Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fantasy Writing Prompts

Article by Ty Hulse

Writing prompts based the cats of
mythology and fairytales.

Story ideas that come from different cultures, folklore, and folk religion can help you gain fresh perspective and create richer more engaging fantasy worlds.
Raven's Shires Art Ideas and Insperation

This idea is based on an actual Japanese folk tale, in which
a cat protects a young girl from a yokai that seeks to devour her.

Fantasy Writing Prompts from Micro Fantasy Tales

Spruce Prigs
The spruce prigs were a group of young thieves who were trained in manners so that they could pretend to work as footman and valets for the very wealthy in London, or even pass themselves off as upper class in order to attend balls, operas, art galleries, poetry readings, plays and other events with the richest marks.'

A few odd and interesting points;
During the Early Victorian Era venting of emotions, especially crying became not only acceptable, it became desirable for both men and woman to do so in public. Thus many would seek out art which would allow them to do this which is one reason why poetry, galleries and theatre grew in popularity.
In reaction to the overuse of emotions many went to the opposite extreme and refused to show extreme emotions or ever cry in public.
Because of farming in the United States and Australia the prices of food dropped rapidly. This meant the nobility, the landowners who earned money off of tenant farmers were beginning to loose money and political power, so much so that Edward the VII (Victoria's son) began to spend time with both Jewish and American businessmen which the aristocrats hated. 
Additional ideas
Have this take place in a fantasy world where slavery still exists, and have the Prigs free slaves from the wealthy.

Have them be spies for an underground rebellion group, or have them searching for specific items that are magical in nature.

6 Writing Prompts about shepherds in fairyland

In the tales of the Mari-El people of Russia the Catkən were people died alone in the forest. They were trapped in the area they’d died until they killed another person. Although they were dead they were much like a person, except they had a cloak that turned them invisible and allowed them to confuse people so that the person would get lost allowing the Catkən to kill them.

Write the story of a person who becomes a Catkən and tries to resist killing for a while but eventually after suffering for a time gives in to the desire to be free.

Fantasy Writing Prompts from Dragon Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales are a great source for writing prompts. Check out some based on tales with dragons.

Escape From Ireland
When he was a teenager St. Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave, after six years he managed to escape and return home. Only many years later would he return to Ireland as a missionary.
What if all the fairies and other creatures of Irish myth had been running around during his escape?
Write a story about a group of children and or fairly ordinary people trying to escape slavery in a distant land. Unlike many fantasy stories this tale wouldn’t be about combat, but about hiding and working to avoid goblins, giants, as well as whatever other dangers might inhabit it. This tale would also involve and receiving help from various good entities.

The Thunder Kami’s Blessing
In one Japanese tale a thunder kami fell from the sky and landed in a farmers field. The farmer realizing that this was an opportunity threatened to kill the thunder kami with his farm implement unless the kami made his prodigy great. So the thunder kami promised that the farmers son would be the strongest person in the world.
Rather than simply fated this mans child was blessed with strength because his father wanted this. Why was his father willing to risk his life to make an unborn soon strong? How would risking his life to gain this gift for his son alter the dynamics of the father son relationship?
More than simply a story about a child who is born strong, or a child who was fated to be something great this is the story of a father who threatened fate and the child which resulted from this. Thus this is about a father who wants to overthrow a warlord, or who wants revenge, or is part of a peasant uprising or lives in a land in turmoil, or wishes he had been a hero or used to be a hero himself but has grown too old.
This is also the tale of a person who had these expectations placed upon them, not because of some obscure prophecy but because their father took charge.

The Sheriff
Write a story about a Medieval sheriff.
In Medieval England Sheriff’s were appointed by the king to keep his peace, especially during the times when he was out of country.
Write the story of a sheriff who is trying to keep the kings peace, this includes dealing with normal criminals such as bandits, it also includes dealing with nobility which conspires against the crown, spies from foreign countries.
In a fantasy world this could also include dealing with real witches, wizards, giants, and so forth.

Whispers After the Kings Death
Write a series of conversations between different conspiring nobles in the corridors of a castle where their king lays dying.

Give your typical fantasy adventure a twist, by turning it into a horror story.

After Waking
Sleeping Beauty and her kingdom had been asleep for centuries. All the kingdoms around them had not only all changed they had assumed that the kingdom Sleeping Beauty's kingdom lived in was really an unobtainable wilderness.
Write a story about this new kingdom which shows up out of nowhere and how it would impact the politics of the region in which it awakens.

