Larry Hodges


Larry Hodges, from Germantown, MD, is an active member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) with over 190 short story sales, five short story collections, and four novels. He's a member of Codexwriters, and a graduate of the Odyssey and the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshops. Including non-fiction, he has an even 20 books and over 2100 published articles in over 180 different publications. He's also a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame, and claims to be the best table tennis player in Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, and the best science fiction writer in USA Table Tennis!!! Visit him at

Q: Tell us about your journey as a writer (How did you get started? What propelled you into the industry? Were there pivotal moments or key inspirations?)

I've been reading science fiction since I was a kid, and even wrote a few SF stories in school. Isaac Asimov was my hero. However, my route to professionally writing science fiction & fantasy is unique. I was a top table tennis player in the US for many years, and right after college I was hired as a coach for the resident table tennis training program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, 1985-1990. We had some morning sessions and regular 4-7PM sessions. That left my late mornings, afternoons, and nights free. So I began writing science fiction!

I wrote a lot in the late 1980s and even sold a few, then stopped around 1990. For fifteen years I coached and wrote about the Olympic Sport of Table Tennis at the Maryland Table Tennis Center (where I still coach part-time). Then, in 2005, I became interested in writing SF again and began writing stories. I attended the six-week 2006 Odyssey Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing Workshop, and from then on I did science fiction and table tennis equally.

I always like to tell people, "I'm the best table tennis player in SFWA and the best science fiction writer in USATT!" (That's Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association and USA Table Tennis.) If you think about it, it doesn't mean much.

Q: What genre/s do you write in? What aspects of this genre or genres captivate you most?

I do both science fiction and fantasy. About half feature humor and satire. I tend to be idea-oriented and try to develop interesting characters around weird and unique ideas and situations. Most of my stories have strong themes, though sometimes I just have fun and write pure humor. I also do some dark stories, but only if I find a really interesting angle. A recent story featured the four assassinated US presidents haunting the White House while regularly playing cards, but they are now soulless, and so do many dastardly deeds as they observe and play around with living humans. The soulless Lincoln loves torturing spiders. 

Q: What do you write? (short stories, novels, poems, etc.)

I've sold 191 science fiction or fantasy short stories (43 of them resales) and 4 novels. I also have five short story collections, each made up of 25-30 of my previously sold short stories. Including non-fiction (mostly on table tennis), I have an even 20 books published and over 2,100 published articles or stories, plus over 1,900 blog entries.

Q: What does your creative process look like for coming up with ideas? How do you get started?  Are there specific experiences or themes that fuel your creativity?

At writing workshops, I've been called an idea machine. That's perhaps my biggest strength. Finding ideas is not the problem, it's choosing which ones to use. I keep an idea file and I will never come close to writing all of the stories I've planned out. How do I get all these ideas? I just sit back and randomly think about whatever pops into my mind, and ideas just pop up.

My suggestion for others is to just think of anything random - say, dogs. Hmmm . . . let's brainstorm.

  • What if someone tried to force democracy on a pack of dogs? 
  • What if intelligent fleas had colonies on dogs and fought wars for territory, all terrified of the Ring of Death (a flea collar)? 
  • What if multidimensional beings attacked Earth through a portal in the fabric of space and your dopey Irish setter stuck its head through it which caused its brain to get stretched into a fourth dimension thereby greatly increasing its brain cell numbers thereby making it super-intelligent with a 500 IQ - and it's the only thing that can defend Earth against these beings? 
  • What if intelligent swashbuckling cats of the future use saddled dogs as their riding steeds? (Hey, I think I'll write this one!)
  • What if every human on Earth were suddenly turned into frogs and their pet dogs and cats no longer recognized them and hunted us down, all while the frogs tried to start a new civilization? (I actually wrote this one already! The rest I brainstormed and came up with just now.)

Q: What is your favorite part about being a writer?

