Bizarro Horror Fiction Author MP Johnson | Freak Tension Zine

Information about writer MP Johnson's horror fiction and bizarro fiction, Freak Tension zine and more.

Every writer has a method. Mine has been refined over decades of writing weird stories. It begins with a stolen Meatloaf statue that I piss on and meditate in front of before I move to my computer to write.

The First Draft

No wait, that’s not true. The process of getting ideas is the easy part. I’ve got idea overflow. I’ve got lists of ideas. When one really grabs me, I crank out a first draft. My first drafts are fast and dirty. I might start with some outlining and character bios. That’s more common when I’m working on a longer piece though. The first draft is my draft. That’s where I get really sucked into the story. I let myself have as much fun as I want, knowing that I’ll add and cut a lot later. When I’m finished, I go through and do a quick copyedit. Then I put it away.

The Second Draft

A month or so later, I pull the draft out again. I print it and read through it. I do my first read through purely as a reader. I don’t have a red pen anywhere near me. I just want to experience it as a reader might. Then I go through it again, this time with the red pen. I mark up everything. If a page isn’t covered with red, I feel like I did something wrong. Check out this page of revisions from what I hope will be my fourth book, Hypnotized by Abs:

Hypnotized Edits

I beef up imagery that didn’t pop. I add scenes if I think of something weird and fun. I throw in jokes. I ruthlessly cut anything that bores me or doesn’t serve the story. When I’m done destroying the printout, I make the changes on the computer. After I’ve made the changes on the computer, I go through the draft again from top to bottom, basically doing the same thing over, but on a computer screen. I make sure there’s no big picture stuff that I missed.

I once read an article that examined the differences in the way the mind thinks when looking at printed matter versus when staring at a computer screen. Different parts of the brain come into play with each. I want to get as much of my weak little brain involved as possible, so I do edits on paper and computer. When I’ve done both, I go through and do another quick copyedit. I call this my second draft, even though there’s like three drafts in this part alone.

The Third Draft

Sometime later, I pull the manuscript out again and go through the same process. I actually have a lot of fun with these revisions. I like cutting the fat, but I also treat it like a jazz musician soloing over Begin the Beguine or some shit. The framework is there, but now I’m jazzing it up with more jokes or weird imagery or little nuances that bring the characters or the situations to life the way a little extra Artie Shaw clarinet might in that old Cole Porter song. Why the fuck am I using jazz references? Maybe it’s more like an Alex Skolnick guitar solo in a Testament song.

After that third draft, I ship it off to a publisher. “This is the real weepy and like tragic part of the story beginning.”

Upcoming Appearances

Upcoming Books And Stories

  • Death Warp – Dynatox Ministries (Fall 2014)
  • “One Punk’s Guide to Bizarro Fiction” in Razorcake #82 (Fall 2014)
  • “Butterflies” and “Leapfrog” in Cesspool (Fall 2014)
  •  “Letting Go” in Blight Digest (Fall 2014)
  • “Dead Diva Boogaloo” in Zombified 3 (TBD)
  • “Selling the Slicer” in The Gruesome Tensome: A Short Story Tribute to the Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis (TBD)
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One thought on “My Writing Process Is Fucking Spazzy

  1. Reblogged this on THE BONKNESS MONSTER and commented:
    MP Johnson will be performing at my house tomorrow night. It should be a good time = Grimbol

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