The Doctor Who Became a Mage
Nostradamus was a doctor whose family died in the plague. Grief stricken at his failure to save them he realized how little he knew, so he set out to learn forbidden secrets.

The Soldier and the Haunted Factory
A modern day veteran who now doesn't have a job spends the night in an abandoned factory where he encounters an evil spirit that either came from the blight on the city he is in or helped to cause it. In most fairy tales the veteran gets rid of the evil spirit and so gets money or the thanks of the people and lives happily ever after. However, in the modern day the rights to the factory wouldn’t revert to a homeless veteran because he got rid of a ghost and people might not even believe that he got rid of the ghost. So how or even if this tale would end happily ever after is entirely up in the air.

Kill the Fext
Imagine undead or supernatural beings which love war and violence. In order to propagate this violence they pretend to be people so that they can be the generals on all sides of a never ending war. Pushing the people who don’t know who these beings are to fight each other without end and with no other purpose than the amusement of these immortal beings.
Write the story of a massive war involving numerous sides, ever changing battle lines, crosses and double crosses in which a small group is trying to hunt down and kill these immortal generals to end the war.
In this case killing these beings should involve something strange like the need to use a glass bullet to kill them.

The Tutelary Spirit
Create some sort of tutelary spirit, kami or deity. Give it a personality and quarks. Than create festivals and religious ceremonies around these.
Further information;
The tutelary kami is what defined the nature of many of the local festivals in Japan’s past. For it was believed that in order to have a good harvest and continued fortune people needed to draw the mountain kami down into the rice paddies. To do this they held festivals in the kami’s honor and or to lure them to the excitement of the event. Such festivals were also designed to build a relationship with the kami.
Far from being ubiquitous each set of kami had their own personality and could even be a completely different type of being. In the story of the ‘Mountain Kami and the Ugly Fish’ a kami who was extremely sensitive and easily embarrassed discovered he was ugly and so fled up into the mountains to hide. Without his presence the plants began to wither and die, until the people of the village figured out how to get him to come back down. (read the Story)
In one village the woman would wear only loincloths and tell dirty jokes when they planted the rice in order to get the mountain kami to come into the field to watch and listen to them.
In yet another story an old farmer and his grandfather had to walk high into the mountains and wake the rain causing kami which was sleeping within a rock it had possessed. Because this kami had overslept people would do things to insure he was awake when they prayed to him. (Read the Story)
In still another case people offer the mountain kami rice porridge because she is said to have lots of children whom she has difficulty feeding. This is in part based on the fairly common motif that many mountain kami have one child for each month of the year.
In yet another story the spirit of a bear was said to reside in a rock. This spirit protected the village, travelers around the village and would make it easier to push or pull a heavy cart up a hill. (Read the Story)
In some parts of Europe people believed that the field spirit lived within the last sheaf of grain and so would make this into a straw figure with which all the men would dance at the harvest festival in order to show their appreciation (when the spirit manifested as a female).
In other cased field spirits could appear as predatory animals such as wolves and so people needed to be careful when entering the field. Further they might keep this field spirit in the barn to keep it from escaping into the wilderness in the winter.

Goldilocks and the Three Mobsters
Write a story set in the twenties about a poor girl who enters a house in the woods in search of food. Only the house turns out to be the hideout of three rich mobster.

The Syndicates Tunnels
Two organized crime syndicates are digging tunnels to hide their opium dens and money in when they run into each other. Each of these syndicates has thousands of passages. With so many tunnels and secret passages it is dangerous for one to enter the others tunnels but with the entire wealth of the other syndicate within easy reach and the hatred between     the two the temptation might just be too great.

The Knight of the Manor
What if instead of taking the villagers money without really providing protection the knight of the village manor really does have to deal with goblins, dragons, als, boggarts, giants, ettins, and other things that plague a small village.

Poor Soldiers
Up through the 19th century in Europe soldiers would be hired for long campaigns away from home, than when they retired they would have to return home with very little money. This is one reason their are so many folk tales about former soldiers traveling poor through the countryside. Write a story about some poor soldiers returning home together but rather than the story of heroes this is an ambiguous tale. These soldiers though they still have human compassion are bitter, and depret. With no money, traveling through strange lands they would steal peoples chickens, perhaps some money. At the same time they might do some odd jobs killing wolves or supernatural creatures in a fantasy world. They might even save people who needed saving.

