One of my main reasons for having this blog is so that I can experiment, throw some ideas out there and learn from what sticks and what doesn’t. So when I came across Joanna Young’s Mission Im(Possible) group writing project for this month, I thought I’d give it a go. The challenge was to produce something in a different form or a different medium. I’ve had a desire for a few years now to write a science fiction novel, but never really got round to it, so this seemed like a good way to test the waters and stretch my comfort zone a bit.

So, without further ado, I give you what may one day become part of my first novel.

He took a deep breath and stepped out. The sun was just peeping over the horizon and there was a fresh smell in the air, of dew and day-old cut grass, with a hint of something spicy he couldn’t quite name. The sky above was clear and blue, fading to a pale orange where it touched the horizon. There were a couple of cotton-wool clouds, bathed from below in gold.

It was the kind of morning when it felt good to be alive, good just to be walking the earth. And, of course, it didn’t hurt that there was no other human movement for miles. He enjoyed, sometimes, taking a run out in the morning air back home, when few were awake save the milkman and the early commuter. But this was different, this time he could almost believe he could feel the peace and tranquillity that comes of being the only human for miles.

It was strange for him to feel so much at home, scores of lightyears from the planet which gave him birth. Close up, the plants looked foreign; branching filaments emerged from the stem of each, starting the thickness of his wrist on the largest specimens, and bushing out until they were only slightly thicker than a hair at their tips. But as the landscape stretched away to the horizon, the details blurred together, and if he didn’t know better, he would have said that the lake glistening in the distance was a neighbour to Windermere or Ullswater.

A gentle vibration just behind his left ear awoke him from his reverie. “I’m here, go ahead,” he announced, startling a small birdlike creature into the air with a squeak.

“Great, boss, that’s good to know,” came a slightly irritated voice with a Scottish accent into his earpiece, “we were starting to wonder if we’d be doing this one without you.”

“OK, OK, I’m with you now. Let’s get on with this.”

He looked around until he found what he was looking for and concentrated.

It took me a week to work my way up to writing this, but finally I decided I’d better get on with it, so I set a timer for 15 minutes and just started writing. This is a great technique and I really ought to use it more often; I didn’t really know what would come out when I started, but just let it flow out. I haven’t done any editing: this is exactly as it came out onto the page in the first place. It feels good to have written something so different to what I’d usually write, and I got a big confidence boost from my fianceé when she read it and told me it was good: high praise from someone who’s not really a fan of scifi! Now that I’ve got started, I hope I’ll write more; it will be interesting to see the impact that writing fiction makes on my non-fiction writing.

I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Let me know what you think in the comments section below.