When a story comes together in my mind. When it does, I think my eyes go wide, I start to giggle to myself, and I have to write the story or my brain will explode. Finishing a story is also nice. Oh, and getting an email that says someone wants to buy my story is always worth celebrating.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

  • Write.
  • Write.
  • Write.
  • Attend a writing workshop.
  • Write.
  • Write.
  • Write.
  • Join a writing critique group. (Try or find a local writing group at
  • Write.
  • Write.
  • Submit stories and keep writing.

Regarding writing, I suggest doing rough outlines of your stories before writing them. I like to write up snippets of dialogue in advance, but I don't think most others do that. Have a good idea of how the story is going to end. Then write the story, working toward that ending, but feel free to change the ending if you come up with something better. After the story is done, reread and rewrite it over and over, playing around with every scene and every paragraph. Then put it aside for at least a week, then reread and rewrite it again. Keep fine-tuning it until you are happy with it. Put it aside for another week, then do a "final" proofing, where you might end up doing a lot of rewriting again, in which case you'll have to proof it again. Then it's ready to submit to a writing group for critique. (What, you thought it was done?) Writer's groups are good at finding problems though not always good at finding solutions. Once problems are found, fix them, and play around with it some more. Put it aside for at least a week, then do a final proofing. THEN you are (probably) done. Then submit!!!

There's a Facebook page called "OPEN CALL: Speculative Markets - Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy" that's great for finding markets. So is

Q: How do you overcome writer's block? Can you share personal strategies and experiences?

I think writer's block comes from two things - not knowing where you are going with the story, and from feeling mentally tired. For me, I've solved both these problems.First, I never start to write without knowing roughly what I'm going to write and where I'm going with it. The most important things are having a pretty good idea of who your characters are (they'll develop more as you write), what will happen in the story (you can be creative as you write it), and most important, an ending to write toward. Then you sit down and write it. Knowing the rough story allows you to focus on creatively telling the story. It's hard to tell a story if you don't know where the story is going. It's like trying to drive a car to a destination when you don't know where the destination is.

Second, and this will sound silly, but I am grateful to Dr Pepper. Why? Long ago I began the habit of drinking Dr Pepper whenever I wrote. Result? It's the Pavlovian response (Google it) along with the sugar and caffeine - all I have to do is take a few sips of Dr Pepper, and take periodic sips, and my brain goes into and stays in writing mode. I can make a 12-ounce Dr Pepper last 4-5 hours. Perhaps find something healthier than Dr Pepper - maybe coffee, tea, or Diet Coke. But I'm not about to change - never suffering writer's block is a good tradeoff for me. Just remember to brush your teeth a lot!!! (In a pinch, Mr. Pibb also works - it's almost the same thing.) I also find it helps to write in the same place every day - and I write 2-3 hours every day at a booth at Panera's, where I eat, drink Dr Pepper, and write.

Q: What motivated you to write for Storiaverse and how does the platform align with your goals?

I like the idea of my stories being animated. Maybe I'll see on a screen what I already see in my head!!! Then nobody can claim I'm seeing things.

Q: Tell us about the most recent story you have written for Storiaverse? What themes or elements can audiences expect? Why did you want to tell this particular story?

In my story "Super Rex," we meet a well-meaning superhero who happens to be a T-Rex, who has been trapped for 66 million years and yet survived. He's had 66 million years to think about his failure to save dinosaur civilization by stopping the asteroid - a flashback shows what happened. And now he has to make an incredible Sophie's Choice (Google it) between dinosaurs and humanity.

Q: What do you like about the opportunity to merge reading with animation?

It'll be a new experience - and as I mentioned above, maybe I'll get to see things that I only see in my head!

Q: How important is diversity and representation in writing? And how do you approach it in your work?

I try to have a balance between men and women, and different races. For example, in the other story I sold to Storiaverse, "A God of Ones and Zeroes," I had God as a male, but the real star of the story was his pet squirrel - who was female. In another story I wrote, "Mathball," where mathematicians have taken over baseball, since all of the players were men, I decided all three of the mathematicians were charismatic women (each very different), who stood on the sidelines with their laptops and directed the players what to do in every situation, using math (of course). It also features a ladybug! However, since so many of my characters are aliens, perhaps I don't have to worry as much about diversity in the normal sense.