The Fairy Godmother
How in the world did Cinderella's mother or father convince a fairy to become her Godmother? At some point before or immediately after she was born Cinderella’s parents met a fairy and asked this fairy to become their daughter's godmother. In the case of Godfather Death this occurred with the father, not knowing who could provide his poor son with decent support ran into Death and asked him to become his sons God Father.
The most common way to run into fairies in a positive way, however, is through the morality test in which they test a person to see if they are good, asking them to do work, share their bread, etc.
Another way in which fairies meet people is when they need a midwife for one of their number who is giving birth.

Kitsune Master
You save the life of a pregnant fox and provide it with food until its cubs are born, but you are saddened to see that one of these cubs is stillborn. As it turns out, however, this is because it’s spirit is now your ‘servant.’ Unfortunately it can only spy, steal or possess people in order to cause them to go insane or grow ill. You now have this great power, but it can only be used to harm people so how would you use it?
Equally important; how would you feel when you used it? After all believing that someone deserved to waste away and die in agony and causing them to do so are two different things.
The other challenge in this story is that Kitsune spirits are hard to control, they might possess people or steal items of their own accord. Often presuming this is what their master wants based on their masters feelings. Further if angered they might turn on their own master, and they like all such creatures can be very sensitive so banishing or scolding them could lead to its own set of problems.

A Single Loaf of Bread
In many fairy tales the hero has to go out into the world to seek their fortune with only a single loaf of bread. Imagine that you are getting ready to seek your fortune, to head out into the wide world with nothing but a loaf of bread. Write your feelings at that moment.

The Princess Murders Her Husband
The Princess hated the idea of marrying the Valiant Tailor, yet she had to, but she didn’t just accept her fate, nor did she run away, instead she tried to assassinate her husband.
Write about this from her perspective, of course in the fairy tale she failed but you can write this story either way.

The Unlikely Villain
In real life many if not many if not most of the major villains have not tragic back story, they were normal people who decided on their path. For example Al Capone’s Mother was seamstress, his Father was a barber and although he chose to be a violent child his first jobs were in candy stores and bowling alleys. Hitler was an artist who made greeting cards but who desired power.
Prompt 1
Write the scene of an Al Capone style figure working in a small store where people are rude to him and he earns very little money as he starts to realize he could earn more by robbing the people who are rude to him and the place he works.
Prompt 2
Write the history of an unlikely villain as they learn about the criminal underworld and begin to formulate a plan to take it over. (Read Jonathan Wild)
Prompt 3
Write the story of someone using skills they learned in their everyday job to commit a crime. (Read Jack Sheppard)
Prompt 4
We often forget that the idealist rebels worst enemy may be another rebel trying to become a tyrant. Write the story of someone opposing a dictator only to have the leader of another ‘freedom’ movement turn on them. (Read Ho Chi Minh)
Prompt 5
Write the story of an idealist who begins to feel that they deserve to be rewarded with power for the work that they are doing, or who feels that the other freedom fighters are less worthy than them. (Read Ho Chi Minh and Napoleon)
Prompt 6
Write the story of someone who works for a rebel leader and becomes conflicted after the rebel leader turns on the other rebels. (Read Ho Chi Minh)

Jonathan Wild - Inventor of the Double Cross
Jonathan was the first and for a short time one of the most powerful criminal kingpins in English history. He started out as a belt buckle makers apprentice, however. After spending some time in prison and meeting a prostitute/pickpocket he developed his plans to become a crime lord. His first series business was in ‘recovery.’ He opened offices and advertised that he could recover stolen goods of sentimental value. The person a wedding ring or painting of a family member was stolen from will pay a lot more for the  item than anyone else after all, and he pretended to recover these for the person, but in truth he knew the thieves who stole the item. This led him to learn who most of the thieves in London were. Those who wouldn’t do what he wanted, he captured and turned over for their bounties. At times he would even train pickpockets and then turn them in for the bounty.
In order to keep track of everything he had a listing of most of the criminals in Southern England, when he had enough information to get one of them convicted he would add a cross to their name, when he decided to turn them in he would add a second cross, or the double cross. Since most of these criminals worked for him he was really double crossing them. He managed to maintain his status (until he was eventually hanged) by making certain had enough information to get a conviction against nearly every other criminal and by double crossing any who might be able to oppose him.

