On Alien Biology and 'Hard Sci-Fi'

Monster credit Piolinfax – Image on Wikimedia Commons

I’m building a new species of monster. That means I’m making up stuff again. The squishy sort of stuff, things an autopsy, a scanning electron microscope, centrifuges, and spectrometers might be involved with if these monsters were real-world organisms.

Building a monster requires some science. It’s […]

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 […]

Watch Us Sweat

Remember these?

National Novel Writing Month (hereafter NaNoWriMo) is a yearly contest to write an entire novel in just 30 days – November – from scratch – you start writing on November 1st, and stop no later than midnight November 30th.

Yes, it’s insane. But it’s a way to stop procrastinating, and actually sit […]

The Brown Room

“It’s because of the paradox,” I explained.

I fidgeted a bit in the hard metal chair. Government-issue furniture didn’t seem comfortable no matter what country supplied them, or what century. Of course my comfort wasn’t important at all to the middle-aged German police officer listening to me and writing in his small brown notebook. Everything […]

A Cottage Industry

Writing is local.

A Local Writer—L. Frank Baum

If you’re sitting at a desk, or in the coffee shop, or under the weeping willow tree, tapping on the keys and trying to make your artistic vision one with the blank, mocking page—you are a local. If you have handed your work to someone and […]

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 […]

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 Wonders Can You Make?

What can you make today? What particle of your imagination can you share? What idea, mysterious and fresh can you dredge from the caverns of mind? What can you write, and disseminate among us? What will we think of it, and you?

It’s the attraction and the fear that writing entails.

Sit. Write. Share.