How Beyond the Gloaming Pass Was Born

How Beyond the Gloaming Pass Was Born

Why did I decide to write a book?

I didn’t, really. There was no “Eureka” moment with this project, no lightbulb flickering on as I realized this is what to do with my time. Ever since I was very small, I’ve had an extremely vivid imagination. I grew up thinking that inventing entire worlds, cultures, people and places and carrying them around in my head was a perfectly normal thing that everyone did.

It was only as I got older did I come to understand that no, actually, not many people do that, and it could even be considered a gift if I chose to see and use it that way. I knew I was good at writing creatively because I won a few awards for creative pieces in high school and generally found it quite easy to produce a piece that would earn high marks.

And so, on those nights when a particular scene or story piece was playing out particularly vividly in my mind, I would go to my computer and write it out. This was a fairly rare occurrence at first. I ended up with a lot of snippets from a larger story without the context to join them together.

You couldn’t classify them as “short stories” or even whole chapters, because they lacked a beginning or an end - they were literally just scenes, conversations between characters with no setting established, visual descriptions of people or places that I knew were significant, even if I had not yet formulated how they fit together.

Thinking back, I started writing in a manner that contradicts pretty much every piece of story-writing advice I have ever read before or since. There was never a pre-planned timeline, plot anchors, character bios, rough outline of the full story or any kind of structured preparatory content whatsoever. I just jumped in and wrote out of pure creativity, whenever I felt like it, and in any order.

Chapter 5 is the first piece I ever wrote. At the time, I understood who Molindra was, and I narrated her journey through the caves, her encounter with the Gloom Spirits, and her conversation with “the voice in the dark”. I had no idea who the owner of that voice was, or what she would look out over when she reached the other side of the cave and stood on the cliff edge.

Over time, I collected enough snippets that some of them began to join together naturally, and having had many, many doubts about my willpower to stick it out and actually write a complete novel, I started to think it might be possible after all.

Around that time, I was unemployed and found myself with a lot of free time and very little to do. I used it to start joining my story pieces together into whole chapters. I still wasn’t working linearly, jumping back and forth in the timeline making connections wherever the inspiration struck, but my work was gaining substance quite rapidly and I saw that yes, if I really wanted to, I could indeed finish a full length book out of this.

Then of course I got a full time job and progress slowed considerably, but I kept going when I could. The inspiration and passion for the story never left me; it only matured and grew more solid and tangible. Part of that maturation process involved making some important decisions about the setting and certain aspects of the plot that would normally have been made at the beginning, followed by editing and updating for consistency.

Interestingly enough, my Chapter 5 cave journey has probably seen the least revisions, in spite of being the earliest piece. Nor have the broad underlying themes or messages in the story changed at all really from the outset.

It is those underlying themes that ultimately drove me to keep going. Beyond the Gloaming Pass is a story of love, loss, trust and friendship. It is about making the most of the time you have, appreciating the good, weathering the bad, and finding the unifying truth of who you are and what matters most in life. It shows us the consequence of missing that truth for too long - something I think most of us can relate to in some way, even if you are not a dedicated fan of the genre.