A carpenter and lock smith Jack used these skills to become a master thief, one who would not pay the crime lord Wild a cut of his take. Because of this Wild went after him and he was put in prison, but he escaped. Captured again he was put in prison again, and chained down to the floor. He managed to pick the lock on his hands and then he twisted breaking a link on of the chain on his feet. Using this broken link he carved away the masonry around one of the bars on the window. 

Ho Chi Ming
Was a waiter among other things in New York and then in France who petitioned Woodrow Wilson to help Vietnam gain it’s freedom from France. During this time he began to speak with the communists as his thinking formed more and more along those lines. Throughout his revolutionary career he would help the French massacre all non-communist freedom movements in Vietnam in order to insure his own rise to power.
Unexpected Criminal - Based on Japanese Folk Life.
During the 1900’s the price of koi fish increased so much it became illegal to sell them.
Story Idea
Write the story of a poor tenant farmer who decides to supplement his income by stealing a koi and then tries to sell it.
A few points to keep in mind;
Japanese farmers tried to keep a years supply of food in storage in case of famines which were common.
People wouldn’t let their daughters marry a person who couldn’t keep this food supply as they didn’t want to see their daughters starve when a famine hit
In parts of rural Japan during the Meiji Era women would occasionally get divorced (Usually in their late teens or early twenties) and return home. Teenage boys and young men would often tell her a few jokes in the street to gauge interest, even traveling many miles to do this. If she laughed at their jokes it was a sign that she was interested and that night they would sneak into her house.
Sometimes they would pee on the runners of the sliding door so it wouldn't squeak when they opened it (so as not to alert the girls parents). They would than search for her by feeling the heads of the people her age in the house (boys had shaved heads). When they found her they'd crawl into bed with her and 'entertain' each other for a while. This would help some of them become very good and being stealthy, without having criminal intent.

Frosty House
A hundred years ago in Alaska people lived in underground homes and in the winter time the frost would grow on the ceiling and eventually it would drip water. When this happened they would have to clear everything out of the house and then chip the frost of the ceiling.
Write about someone who goes to bed after hunting all day and is tired and hungry when some of the ice water from the ceiling starts to drip on them.

The Bride in the Russian Bathhouse
Writing Prompt 1
Write a story about a teen girl, surrounded by her female friends and family as she gets her hair braided painfully, is nervous and excited.
Writing Prompt 2
Write the story of a girl in the bathhouse encountering one of the spirits within and makes a deal or angers the spirit.
Writing Prompt 3
Write a short story from the perspective of the spirit of the bathhouse while the bride is being prepared.
In Russia during the 1900’s a girl who was about to be married would have her hair done up in braids so tight they could make her head hurt. In many ways this was meant to symbolize her loss of freedom, to ‘bind’ her to the man she was about to marry.This meant even more than today marriage was an anxious time, mixed with a bit of excitement perhaps as all rights of passage are. For peasants this ritual was performed in the bath house a place where pictures of saints were not allowed as this place represented the old pagan temples.

