you decide to explore them with your significant other. As you approach, you notice the clouds around you being to speed up. But not just the clouds; everything is speeding up. You stop for a moment to check your watch and realise that for every second you stand there, ten seconds is passing for the outside world.
Curious, you both take another few steps forward and find that the world around you is speeding up - just not for you. What do you do?

Prompt Ten:
You go to sleep like it is a normal night. You rest your head on your pillow and close your eyes. The next thing you know, you jolt awake as if you had just been falling from the sky. However, you wake up in your body ten years ago. You go to sit up when...

Writer Prompts: Conclusion

So, I hope these time travel short story writer prompts will be of use! While some of them introduce time travel in a very similar way, I wanted to build individual situations and ideas for you to use as a spring board into your story.

As I mentioned above, this prompt list was written alongside another article on Sci-Fi short stories and time travel; you can read that here. In the article, I explore writing about time travel and some things to consider - especially for short stories.

This article was written by Stewart Storrar; a professional writer, poet, and avid storyteller from Glasgow, Scotland. You can find more work from him on Twitter, and follow his other passions on YouTube.

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