Growing up, UVU graduate Stephen Gashler had an imagination that often became a bigger part of his life than reality. As early as middle school, Gashler and friends created a fantasy world with complex characters and story lines that would span for months.
Now, over a decade later, Gashler has taken the stories his imagination created over the years and published them in a book. The novel is titled The Bent Sword, and it is the first of what he hopes will be a series.
The Bent Sword follows the (mis)adventures of young Stefan of Peaville, who sees his life as incredibly dull. In a society that forbids leaving, Stefin invents his own adventures and battles his archenemy, the evil Lord of Boredom.
When his fantasies become reality, he is joined by his friends to help him in his exploits. The novel is young adult high fantasy fiction and is heavily influenced by Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote) and Terry Pratchett (the Discworld series).
When asked what transforming adolescent fantasies into a novel involved, Gashler said with a laugh, “A lot of anti-social behavior.”
He explained he would often shun friends to continue to write and create his stories on the computer. It eventually became a huge part of his life; it even got to the point that when he was serving a mission for the LDS church, he would write down daily goals like “I will stop thinking about The Bent Sword.”
“It was a very personal and mental journey for me, and it was very fun because I always had somewhere to go in my mind when I found myself driving my car or waiting in a long line,” Gashler said. He knew for a long time that he wanted to turn his stories into a novel. “If anything, I thought it would happen a lot sooner.”
He spoke about his obsessive personality and the way he tends to throw himself into his projects full-force, and recalled times of writing at his computer for eight hours at a time.
“I was confident it would be published,” he said.
Gashler cited many authors as muses, but said Cervantes was a real inspiration. He had just finished his latest draft when he started Don Quixote for the first time.
“As I read it, I was like ‘This guy, he’s totally got my style!’” Gashler said. “Or I guess it’s probably a little more humble to say ‘I’ve totally got his style.’”
When it came to revisions, Gashler said he had revised The Bent Sword nearly five times before it was printed. He had written most of it down but in the two years he was serving his mission, he was away from a computer. This gave him time to rethink a lot of the plot.
“One thing I realized was that I had created a very, I would say, cliché work, and me being such a postmodernist, I realized that I needed to turn everything upside down. So instead of my protagonist being a victim of society … I made the society a victim of him.”
Gashler has recently joined up with the New Play Project, based in Provo, to produce a musical of his book, which will also be titled The Bent Sword. Gashler wrote the play, as well as the music and lyrics.
It will be performed Nov. 4 through Nov. 15 every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Provo Theater, located at 100 N., 100 E in Provo. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. with matinees at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets are $5-$8, depending on the time. For more information, visit www.TheBentSword.com or www.NewPlayProject.org
The Bent Sword will be performed Nov. 4 through Nov. 15 every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Provo Theater, located at 100 N., 100 E in Provo
Visit www.TheBentSword.com or www.NewPlayProject.org for more info