Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The 52: Pre-Flight Checklist

January 19, 2014 by Richard Wright in Journal, The 52, Writing

52 MoleskinTomorrow we’re going on a storytelling expedition.

In May last year I announced The 52, a year long collaboration between you and I. I asked you to send along a picture that you had created (photos or other art), that you would like to see me base a short story on. For the next 52 weeks I’ll be publishing one of those stories here each week, along with the images that inspired them. If you have a story published here based on your image then you get to keep it. You can do almost anything you like with the words, short of claiming that you wrote them yourself. Stick them on a t-shirt. Turn them into a song. Make more art to go with it. Whatever. It’s a story that could not have happened without your image, a combination of what you see and how I filter it, so you get joint custody.

I keep being asked why I’m doing this at all, given that I’m not going to make any money from these tales. There are lots of answers. Here are the only important ones.

  • It will be fun.
  • You give me and my stories an enormous amount of support. I want to give you something back.
  • I get to write things that I would never have come up with on my own, because I’ve never seen the world the way you do.
  • Some of the people I’ll collaborate with don’t think of themselves as storytellers, but will end up making stories anyway. Which is cool.
  • I want to do a bunch of stuff with no plan or pressure or agenda, and see what happens to it.

There you go. Simple.

So far, thirty-five people have sent along images for me to write to. I’m hoping that as the project develops a few more will join in to bring things up to the magic 52. I’ll keep going until I run out of pictures to tell stories about (or until the fifty-second story). If you’d like to help me make a story then send one image to storywright [at] gmail [dot] com. Don’t send several and offer me the choice. Just send one.

And if you know other people who might want to play, please point them this way too. There are magic sharing buttons at the bottom of the page.

Work has begun in earnest on the first batch of stories, which to begin with are being handwritten in the moleskin notebook up top. The first will be posted here sometime tomorrow (Monday), and probably over on Wattpad too if you’re a user of that site. It’s going to be called either ‘The Smother’, or ‘The Smother and the Axe’. I haven’t decided which is most appropriate yet.

The stories I’m writing for this aren’t tied to any one particular genre. Though I’m still best known for scary stories, that’s not what The 52 is all about, and I won’t be briefing you in advance about what to expect. In truth, I still don’t know myself. Scary, funny, strange, sad… could be anything really. All I ask of each story is that it be short enough to read over a cup of coffee at the start of each week.

This project is being launched without fanfare. It’s something we’re doing for fun, not something I want to spend time talking up in various places. That means people will only find these stories if you point them this way. Do me a favour, and if a story entertains you do just that. If one misses the mark for you, see how another takes you. We’ll be at this for a while, and I hope there will be plenty of variety along the way.

Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of KrakowAnd speaking of free, my pulp novella Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow from Shroud Publishing is still free for the kindle for the next couple of days. Don’t miss it! It has things with teeth! And wings! And drunken men with guns! And much more competent sober women! Also with guns!

There are guns, basically. I hope you like guns.

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