At the start of September I had this random idea that I didn’t really put much thought into and it sort of sprawled in such a fashion that it’s totally fucked up my schedule. I put out a poll on Twitter asking what sort of protagonist people would like to see in a new Post Apocalyptic story, and so people voted.
I didn’t actually think anyone would vote, but it turns out a decent amount did. I chose a bunch of random character ideas, some would say they’re cliche but I’d just call them bare boned at this point, and threw them all together on a poll. We ended up with a Professional Criminal as a protagonist, which is certainly a character that allows for a lot of possibilities - especially in a Post Apocalyptic story.
But then I did a second poll…
Instant. Fucking. Derailment.
While I was hoping for a single category of post apocalyptic scenarios to choose from, this poll ended up in a three way draw that meant I’d need another three polls just to get the basics of the plot down. While it’s true that an apocalypse is never simply a single event, you’re pretty much always going to get an Economic Collapse as well as whatever primary scenario you’re working with, this was far more than I was expecting. But then a multifaceted apocalypse is always going to be pretty damn interesting, and so I jumped into it.
The first category I asked about was the Environmental category; ends of the world that tend to be about the physical world itself, while not being anything supernatural or overly strange. They’re you more down to earth, mundane apocalypses. In the end, the public wanted an Environmental Collapse. Crops fail, whole species go extinct and in general the natural world starts falling apart at the seams. That’s not a bad start, but let’s see what happened in the Social/Political scenario!
This is a difficult one to nail down, because typically in Post Apocalyptic stories the social bonds fall apart in response to the apocalypse. In this scenario, however, the actual apocalypse is the breaking of those very social bonds. Humanity loses any sense of cohesion for whatever reason and tears itself apart. Politics, religion, some new technology, whatever the reason is we just can’t go on together and so turn on one another.
So the natural world is collapsing and so is the human world… okay, interesting. Let’s see what the final poll comes up with from the Reality scenarios and maybe we can tie it all together?
Reality scenarios are the ends of the world that are just bat shit insane; gods giving up on us, reality breaking or time itself fracturing. With that in mind, somehow we managed to get two of them. So that’s totally not going to complicate things at all, is it? We ended up with Forces from Outer Reality and Paranormal apocalypses. So we’ve got Lovecraftian creatures from beyond time and space coming in to cause madness at every turn, as well as ghosts and the afterlife to deal with.
So, just to recap. We’ve got a Professional Criminal who survived a Environmental Collapse/Social Decay/Forces from Outer Reality/Paranormal Apocalypse… that it some complicated shit right there!
If you look back at the dates of the polls, they went from September 1st to September 6th. At the time of writing this it’s the 23rd of September, so clearly it’s been a few weeks since I did the polls and there’s still been nothing written. That’s because this is a seriously complicated set up that I wanted to properly tackle, so I took some time and thought about it. I caught up with some mates last night at a bar and a song came on that gave me the keystone I needed to lock all these disparate building blocks into place.
I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it’s still going to be a short story though I don’t know the exact length. It’s going to be a mindfuck, I know that much. Any story with elder gods and ghosts is sure to be a little weird in parts, so we’re going to have something of a less than conventional Post Apocalyptic story. I’m okay with that.
I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to complete, but this is going to be something that I’m publishing so it’s going to need a cover and everything so despite its low word count it’s not going to be a quick release. On the same page it’s not going to be a Days Too Dark-esque 7-years-in-the-making situation either. So this whole post is basically just a status update. I am actually working on the project and I have made significant progress.
Fret not, those irritating polls weren’t for naught!