View Full Version : Bizarro Fiction- Whatcha Know?

07-28-2014, 06:02 PM
Wondering if anyone knows of a good guide to writing it or any wonderful examples of it, especially flash (under 1,000 words) length. Or anything else you know about it. Thanks!

07-28-2014, 07:48 PM
I'm afraid I have never heard the term Bizarro Fiction. Could you explain, or link to what you mean by it, please?

07-28-2014, 08:08 PM
Here's a Wikipedia definition etc. Which come to think of it, has some good links. :)


07-28-2014, 08:14 PM
Ultimately I think it depends on an act of imagination that makes an absurd situation feel authentic and resonate with a larger theme

07-28-2014, 10:17 PM
Such authors like Carlton Mellick III. Very weird, yet oddly entertaining.

I want to find a good guide on writing it to.

07-29-2014, 08:49 PM
Here's a Wikipedia definition etc. Which come to think of it, has some good links. :)


Thank you! Always nice to learn something new. :)

07-29-2014, 09:25 PM
I don't know any guides for writing Bizarro
But for anybody that is interested , please look here


08-04-2014, 06:48 PM
Over on Lit Reactor they've had classes in writing the weird and bizarro. I know J. S. Breukelaar (author of American Monster) was teaching one a month or so ago.

08-07-2014, 01:17 AM
We published a bizarro story in GUD once. 'Baby Edward' by Jeremy C. Shipp. It's in Issue #2.

08-08-2014, 12:33 AM
Hi everyone, TAMaxwell sent me over here and I created an account to help shed some light on bizarro. I've been a part of the bizarro scene for about two years now so I may not know everything. But I'll try to help with any questions you may have and answer what's above.

The easiest way I've found to describe the bizarro genre is:
Gary Larson's The Far Side in literary form.

"Ultimately I think it depends on an act of imagination that makes an absurd situation feel authentic and resonate with a larger theme"

I can agree with that. For some reason I can accept bizarre stories more than I can musicals. I think Carlton Mellik III (who has already been mentioned) has a great write-up on this issue: http://bizarrocentral.com/2011/04/20/weird-for-the-sake-of-weird-by-carlton-mellick-iii/

Great guides for beginning with the genre are the starter kits: http://www.amazon.com/The-Bizarro-Starter-Kit-Orange/dp/1933929006 (that's the orange, there are a few more you can find on the same page).

I know a few bizarros who have taught classes on writing in the genre. I recommend Garrett Cook (who is far less expensive than a Lit Reactor class if you don't have the funds for it). http://chainsawnoir.wordpress.com/editing/
You can contact him (he's easily approachable) and ask when the next class is. Bizarro workshops are a great way to get your work in front of editors. It's how I was approached to write for them.

And Jeremy C Shipp is great.

Okay, I think I got them all. I hope that clears some things up!

08-08-2014, 12:37 AM
I would also suggest that bizarro is an extreme demonstration of idiosyncrasy and personal vision. Writing a guide on how to do it would seem to somewhat miss the point?

08-08-2014, 12:57 AM
The book I linked to isn't so much a guide, but a short story collection. And you're definitely right, but like any genre, there are certainly tropes you'll find. When I started writing, I asked my editor if I was really writing bizarro, since I didn't write sex or gory violence (which to me, being new to the genre, seemed to be a must). But I was assured that even though those are common in bizarro stories, they're not a must, as not every fantasy book needs to have a dragon.

Defining bizarro isn't easy. The films of David Lynch, and Troma films like Toxic Avenger are pretty different, but they're both "bizarro" by some definition. Carlton Mellick III's crazy high concept stuff is bizarro, and so is Anderson Prunty's surreal, dreamlike lit fiction.

Like how Edgar Allen Poe and Cliver Barker are both "horror", but they couldn't be more dissimilar.

It's a lot of genre crossover in bizarro. Horror with comedy and absurdism, fantasy with film noir, surreal elements sprinkled in over whatever genre you're writing in.

08-08-2014, 01:23 AM
As an aside, apparently anyone that doesn't like the traditional bizarro mold on that site is apparently a hater. So then what level of overtness for bizarro do you need? They make these "you are a hater if X" statements, then not give a clear definition of bizarro.

To clarify, the Carlton Mellick article was intelligently written.^^

08-08-2014, 03:59 AM
Do you have examples from the haters, Sarah? I don't want to assume I know exactly what you're talking about and not address it correctly. ("that site" = bizarrocentral.com?)

I don't think I can really answer what level of overtness you need. I think if it's a well written, strange story, you'll turn heads in the bizarro community. Here are just a few examples of some bizarro books:

- A man wakes up to find his eyeballs have run away to get married. On his search for them, some party wolves move into his skull.

- A woman fights through the end of the world to find her fiance.

- A mobster is shot dead but wakes up to find he has been reincarnated into a baby. In this tiny body, he must seek revenge.

- Jeremy's head is slowly turning into a television, and a weird cult that worships TVs is after him as their savior.

So really, it's hard to define bizarro and WHAT MUST be in a bizarro book. I think the big thing is, just because it's weird, doesn't mean it's a good story.