Read Weird, Episode 05: Strangeness from Language

Hello-ello, it’s another episode of the Read Weird podcast! Join us every other week for a conversation about writing, reading, and teaching weird and experimental fiction.

In this episode, we discuss techniques and exercises that use language to create strangeness, and listener Scott talks about Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Subscribe for fortnightly episodes of Read Weird via iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or the podcatcher of your choice. For more notes on this episode, see below. Stay weird!

Writing Weird
In this episode, we discuss techniques and exercises that use language to create strangeness, including introducing a misunderstanding, experimenting with homophonic transformation, and trying alphabetic constraints.

Misunderstandings can be used to unsettle characters and readers, create texture in a scene, and provide insight into a character’s state of mind.

Homophonic transformation,  or changing text into different but homophonically similar text, can be used to introduce nonsense into your writing and to invigorate your attention to language.

Alphabetical constraints, such as beginning every word with the last letter of the preceding word (as in, “The elephants spaghetti . . .”), can help generate writing that is unhindered by the constraints of logic and sense.

Weirdest Read of All/First Weird
This week’s First Weird was submitted by listener Scott, who discussed his experience reading Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

We want to hear about your weird reading experiences! Email us at readweird@gmail.com and tell us about your first weird or your weirdest read of all.

Also mentioned in this episode:
Eating scorpions at OMSI in Portland, OR, the Flat Earth Society (including two brilliant rebuttals), mysterious noises next door, Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, Laurel & Hardy’s Who’s On First,  this scene from the film Up in the Air, mondegreens (including an excellent mishearing of Collective Soul’s “The World I Know“), Oulipo, automatic writing, and exquisite corpses, plus Salvador Dali’s surrealist cookbook.

See you on the ice floes!

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