The Good Wicked Stepmother
Write the story of a desperate stepmother, rather than a wicked one.
What if the stepmother only hated noblity and was a good queen. What happens if a the wicked step mother is beloved by the people?
Often times wicked stepmothers of fairy tales were people of lower station taken by the king because of their good looks alone. In history kings also often married woman for political reasons. Thus the purpose of the marriage could have been entirely political, imagine being a teenage girl traveling to a strange land and then being ignored by a husband you cheats on you.
"Queen Juana I of Castile (1479-1555) .... was born on November 6, 1479, as the second daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.   At the age of 16, Juana was betrothed to Philip the Handsome of Austria (1478-1506), only son of the Emperor Maximilian I.  For Philip the attraction to the beautiful, dark haired Juana was carnal and little more, but Juana became totally infatuated with her husband ..... his life mainly consisted of feasting, drinking and chasing women - and he had no intention to change his philandering ways. For Juana, however, only absolute togetherness would do. She was too young and inexperienced to realise that she expected too much from a politically arranged marriage.";wap2
Joanna was betrothed to Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy. The marriage was one of a set of family alliances between the Habsburgs and the Trastámaras designed to strengthen both against growing French power.
Joanna's life with Philip was rendered extremely unhappy by his infidelity and her political insecurity. He consistently attempted to usurp her legal birthrights to power. This led in no small part to rumors of her insanity, stoked by reports of her depressive or neurotic acts while she was imprisoned or manipulated by her husband Before her mother's death in 1504, the husband and wife were already living apart.
In this case one could even argue that the ‘wicked stepmother’ is trying to prevent her stepdaughter from being like her father.
Lucrezia Borgia was married at age 13 to Giovanni Sforza who was 27. However it didn’t take long for her family to decide that they didn’t need Sforza and that a better marriage could be arranged so her family planned to kill her husband. Lucrezia warned him of what was about to happen, however, giving him time to flee. Far from grateful to his young wife Giovanni used her as a political weapon, accusing her of inceast. Finally, however the marriage was annulled.
Girls in Medieval times marry as young as 12. Depending on how old Snow White is this might make them not only direct rivals for the throne but cause them to just annoy each other. Further since marriage was political its always possible that the girl in the marriage is under intense pressure from her family to betray her husband or worse, that he betrayed her first.
Desiderata of the Lombards
Was married to Charlemagne, who was her kingdoms political enemy. Charlemagne already had a wife, making Desiderata his second wife. Within a year she was accused by her husband for acting as a spy against him and war followed soon after.

The Prisoners Wishes
In the story of the "Tongue Cut Sparrow" a man saves the life of a little bird which turns out to have magical powers and which gives him many things in return for his aid. What if a prisoner is the one who saved the life of a similar bird?
To make this story interesting the things the bird grants should be small and limited in some way. For example the bird might not be able to do anything to the buildings metal bars. Perhaps it can only bring the prisoner small items.

The Fearless King
The boy in the fairy tale "The Boy Who Set Forth To Learn What Fear Was" was such a fool that he wasn’t able to be afraid, yet he was named the next king. So now the kingdom is stuck with a king who not only is a fool but isn’t afraid to be rude to other kings, to declare war, etc.
Write about what happens next.

Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga, a goddess who used to be the moon and or the wind is bitter, angry, she is the witch who eats children. Despite this she still had moments of goodness. In fairy tales when someone approached her boldly, called her ‘Granny,’ and asked her for aid she would provide it. As with other spirits of the natural elements such as the wind and frost she might be brutal but could suddenly feel a grandmotherly affection for someone.
Write this moment of personal change from Baba Yaga’s perspective.

The First Forest Spirit
In Primal forests before animals walked the earth “Absolute silence would reign in the cimmerian gloom no song of bird would be heard, no chirp of insect, nor rustle of leaf, for none of these things yet had being.”
Write about a spirit of the forest who was alive before animals began to walk on land and fly through the sky. Write their first encounter with animals eating at plants.
Write about this spirit being happy or angry about the changes which have occurred millions of years later.

Dracula the Hero
When the enemy hordes come to destroy everything a king loves, to kill the people he has sworn to protect what are the limits of what he might do to save his people? Vlad was not a villain per se, nor does his story seem to inspire anything like the most famous Dracula story.
Imagine instead a king or similar character within a leadership position whose people come under threat by a group like the Mongols, Romans, Ottomans, or some other entity which he cannot defeat. So to rescue their kingdom they find a way to turn themselves into a monster, making them both a hero and a villain for the rest of time.

Becoming a Ghost Town
At the beginning of the Medieval era the plague and wars drove or killed most people out of cities, leaving only a small section of what had once been thriving cities populated.
Imagine if this happened in a fantasy world, where field and house spirits in the abandoned parts of town became feral, ghosts rise up in the forests and empty parts of town and creatures creep into the empty sections of town.
Write a story about the people who stayed behind during the time these creatures begin to surround them, trapping them in a small section of town and a few fields where they are kept semi-safe by their tutorial and household spirits and charms that they place at their new boundaries to keep some of the ghosts out.

Teaching Humans the Arts
In the tales of many lands a magical being such as a nymph or rusalka teaches humans about weaving, metallurgy, agriculture and the arts. These beings tend to be very mischievous and at times even dangerous. The Rusalka for example appeared as a beautiful teen girl who would steal people’s souls, drown them, or even tickle them to death.
Writing Prompt
Write the story of some magical being teaching humans about the arts among other things from the magical beings perspective.

