Meeting the Protagonist — This Story needs Fixing

It’s time to fix a story. Let’s look at this introductory chunk of a short story I wrote recently about a small man named Keg. […]

Welcome to Often Inspired!

“If the public likes you, you’re good.” — Mickey Spillane


Our signature motto is “Be true to your reader and the rest will follow.”


Have faith in your reader, but earn their trust first. Write something they would enjoy.

We hope you have a lot of fun here. Read. Critique. Create. Make […]


Arthur Conan Doyle — A Study In Scarlet

What makes a work of fiction echo down the ages, relevant to all who read it?

How can you craft a story, or a book, or a script that will resonate cleanly to readers who come to your work after you have left the stage?

A […]

The Point

It was another pointless day at my community college. The usual agitators in my English 204 class had started a discussion which ranged far off its original course, and finally degenerated into an argument about that old cliche: If you knew a nuclear weapon was about to explode in a city in a few hours, […]

Variations on a Theme

Chicken and Waffles

by William V. Burns via Facebook Belgian waffles vs Buttermilk waffles vs Whole Grain waffles vs Sweet Potato waffles vs Blueberry waffles vs Pumpkin waffles vs Chicken ‘n’ waffles vs Almond waffles vs Applesauce ‘n’ Sausage waffles vs Oatmeal waffles vs Chocolate Chip waffles vs Luft waffles vs Black Forest […]

Inspired Literary Madness

One thousand, six hundred and sixty-seven words each day. Without stopping for a month. You might have a novel at the end of it.

That’s National Novel Writing Month. That’s NaNoWriMo. Here in our forum, each year, the writers gather, discuss their preparations, characters, plots, electronic gadgets, and hole up, separate from the distractions […]

Commonplace Lovecraft

“Where do you get all your ideas?”

That’s a commonplace question for writers of fantastic fiction – horror, science fiction, fantasy.

A very uncommon author wrote down a lot of his story ideas in a list called a ‘commonplace book.’

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, who brought us the Cthulhu Mythos and a raft of other […]

Hook Them Early

I remember the sweat under my armpits, a dry throat, and gripping the edge of the podium hard to keep from throwing up.

Hell is [speaking in front of a large group of] other people.

Sometimes I have to speak in front of people who don’t know me at all. The biggest obstacle to […]

Cudgel and Blade

There’s a short story that’s been staring me in the face for a year or more now. It’s a good science fiction tale, with an underdeveloped narrator and two possible endings. The penultimate chunk of words (about 1,200 or so) remain unwritten. My writer’s block I think is because I want it to be […]

What Should You Do Today?

What should you do today?

Place Chekov’s gun on the mantelpiece. Walk into a hard-boiled detective’s office. Explain to a youth that they must go on a quest into a terrible land to fulfill a prophecy. Create something new and terrible in your shuttered laboratory and give birth to an evil laugh. Be the man […]