This was originally going to be a collection of dystopian writing prompts, but I realized that we’ve already got plenty of dystopia to work with. Besides, I’m dying to have more cozy fantasy books in my life. So here, have some cozy fantasy creative writing prompts instead.

Let’s begin.

 

What is Cozy Fantasy?

The cozy fantasy genre is sort of what it sounds like: fantasy meant to be read while curled up with your cat in bed on a rainy day. But if we want to get specific, it tends to be fantasy with more “feel good” vibes, far less doom and gloom, and (generally) far less stress for the reader.

That’s not to say it can’t get intense, but there’s a lot more fluffy and comedic moments. And the stakes usually don’t make you fear that your favorite character will end up horribly maimed and left dismembered on the battlefield somewhere. So that’s nice.

If you like books like Legends & Lattes and The House in the Cerulean Sea and would like to write some cozy fantasy yourself, then this post is for you!

 

1. Monster University (no, not that one)

knight sky with a full moon taking up the night sky; gates leading to a gothic academy with several figures in the foreground

I have had this discussion with friends before: we need more fantasy set after high school. So why not write a cozy fantasy set in a monster university?

Writing Prompt: Write about a monster university. What kinds of monsters might you find attending this university? What kinds of classes can one enroll in? How does the university accommodate various species of students and staff? What’s the best hangout spot to have cute romance scenes or cozy bonding moments between characters? What is the relationship between species? What might threaten the university and/or the students? Which characters can I ship the hell out of?

Variations: 

  • Write about an underwater university, attended by merfolk, selkies, sirens, cecaelia, etc. What happens when these water-dwelling students see the surface world for the first time?
  • Write about a university staffed and attended by nocturnal creatures (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, etc). What happens when a human is admitted for the first time?
  • Write about a university for aspiring dark lords/ladies. Why are our intrepid heroes (villains) attending this school, and are they as “villainous” as the world thinks they are? Is there an alternative school for aspiring heroes?

 

2. The Magic Pet Shop/Animal Rescue

cozy fantasy pet shop; tall windows letting in sunlight and reflecting vibrant colors in a large room

Writing Prompt: Write about a cozy, magical pet shop. What kind of animals are bought and sold here? How are they cared for? What kind of pets appeal to what kinds of customers (for example: what magic pet would parents get for an eager child? Or what pet would someone get for protection? Support animal?)? Do you need to be a magic user or supernatural being of some kind to be able to handle magical animals? Are magic pet shops considered unethical compared to reputable breeders or rescue organizations?

Variations: 

  • In this fantasy world, strange creatures appear from other dimensions. Oddly enough, most of these interdimensional beings are docile, even friendly. Write about a pet shop that provides a home to these wayward animals.
  • Write about a magical pet rescue that must contend with unethical breeders, pet shops, and poachers. What happens when you mass breed dragons to be smaller and cuter, and remove their flame glands so they can no longer breathe fire? Or declaw a gryphon and clip its wings? Or remove a unicorn’s horn to sell on the black market?
  • Write about a young, ambitious mage who aspires to be the most powerful battlemage the realm has ever seen. They’re pretty disappointed and insulted, then, when their academy assigns them to volunteer at a magic animal rescue of all things!

 

3. Maintaining the Masquerade

full moon slightly concealed by clouds over the city of LA

Writing Prompt: In urban fantasy, the masquerade is the hidden existence of supernatural beings, a completely different reality that the average human knows nothing about.

Write about an alternate Earth in which the masquerade is in place. How does monster society collectively keep their true nature a secret? How can humans see past whatever magical glamour keeps them blind to reality? Are there any organizations, human or monster, that exist to help keep the secret? What are some possible consequences of the masquerade being uncovered?

Variations: 

  • Write about a normal human who can suddenly see through the masquerade. What happens when they encounter magic for the first time? How does their life change, and what dangers do they face now that they know something they shouldn’t?
  • Write a cozy fantasy love story about a monster who falls for a human, but must keep their true nature a secret from them. What happens when the human inevitably learns the truth?
  • Subvert this trope entirely: write about an alternate universe where monsters exist, but there is no masquerade. How do you think human society would change or evolve over time if we lived alongside magical beings?

