Building Horror early - This Story needs Fixing

I’m writing a horror short story with a fantasy background. It has a problem. Here are the opening two paragraphs:

Fair proud a lad I was, and bold, so when the healer sent me to look for the royal’s berry, “Crimson the fruit, and set upon a throne of three leaves, no more and […]

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 […]

Blood and Guts and Brains


Writing about those who stand in defense of their country is a challenge. If you’re close to your subject, if you’ve lived it, then you may have trouble stepping back to gain perspective. If you have never served, then you have to gain currency with terminology, basic tactical concepts, and may never […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]