The Siege
During the Vis-Goth siege of Rome, which lasted two years, the people of Rome got so hungry that they wanted to buy the dead gladiators for food. In the end the Romans let the Vis-Goths in because they prefered slavery and defeat to starvation.
Writing Prompt 1
Write the story of a people so hungry and desperate they are beginning to consider letting raiders sack their city and carry them off into slavery.
Writing Prompt 2
Imagine if instead of waiting for death the Romans had spent a year training hard for combat and had been able to drive the Vis-Goths off. Write this story, and or the follow up story of the cities citizens going out to drive the barbarians from their lands after they defeat the Vis-Goths.

Man Gods
In many myths and folktales deities do not stand much greater than humanity. Thus instead of the stereo typical chess between deities these beings had to go out and make things happen.
Write a story about spirits with a limited set of powers going out to protect the people they support from evil spirits, attacking those they are against, and fighting against other deities or even human shamans, wizards or others who figure them out and try to oppose them. Be certain to include how they get worshipers and what they require from these worshippers.

The Gold Miner
Write the story of a gold panner who goes to Kemijärvi, Finland in order to try to tell people about something earth shattering which happened to him in the wilderness, but nobody believes him.

The Philosopher and the Diety
Write a story which takes place outside of Jingbian, China about a philosopher who traveled from a Western nation to search for enlightenment. After failing to find it as he assumed that China was more communist and less materialistic than it is, he runs out of the city. There he meets Mahākāla,

The Shaman During World War II
Writing the story of a Shaman in the Philippines who helps resist the Japanese occupation during world war two.
Include spirits such as the Caranget (nature spirits who are very protective of the land and which respond to a shamans whistles) and the Daikoku

The Old Witch
Write the story of some boys in Eastern Europe taking turns pretending to smoke because they think its funny to watch old people scold them. After a while, however, one of the older people turns out to be more than they bargained for.

Wizards Cabin Fever
Write the story of a wizard who is being held up in the cave in the mountains where they live by evil serpents who have magical powers and can change shape. Every time he tries to leave his cave these serpents thwart him, so he realizes that he has to wait for winter to escape, but before long he starts to go a stir crazy as cabin fever sets in. What would a wizard do to alleviate boredom and how desperate might he get?

The First Vampire
Unknown to most the first vampire was really a Neanderthal who is nearly a hundred thousand years old. How would he feel about the world of today?

The Nymphs Husband
In the folk religion of ancient Rome certain diviners were believed to be married to nymphs, and like the nymphs they lived in a cave in the forest. People would give them money for advice and they were said to be given many shamanistic like powers through the spirit of the nymph.

Write the story of old retired soldiers trying to help protect their village which has historically been safe from some new threat.

Supply Lines
Write the story of a group of soldiers who must sneak through the wilderness and make small raids in order to cut an enemy's supply lines.

The Witch Maker
Write about a magical being, such as a forest king, who seeks out girls who are unhappy and beaten by their husbands, or simply want a better life in order to train these women as witches and get them to serve magical being.

The Doughboy
In some parts of Russia people would attempt to strengthen or heal weak and crippled children by wrapping them in a special dough and putting them in the large oven which was heated just enough to make the dough rise but not hurt the child.(In parts of Russia people used these large ovens as a sort of sauna for Pregnant women or those about to be married as well).
Such folk magic could lead to the child being obstinate and running away. These children would  trust those they shouldn’t while not and not trusting those they should.
Write the story of parents who try to heal their crippled child only to have him turn into an     obstinate child.

Many Warlords
Dozens of small warlords attack a wealthy kingdom during a time of weakness but after looting most everything the warlords begin to fight each. This leaves them open as many weak targets for enterprising thieves or bandits. Write the story of bandits who begin to steal from these warlords.

Write the story of woodsmen who are both afraid of nature spirits  and wolves but are also protected by them from the other evils of the fantasy world in which they live.

Write the story of a person who goes on a pilgrimage around Japan.

Into the Swamps
Write the story of a people fleeing into the swamps where they found a village in order to avoid an invading force.
In a fantasy world, however, the swamp would be filled with more dangers than simply dirty water. 

False Knights
During the age of chivalry knights and lords had to be captured for ransom rather than killed. Have some peasants pretend to be knights during a war in order to be captured and gain access to a castle.
They might do this for revenge, to sabotage the castle from within, or to loot the place of it’s treasure.
Make some of these peasants carpenters and locksmiths so they can break out of prison.

