A message from Jonathan Ball, creative evil overlord of Stranger Fiction Inc.

I created Stranger Fiction to synthesize a number of things I found myself doing. Torn in too many directions, I wanted one umbrella under which I could unite all of my core interests and activities.

I make stranger fiction. I use this term to refer to genre stories (horror, science fiction, fantasy, etc.) that make use of unconventional or experimental narrative structures. My main love as a reader is horror, and my core focus as a writer is experimental literature.

My first book (Ex Machina, Book*hug Press, 2009) was a science-fiction story that took the form of a choose-your-own-adventure long poem. My second book (Clockfire, Coach House Books, 2010) contained 77 prose-poem horror story plays that would be impossible to produce. The Politics of Knives (Coach House Books, 2012) features an extended essay-poem about the Hitchcock film Psycho, and The National Gallery (Coach House Books, 2019) contains sonnets about Leatherface.

The Lightning of Possible Storms (Book*hug Press, 2020) is a short story collection that also functions like an experimental novel. The Eye Collector (Heavy Metal/Virus Comics, 2021), my first comic series, is a surreal horror co-created by GMB Chomichuk and lettered by Lyndon Radchenka.

Through Stranger Fiction, I am creating partnerships with other companies to develop new media stories in new ways, and putting together publishing infrastructure that will allow me to craft even more ambitious, unconventional projects. I will also widen my creative focus beyond my own work and bring some of the artists and art that I love to a wider audience.

I help serious writers develop their skills and artistry by writing the wrong way. To begin with, my podcast of the same name brings you closer to creatives who are taking risks in their art, businesses, and life.

I teach classes on contract at the University of Winnipeg (and sometimes the University of Manitoba) and Stranger Fiction will help me bring my materials out of the classroom and into the wider public world. When I grew up, I was lucky to have outstanding creative writing teachers like Suzette Mayr, Dennis Cooley, and George Toles.

I am not half the teacher that they were, but I have learned a lot about writing, and the business of writing. I have an analytical mind and a craft focus and I don’t believe in talent. I believe in putting in work to hone skills. I did it, and I want you to be able to do it faster than me.

I also help companies connect to their audiences, something that doesn’t require massive marketing budgets. It requires thoughtful development of products and fan experiences, and creative communication with customers.

I take on very few clients so that those I do work or consult with can benefit from a real focus on what will help them grow, and the words that will take them closer to their goals.

If you want to know more, or connect with me, become a stranger and join in Stranger Fiction’s journey.

You can also e-mail me using the form below, to tell me more about yourself, your project, or your world.

— Jonathan