My Writing

The Asylum in the Lab

Or a day in the life of an over-active imagination.

I wrote this short story a little while ago, and was surprised how quickly it came together. In truth, the idea had been with me for a while, lurking in the back of my brain, and slowly forming into something pretty weird. It was inspired by a long session of day-dreaming while ‘writing’ my PhD thesis last year, and although there are many similarities with the office I was actually in at the time, everything is a strange, fictional concoction of my imagination and the peculiarities that my own mind led me to that day.

At just under 2500 words, it is a really short one, but this fell nicely under the 3000 word limit for a competition that I’ve just submitted it to. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

Oddly, and without really planning to do so, I wrote this from a first person perspective, which is very different from everything else I’m working on. The change was rather nice, and although I’m sure people will now think that it is in some way semi-autobiographical (it isn’t… mostly), I think it was incredibly helpful to get in the head of the character for this one, and tell the story through his internal thoughts. More importantly, it has perhaps opened my eyes to where I can use this in the future – I already have some ideas that I’m keen to get working on.

If things go well with the competition then expect to hear more about The Asylum in the Lab at the end of October.

Chris Phethean is a writer and blogger. He is working on a range of sci-fi, fantasy and adventure stories, and dreams of writing interactive narratives for video games. Find him on and Twitter.


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