 

4. Library of Magic (or The Spellbookshop)

man standing in a mysterious, magical library; bookshelves and stray sheets of paper float around him, sunlight streaming in from the window; cozy fantasy library

Writing Prompt: Write about a magical library or hidden archive. What kind of books can you find here? What secrets might you learn? Knowledge is power, but what happens when knowledge is literally power?

Variations:

  • Write about an average, everyday person who just so happens to be an expert in arcane languages and runs a spellbookshop. What kind of strange, magical characters do they run into? What’s the rarest book in their inventory, and what kind of unsavory characters might seek it out?
  • Write about a library that stocks books across time and space. What might be dangerous about reading lost literature from a thousand years ago, or a book that won’t be published for another five hundred years?
  • Write about a mysterious bookstore that can sell you a biography of your own life—past, present, and future. What price would you have to pay to know every detail of your life?

 

5. Night Creatures, But Make It Cozy

digital illustration of a gothic fantasy town at sunset

Writing Prompt: Write a cozy fantasy about typically less-than-cozy creatures. Think trolls, demons, orcs, goblins, zombies, and so on.

Variations: 

  • Write about the zombie apocalypse, except being a zombie is actually pretty chill. What is life like for the survivors? How does it feel to be a zombie, and how might it be different from the hellish half-existence we usually imagine it to be?
  • Write about a lich who uses their incredible magic power and boundless knowledge, not to rule or destroy the world, but to aid their fellow magical beings.
  • Write about a demon who accepts contracts from mortals, with one caveat: they refuse to do anyone any harm. What do their fellow demons think of them? Why do they stand by this moral code when other demons do not?

 

6. Godly Power

A thin, long-haired spearman warrior stands on a column in the chaos of the ruins of an ancient hellish city. Huge magic cubes float in the air to merge into one point under the huge yellow sun 2d art

Writing Prompt: Write a cozy fantasy about a godly being. What kind of challenges would someone with complete omnipotence have? Do gods ever get lonely? How do they feel about mortals, and other gods? Do they have rivals, or risks to their power?

Variations: 

  • Write about a lonely god/goddess who is feared and hated because of their affinity (death, war, plague, chaos, etc, etc), and believed to be a horrifying monster. In reality, they’re a sweet little cinnamon roll who just wants someone to love them.
  • Write about an ancient god who realizes they want to change their affinity to something else. Can they do that, and how?
  • Write about a god who is madly in love with a mortal. Slight problem: the mortal they’re in love with worships their biggest rival.

 

7. The Magic Preservationists

Wizard's Desk. A desk lit by candle light. A human skull, old books, a goblet, and potion bottles also present. A hand writes with a feather quill pen. Thick fog flows from a goblet. Focus on skull.

Writing Prompt: Write about a magical organization and its efforts to locate, study, and preserve lost relics, magic, landmarks, documents, artwork, etc, etc.

Variations: 

  • Write about a researcher who specializes in locating and documenting powerful magical artifacts. What happens when they finally have a lead to the artifact they’ve been seeking their whole career? What is the artifact, and what is it capable of? Why does your protagonist want it so badly?
  • Write about an organization that exists solely to locate and document portals that have manifested over the millennia. Where do these portals go?
  • Write about a mysterious series of magical paintings that periodically come to life. Who created these paintings, and how far would one go to find them?

 

8. Larger Than Life

digital painting of a shadowy giant moving towards a lone cabin with a man standing in front of it

Writing Prompt: Write about giants. How tall are they? Are they friendly? How do they interact with the smaller species, if at all?

Variations: 

  • Write a Gulliver’s Travels-esque story about an intrepid explorer encountering a world much like our own—except everyone is roughly 50 feet tall.
  • Write about a normal human raised by a family of giants. Is it normal for humans to live alongside their much larger counterparts? What kinds of challenges might one encounter? How are they treated by their peers?
  • Write about a peaceful village of giants that remains isolated from the smaller folk. What happens when their village is uncovered?

About the Author

  • The Angry Noodle

    Bryanna Gary is the founder of The Angry Noodle and an editorial assistant at Del Rey Books, sci-fi and fantasy imprint at Penguin Random House. She is very smol and noodly, and also dipped in pasta sauce.

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