Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions



December 31, 2015 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

Advent FinaleTonight we shall celebrate stepping into the actual future, like carefree science fiction adventurers, even though that’s what we do every single day and it’s not that special and, like, fireworks, really, are you all twelve still?

Still, 2015 is (nearly) dead! Long live 2015!

Actually no. I’ve had an immediate rethink. 2015 may shuffle to the grave with a cheerful kick from me. Personally, it was neither a splendid thing nor a monstrosity. It was disposable, for the most part. I have no problem balling it up and tossing it in the trash.

Some running aside (which i covered the other day), I didn’t really get much done. This must change.

You’ll have noticed, for example, an absence of a writing-type-update while I’ve been looking back at 2015. There seems little point. Writing has been scatty at best across the year, coming together for the completion and release of The Weighing Of The Heart a few months ago, then evaporating again soon after.

I tried to use NaNoWriMo to grapple with The Blackened Soul, and to be fair it wasn’t a disaster. I cranked out about 20,000 words before I realised that not a single thing I’d written needed to be in the book itself. Almost everything that came out was an exercise in filling in gaps between Weighing and Blackened. It was, basically, background material – 20,000 words, and the story hadn’t started yet. The material is still there, but as soon as I realised what I was doing (procrastinating because I didn’t have as sure a hold of the actual story as I thought when I started) I stopped and stepped back. Not a disaster, but a useful realisation. I know where the story starts now (at the end, naturally, with a body being thrown off a cliff), and pretty soon I’ll get back into it.

Other things happened. Skye, Edinburgh, a little bit of Fort William. Dayjobbery occurred (and while I leave dayjobberyland offline for the most part, it’s been a year full of weird stresses and pressures). The world became more horrifically interesting than it has been in my lifetime, in ways that would have looked like a dystopian, only slightly pre-apocalyptic future if you had tried to explain them to eighteen year old me (seriously, extremist slaughters across the world, mass migration crises on an scale you only think you’re imagining properly but you’re not, innumerable unprecedented climatological disasters, endless, aimless war, food banks in the UK, the rise of the hardcore Right, Donald fecking Trump). Perhaps it really is the beginning of the end, or at least the start of a collapse so large that only something entirely new can follow.


Some good things probably happened too.


A new Star Wars movie that doesn’t suck?


I might live to see how Game of Thrones ends now that the TV show is overtaking the books?

I’m a little worried that the good things are made up things. Perhaps I shouldn’t be. Maybe that’s what made up things are best at – offering something that life withholds. That’s one of the principal benefits of making things up. Sometimes those things fill a part of you that you didn’t know was empty, and sometimes you can offer them out to fill a part of other people too.

That’s what I’ll try to do in 2016. Make up new things. I have no plan exactly, not for specific things at specific times. I’d like to start, tomorrow, by getting back to writing 500 words a day. I’ll pour the words over some ideas, and see what cooks. There are a couple of specific things I’d like to look back on by the end of the year, which I will try to make happen with those 500 daily words.

  • Finish The Blackened Soul. This is a given, I think. For better or worse, I’ll be putting The Lomax Chronicles to bed with this final volume. It will also be the thing which I self-publish this year.
  • I’d also like to re-engage with the markets. It’s been a long time since I wrote something for somebody else to publish, and I miss it. I have no offers or invitations on the table, so it’s back to basics for me. Find markets. Try to sell them things. I’m looking forward to it.

And that’s it for writing stuff. I’ll keep it simple, leave plenty of room for things to happen, and enjoy whatever the year brings. My goal, such as it is, is to do things that make me happy.

Running is a different matter. I ran 591 miles this year. That makes me wonder whether I can run 1000 miles next. Resolution done. A thousand miles or…well…nothing of note changes in any significant way.

I may need a better motto. This is why none of my motivational memes take off.


I wrote the other day that I’ve three challenges already lined up (The Mighty Deerstalker, The Wall, and next year’s Advent Running), but there are gaps in my calendar to fill. It’s hard to see past The Wall (an ultra marathon of 69 miles coast to coast) at the moment**, but hopefully I’ll be able to fit more things in somewhere. Training starts tomorrow with a six mile trot to see in the New Year, while on Sunday I’ll be up the Whangie* for a bit of trail running (the Deerstalker is all offroad I think, so I should do more trails – also they’re funner than roads). Next Tuesday I’ll jump into a twelve week marathon training plan, which I’ll then extend to hopefully take me to the big one in summer. By necessity, I really, really, really need to do some strength training too, to stop my running bits from breaking. Willpower will be required. Anybody know where I can pick up some of that?

I also mentioned the other day that I want to try reading five books a month over the next year. Two will be novels (at least one from outside my usual genres), one will be a book of short stories, one will be a book of poetry, and one will be non-fiction. If you want to read along at home, my January selections are:

  • A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms, by George R. R. Martin (novel, sort of)
  • Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally (novel)
  • Adventures In The Anthropocene, by Gaia Vince (non-fiction)
  • The Door, by Margaret Atwood (poetry)
  • Black Bubbles, by Kelli Owen (short stories)

I’ll let you know how I get on at the end of the month. Suggestions are still welcome for February and beyond, if there’s anything you want to point me to…

That will do for resolution type stuff. All of those are specific things, but they all have one aim in the end. I’ll try to be happy in 2016. I’ll try to find people and adventures that make me happy, and I’ll cling to them as hard as I can. Maybe I’ll make other people happy too. I dunno. I can try.

However you celebrate New Year, I hope you do so with style, and in 2016 I hope that you are happy. If you could take a bit of time to make somebody else happy too, then that would be awesome.

Now bring on the bells! We have a year we need to kick to death…


*Not a euphemism.


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