Are you writing a historical fiction novel set during the Victorian times? Do you need some Victorian era writing prompts to inspire you? Take a look at the 21 prompts below!
1. Just a Country Boy
A young man from a struggling rural community decides to move to the city to try his luck. How does he deal with the massive culture shock of the busy and grime-filled city and make a name for himself?
2. Steam Power
In the mid-1840s, as the railways extend across the country, it begins tearing through farmland and rural villages. A small village finds out that they are directly in the path of the construction of new railway tracks. How do they react to this news, and how do their lives start to change?
3. A Life of Service
Write a story from the perspective of a Victorian domestic servant. What is life like for them and what challenges do they face in a life of service? Are there ways to advance their life and career, or will they dream of opportunities elsewhere?
4. Nom de Plume
A young woman living in a conservative Victorian household dreams of becoming a writer. Despite her family’s objections, she secretly starts publishing her works under a pen name. Explore her journey as she balances her passion for writing with the constraints imposed by her society.
5. A Twist of Fate
A once affluent middle-class factory foreman finds themselves without a job and penniless when their place of work unexpectedly closes. Write about their struggles as they try to come to terms with their sudden loss of status and keep the threat of the workhouse at bay.
6. Far from Home
A young woman from a respectable family marries a British Army officer. She soon learns that he is being posted to be a governor in India and that she will accompany him. How does she deal with such a change in culture and homeland, while also navigating newly-married life?
7. A Ragtag Gang
In the heart of Victorian London, a group of urchins forms a tight-knit gang, surviving through petty theft and clever schemes. Write about their adventures and the strong bonds that develop between them as they navigate the harsh realities of life on the streets.
8. A Mutual Education
A rich, newly widowed woman decides to use her inheritance to set up a school for orphaned children. Being so far removed from the plight of her new charges, she has a rude awakening when she learns what life is truly like for these youngsters, as they learn to find common ground with each other.
9. An Invention for the Ages
A group of aspiring inventors strives to have their work featured at The Great Exhibition. What technologies do they try to invent, and how do their relationships change and develop as they realise that some of them are closer to success them others?
10. In Her Majesty’s Service
Write a story from the perspective of a lady in waiting for Queen Victoria. How does the mood of the palace and the monarch shift through various points in their life, from the early happy days to the loss of Prince Albert?
11. For the People
A member of the aristocracy becomes captivated by the burgeoning working-class movement and joins a secret society advocating for labor rights. Explore the conflicts and internal struggles they face as they navigate between their privileged background and newfound activism.
12. Life Through the Lens
A photographer becomes obsessed with capturing the essence of Victorian life through their camera lens. Describe their efforts to document both the grandeur and the struggles of everyday people during this era.
13. An Equal Education
A young governess is employed at a country manor home to educate and look after their son. Upon arriving, she realizes that the boy has an older sister, who is denied the same education as her sibling. Write about how the governess attempts to give this girl an education and their burgeoning sisterhood.
14. The Overlooked and Unseen
An ambitious journalist investigates a series of mysterious disappearances in the London slums. Uncover the dark underworld of crime and the secrets they unearth as they get closer to the truth, as well as how their story is received by their colleagues.
15. Avant-Garde Ambitions
A group of artists forms an unconventional artistic movement that challenges the traditional norms of Victorian art. Describe their artistic vision, the controversies they stir, and their struggle for acceptance in the conservative art world.
16. An Insect’s Insignificance
A young woman with a passion for entomology defies gender norms by pursuing a career as a professional scientist. Explore her struggles to gain recognition in a male-dominated field and her groundbreaking discoveries in the study of insects.
17. The Search for Better Treatment
A young doctor working at a mental institution begins reading about new psychiatric treatments that go against anything else that had been practiced at the time. How does he convince the older staff at the hospital that they may actually be able to cure some of their residents?
18. Love Across the Class Divide
In a society dominated by rigid class distinctions, two individuals from vastly different social backgrounds fall in love. Describe the challenges they face in navigating the complexities of their relationship, highlighting the class struggles and societal expectations of the Victorian era.
19. The Empire’s Reach
Write from the perspective of a British soldier stationed in a distant colony during the height of the British Empire. Detail the challenges faced by the soldier, the cultural clashes, and their reflections on the empire’s impact on native populations.
20. Finding True Medium
A group of spiritualists claims to communicate with departed souls. Write about a skeptical journalist assigned to debunk their practices but who, during the investigation, starts experiencing unexplained phenomena that challenge their beliefs.
21. Fight for Your Rights
In the late 1890s, a group of suffragettes takes their cause to the streets, organizing rallies and protests to fight for women’s rights. Write about their courageous actions and the opposition they face from the patriarchal establishment and from fellow women too ingrained in their old-world views.