Ninja Sabotage
Similar to the above have a group of ninjas creep into a castle in order to sabotage it with fire, poison, etc. This would be different from an assassination or combat tale as their goal would be to avoid encountering people who might alert the others to their presence.
Mischievous Sorcerers.
Sorcerers in folklore weren't the stoic brilliant learners that mages might have been. Rather they were mischief makers, much like the people who put tacks on chairs or slash someones tires. Write a story about this sorcerer who causes mischief such as; making people ill, causing husbands and wives to argue, draining cows of their milk or ruining crops.

Sorcerer's Recruit
Write about someone mischievous being recruited as a sorcerer in order to help alleviate the sorcerer’s loneliness while they play pranks.

Hunting the Sorcerer
Write the story of someone trying to hunt down a sorcerer which is plaguing a gossipy little village.

Cattle Drivers
Write the story of cattle drivers in a fantasy world

The Farmers Barn
Write the story of a farmer in a fantasy world who discovers that he has something dangerous roosting in his barn. So he calls up his neighbors and together they try to come up with a plan to get rid of it.

The protective spirit
Write the story of a tutelary spirit as it protects people going into the forest to pick berries, traveling to deliver goods, visit relatives, etc.

Spice Island
Write the story of a war between two major empires over some islands which are the only place where something extremely valuable grows. This valuable thing can be magical but it can also simply taste good, after all many expensive spices were merely delicious.
The island can have native populations, magical beings on and around it in the water, pirates to deal with, etc.
From History
When the Dutch and the English were fighting over territory there was only one source of Nutmeg in the world, and nutmeg was worth a lot (in the Victorian era Nutmeg sold for 90 Shillings a pound or about three weeks wages for the average workmen).
At first the English took control of these islands but a sabature for the Dutch helped the tide of the battle for these islands on them. The war for the island continued for a long time before an agreement was reached in which the Dutch gave up control of New York for the Islands.

The Ride
Write about a messenger riding across the countryside, warning villages and towns of an impending attack by an enemy nation which has wizards will stop and nothing but to stop the messenger from warning as many people as possible.

The Nursemaid
Tell the story of a nursemaid in a fantasy world where evil spirits really might snatch away a child.

Assassins Behind the Throne
Write the story of an assassin or assassins working for a woman who is the power behind the throne. This woman is an old lady who manipulates everyone, those she can't manipulate     she has killed including a number of kings and perspective kings over the years. Knowing the score new kings bend to her will at first but eventually get bolder as time goes on and that’s when she has them killed.
The assassins could be working for power of their own, money,idealism or some sense of loyalty or a combination thereof.

Shepherds Rebel
Write the story of a group of shepherds who begin to rebel against the status quo.
Remember in a fantasy world these shepherds would kill not only wolves and bandits but various monsters as well. They would also have observed a lot of attempted wilderness ambushes which probably would have given them a number of ideas. Although their numbers would be small.

The Money Fairy
There was a fairy in the Victorian Era who put money in the shoe of hard working maids and servants.... Imagine if there really was a fairy which put money in the shoes of hard working and nice people How would this change society?

The Prankster’s After Life
Write about a prankster who dies and becomes a ghost

The Spirit of the Furniture
When a tree is cut down it’s spirit goes on to live in a piece of furniture. Write a story about this tree spirit.

The Wizard’s Search
Write a story about a wizard who is looking for a wife in a world where wizards are very rare. How will he deal with being immortal and the fact that the girl isn’t magical? Will he just give up on finding a long term relationship and become a playboy, or will he find a new wife every time his previous one dies?

The Wife’s Secret
Write a story about a man unknowingly marries a girl whose family has snake spirits live with them, and so now he has a number of serpent kami living with him, causing mischief but also trying to help him.

Knowledge Smugglers
Write the story of people who seek out subversive books in order to smuggle these into their country.

Spirit of Smallpox
In Tuvan Lore shaman’s would see the spirit of smallpox as a beautiful red haired girl who would appear riding in their wagons. The first time the shaman saw this spirit she might be curious about it, but eventually they would realize how dangerous smallpox was. However, when the shaman tried to fight it off it would take on the form of a giant red bull and so it took many shamans to fight off the spirit of smallpox, if they could at all.
Write a story of a shaman when they first start to see the smallpox spirit, and perhaps some of their early attempts to communicate with this spirit.

