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Prompts: Modern with Magic Settings…but in Suburbia

As we recruit authors for our first anthology, we thought it would be fun to do some prompts related to our modern-with-magic slice-of-life theme. With that in mind, we put together a prompt list about contemporary settings full of magic…but with all the weirdness of life in the suburbs (primarily US suburbs…). Enjoy, and if you write a story inspired by one of these, we’d love to see it!

  1. An EMT is secretly a necromancer. Everyone around them thinks they’re just really, really good at their job. No one finds out the truth until the EMT is in an accident, slips into a coma…and all their reanimated people collapse. Grief and hijinks and confusion ensue.
  2. Little shop of magical delights: To the untrained eye, this shop looks like a splendid candy wonderland. Only the initiated know of the other aisle, the one filled with mandrake infused liquorice, fairy dust sticks with real fairy dust and hard candy made with love, elderberries, and orichalcum.
  3. A technomancer creates an app that fuses magic with technology – it detects magical emergencies so that response teams can rush there, but sometimes it’s idea of what counts as an emergency is just a smidge skewed.
  4. In the basement of a dingy little used bookshop is the entrance to the underground inverted tower of the deity of lost words, who is looking for someone who can handle computers and the internet because they really need a better archiving system than an endless downwards spiraling tower built from letters and books.
  5. The van Humberts – who everyone knows are vampires – are in a constant feud with their next door neighbors the Johnsons – who everyone knows are werewolves. After all, vampires and werewolves never get along. Except actually the van Humberts and the Johnsons get along great, they just like to mess with people (don’t you dare call it “trolling,” trolls have made their position on the use of that term very clear!) and if they can cause problems for their most close-minded neighbors while they’re at it, so much the better.
  6. The last thing that the volunteer knight task force expects is for their suburb to be attacked by a dragon. Usually only cities have to deal with problems like that! Yet there’s the dragon, and they’re going to have to do something about it…well, that sounds terrifying…
  7. Suburban gardeners engage in a game of stunning front lawn one-ups-manship which escalates to creating a brand new micro-climate when all their rose bushes are still in full bloom in January. The homeowners association thinks this must be against the rules but can’t exactly figure out how.
  8. Sure, back in the day, people made deals with warlocks for many unseemly reasons, but not anymore…these days, all the upper middle class McMansion owners secretly consult the warlock in the tower in the swamp no one can afford to drain, offering him money and rare potion ingredients and whatever else he requests so that he’ll help their teens get a leg-up on college admissions.
  9. Increasingly strict licensing requirements need to be implemented because people, intentionally or inadvertently, keep selling dangerous enchanted items during their yard sales.
  10. Someone is building a strip mall. No one is sure who is building it. No one is sure where it’s being built. The community is split as everyone complains “not in my backyard!” Every time someone sees construction taking place, the strip mall-to-be is in a different location, but with the same amount of progress as it had when it was last sighted. One desperate person just wants to find the marketing office so that they can find out what rents will be.
  11. When the elderly Mr. Smith passes away, his house goes from looking spic and span, his car brand new, his belongings all the finest, to being a ruin, and that’s when the neighborhood learns that Mr. Smith was never “keeping up with the Jones’,” he was just an illusionist.
  12. The local homeowner’s association meets their match in the eccentric owner of that crooked little hut on the corner. They can’t get past his garden to deliver the scathing letters reminding him to trim his lawn. One swears the sunflowers shot seeds at her. Another gets lost in between the two (2) hedges. A third is cowering in her basement ever since she met the garden gnomes.
  13. There’s always that one kid in band who is the distant descendant of a bard, and so it’s depressingly common for school holiday performance to require the intervention of an emergency response team to pull the audience out of the stupor the performer’s music has induced in them…
  14. While everyone agrees that community diversity is critical, and they’re certainly trying to bring in a wider range of types of people, no one anticipated how many problems would be caused when people from multiple faiths and traditions start doing magic in the same suburb. Teens from different families, and different magical paths, get together to go on a quest to solve the magical messes that result.
  15. Tensions run high after the community’s independence day celebration. No one considered that fireworks plus tons of backyard barbecue plus a full moon could unleash that much chaos among the local werewolf community.

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