A few weeks ago I described the journey of writing Mass Effect Pathways now that it had reached its conclusion to have been a very long and strange journey. Looking back on it more over the past few weeks, it became more apparent just how true that often refereed to phrase had been. I went into this half expecting to abandon the story after being told that it wasn't very good, or simply lose interest as time went on. Even then I faced problems and challenges I didn't expect, making writing this whole thing far more challenging then I could have ever imagined. Yet, here I am, writing this little reflective piece about that process, a little afterword some might find interesting while others will just skip over, to just talk about some of the decisions and influences that came behind the scenes.

Thinking back to the beginning, I am really amazed that I even ended up writing this story in the first place, let alone finished it. For one thing I'd simply had a bad track record with this sort of thing, abandoning any writing projects long before I even posted anything somewhere public. More than that though, there were so many different factors that lead influenced me onto the path of writing Mass Effect Pathways

One of the biggest was actually opening myself up to the idea of fanfics, being told by other Talimancers to read Razor's Edge being what changed my opinion that fanfics were all just badly written garbage full of smut and Mary Sue self-inserts or original characters.

Another was oddly as a result of the ME3 endings, with the depression of that fiasco leading me to start not only thinking of what I thought the ending should be, but also of what could happen after. I began starting to form ideas for a story, of things that could happen to Shepard, Tali, and everyone else long after the game's events. It was then that I came up with the idea Ria, and the beginnings of a story about her that would not only become Pathways, but also of other stories yet to come.

This story however might have stayed in my head, had it not been for several members of the Tali Fan thread on the BSN (this was before that section of the forums were closed) starting to write fanfics of there own. Seeing people I chatted with on a regular basic starting their own stories, I decided to join them. After that, well, the rest is history.

Over the course of writing thins fic I learned a lot, making a lot of error's and questionable decisions along the way. I feel that I grew as a writing as I went along, thanks in no part to the feedback and advice of those who stuck with me since this whole thing began.

To avoid just rambling on for any longer, let me just give some thanks to various people who helped me along the way. Super mega thanks goes out to my beta-reader and collaborator Bahoogasmif, I don't think I could have done this without all his help along the way. Thanks goes out to Timbryanscott, MrBlazenGlazen, and Wurstinator over on the BSN for being some of the first people to read, critique and give encouragement for me to keep writing. Thanks goes out to aRandomNoob, for despite not being my beta reader, sending me extensive lists of errors in all of my early chapters.

Last of all, thanks go out to everyone who read this story, since I couldn't have done this without the encouragement of knowing all you were out there reading my work. Seriously, all of you are awesome.

Now, lets talk about things to come...

As many of you may or may not be aware: I am in the process of writing a follow up to Mass Effect Pathways. For this aim, I plan to take the next few months off to continue planning and outlining the next installment, and to take some time to relax and recharge after a year and a half of almost daily writing.

With this story coming down the pipeline, I'd like to put out two requests for it. One is, at the suggestion of my current beta-reader, to look for additional people willing to beta-read the story was well, as having more eyes looking over the story will mean less error's getting through. Anyone interested in possibly becoming a beta reader, feel free to send me a PM on the mater.

The second, even bigger request, is me just asking if there is anyone out there of an artistic bent whose willing to create some form of cover-art for the next story. I completely understand if no one is interested, but I felt like it would a good idea to put that out there in case anyone was willing to donate there talents. But yeah, this would be completely voluntary, so I'd only ask if of someone who really wants to do it :D

Well, that's all I really needed to say on my plans for now. That said, I think it would be cruel of me to not give a little taste of what shall be coming in the distant future.

One of my biggest regrets with Pathways was playing it safe in terms of plot focus, using a existing enemy and a blatant McGuffen to drive the plot. With the next story I plan to rectify this, taking on a plot I hope will be a bit more ambitious. If the previous story could be equated to Mass Effect, then this story will take a lead from Mass Effect 2: the story will be a bit darker, with far more gray morality and difficult situations for the characters to face.

I know it will be challenging, but I am confident I can accomplish this. For as is always said before what is usually some horrible mistake, "how hard can it really be?"

However, before I go, allow me to just leave you this little teaser for the continuation of the story of Ria'Shepard and friend's, in the next installment: Mass Effect Pathways: Black Tides


A year has passed since the destruction of the Darkforge. A year since the scattering of the last refinements of Cerberus. A year since Ria'Shepard became the first quarian spectre.

For Ria, now fresh of extended period of training and evaluation, it is her first chance to prove herself on a real spectre mission. Assigned to investigate a recent string of suspicious activities within one of the largest military contractors on Ilium, everything is poised for what seems to be an just another ordinary mission.

Little does she realize, greater forces are at work than just a an actions of a corrupt corporation, weaving a web of intrigue and dark secrets across the galaxy. A spreading madness twists the minds and dreams of those unlucky enough to fall under its sway, moving the pieces for in pursuit of nameless aims.

Even now a shadow looms in the loneliest depths of the universe, an eons old darkness whose whispers now echo out from the void.