The Rusalka
Write a horror story in which a rusalka is the one killing people.

Spirit Journey
Write a story about a shaman making a spirit journey for the first time.

Write about a shaman being possessed for the first time.

Vanished Sun
Write about a villages reactions when the sun vanishes after being stolen by some evil creature. You don’t need to tell the story of the sun being recovered, just of how people would act when the sun was stolen for a few days.
It’s important to keep in mind that without the sun in mythology it would be as cool as night, not completely frozen. Of course without the sun the ghosts would be able to come out at will.

The Jealous Ghost
In Folklore one of the most common monsters is the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth, the pain and sorrow of that moment having turned into rage. Write a story from this ghosts perspective.

The Death Portent
Write the story of someone who sees a death portent such as the Washerwoman, and so knows they only have a little while left to live.

Down the Chimney
Write about a child who lives next to a wilderness filled with fairies, ghosts, and other strange creatures when one of these creatures comes down the chimney to play with the child.

The Furious Dead
The scholar Sugawara no Michizane died shortly after he was was banished from Japan. It was believed that his spirit came back for revenge and began to cause a number of disasters. So the people worked to placate him and eventually his spirit became helpful and became the kami of education, Tenjin.
Write a story about the spirit of a person who was wronged in life and so starts out as a furious spirit but eventually becomes a kami.

The Sacrifice
At one time people would sacrifice someone to become the wife of a deity by throwing them into a river. Write the story about a person this happens too, only make the story of them becoming the wife of the deity or kami true.

The Hunter and the Mountain Kami
Write the story of a hunter who comes upon a mountain kami in need of their help.

The Fading
In “Fairy Faith in the Celtic Lands” someone says that pixies are the spirits of people who fled into the land and who shrink a little every time they use their magic. Eventually these pixies will vanish altogether.
Write a story about someone or a whole society of people who has magic, but who shrink a little every time they use it.

The Home.
Write the story of a home spirit who has to protect a pregnant woman from evil spirits which seek to harm her.

The Bandit King
Read What if instead of giving up after he failed the bandit king had continued to plot his revenge. What would he do to get it?

Becoming a Witch
In addition to fearing that witches would eat children there was also the fear that witches would try to recruit them. Write the story of some children who are left in the woods to starve and are recruited by a witch. What conflict would they feel over this?

The Musician’s Lament
A failed musician desperately tries to become successful when he hears the otherworldly music of fairies or some similar being coming from a park. By trying to imitate this music he is able to become massively famous and everyone thinks he’s one of the greatest musicians in history. But he feels like he a failure for every time he walks past the park he hears music much more beautiful than anything he can achieve.

The Nurse
A fairy whose wife is giving birth grabs a modern day nurse or doctor to help.

The House Fairy
Someone in the modern day gets a house fairy so every morning when they wake up something has been mysteriously cleaned. At first perhaps this is small enough that they just think they are getting forgetful but over time they begin to realize that something strange is going on.

Not Grandma
Write a scene in which Little Red Riding Hood realizes that the wolf is a wolf and not her grandmother at all. What does she do to try to escape?

The Princesses Hand
A clever peasant starts to complete all the tasks necessary to win the right to marry the princess. But some jealous princes aren’t going to take this lying down, and so they seek to thwart the peasant, by any means necessary.

The Brave Little Rebel
Have a story in which the brave taylor or some similar character joins a rebellion, rather than seeking the kings approval. So instead of tricking and killing the giants and other creatures they use them to attack the king’s men.

The Lone Wolf
Why is the 'Big Bad Wolf'' all alone? Write about what happened to his pack
The Exorcist Mystery

Write an exorcist story in which a warlock is purposely sending beings to possess people. How would the exorcist solve that crime while curing people?
For a twist how would the exorcist deal with this in the modern day given that evil witches aren’t considered criminals by a court of law?

The Animal Spirit
Write an exorcist story where the possession is being done by an animal and not a demon. How would an exorcist figure that out and deal with it?

Serial Killer Saves the World
Write a story about a serial killer who discovers a demonic plot and works to thwart it so so he can continue to be the scariest thing around.

Terror From a Bottle
Write about someone trying to capture a terrorist who finds a genies in a bottle.
To make this story more interesting have the genie be one of the weaker ones that can only aid the terrorist in a few limited ways.