Thursday, 30 October 2014

NaNo Plans: Path Of The Horseman

NaNoWriMo starts on Saturday. Now that my plans are finally in place, I can tell you about my next major project, which will be scheduled for release sometime early next year: Path of the Horseman.

Originally I had another idea for NaNo, but it wasn't working out the way I wanted it to. I couldn't see the idea I was planning, so I couldn't write it. While I was stuck in a plot-limbo, I came across a writing prompt that caught my eye:

How could I ignore an idea like that? I instantly put aside the idea that was frustrating me and concentrated on this one. I've always been fascinated by the terrifying concept of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but to think of them as "humans" living the world they destroyed? Writing gold. I toyed with story ideas for a while, and eventually came up with this:

The seals were broken, and Hell was unleashed. Pestilence, Famine, War, and Death rode over the earth, creating a super-virus that turned humans into bloodthirsty monsters, opening a path for demons, decimating nearly all natural life, causing chaos and death throughout the world.

Now that their duties have been preformed, the Four Horsemen have disbanded, reduced to human bodies and trapped in the world they destroyed. No longer the Horseman Pestilence, Avery wanders through the waste he created, slaying any undead monsters and demons that cross his path. But when Avery comes across a group of survivors looking for a safe haven, his priorities begin to change. Not that the demons are going to let him stand in the way of their plans.

Avery ended the world once, and he refuses to see the demons end it again. But to protect the last of the living, he must seek the help of his brothers, all of whom are content with sitting back and watching the world burn…

 I've written a couple test scenes and added as many details as I possibly could. Of course, I created a Pinterest board (you have no idea how much this helps my inspiration and visualization), which I update as often as I can. I absolutely love the characters I've created for the Horsemen, and it will be so much fun to write about their adventures. Since this was a new concept that came literally out of the blue, it took a lot of dedication. But I reminded myself how much I loved it, and was able to write an excerpt which I posted on my NaNo page, but feel free to read it here:
I couldn’t believe how long it took for them to see me. When they weren’t excited, they were the speed of a rolling pencil and about as smart, but I was a walking buffet. I literally had to shoulder into some of the idiots to get them to notice me.

Though when they did, the plan started getting dangerous. There wasn’t a lot the Plagued could do to me, but I could still get hurt. Getting crushed by a bunch of decaying corpses was not on my list of death wishes.

Their shambling speed started picking up as I jogged through the crowd of Plagued. Raspy moans and guttural growls followed my back. Good to know I got their attention.

I needed them to surround me. Yeah, I could have taken them out one at a time, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, it had been so long since I used my powers that I was beginning to feel human.

Definitely not as fun as being the Real Me.

So I ran to the center of the town, making as much noise as I could. Knock over a garbage bin, throw a rock into a window, shout for help, the things that only moronic people would do.

Not that there were many people alive anymore, thanks to my brothers and me.

I slowed down and stood in the four way stop, looking at every intersection and counting all of the Plagued. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty... Twenty-three? That’s it? Damn. Last week’s haul was better.

But it wasn’t the Plagued I was really after. Oh no. I’m a guy who tries for the bigger game. Yes, I turned humans into flesh-eating zombies. There, I confess. But the real monsters? The ones who were fast, strong, and literally bloodthirsty? I didn’t make those.

Scouts honor.

I watched the Plagued shamble closer, keeping my eyes on the windows of the busted shops and the alleys. They could come out during the day, but they hated it.

Still, I was fresh meat. Something I knew they wanted. As far as they knew, I was a nice juicy human.
Come on out, you bastards. Take a bite of me, and choke.

I swear the Soulless were less patient than their brain-dead brethren. They eased out of the dark like pool of oil dripping into shadows. Stealthy and languid, they were the jaguars hiding in the brush. There were four of them. Less than I accounted for. I would have gone back to recheck my numbers, but the converging circle of Plagued was tightening. The smell nearly made me gag. Think sleeping next to a rotting corpse in a dumpster is bad? Try standing in the middle of over twenty decaying corpses whose breath alone will have your stomach rethinking your lunch.

The Soulless weaved faster through the crowd of undead. I could just see them being shoved aside. The Soulless wanted first bites, the selfish jerks. There was enough of me to go around.

I kept my hands loose at my side, relaxing my mind and pulling up the ancient power inside my body. It grew like the maw of a yawning lion, wide, roaring, and showing all its teeth.

Damn, I had forgotten how fucking good this felt.

The power shivered under my skin as the Soulless gave up on subtlety. The Plagued were feet away, and they wanted early dibs. The closest Plagued were just stretching out their withering fingers when the Soulless burst through the lines. They hissed like feral cats, bloodshot eyes narrowed in hunger, black tipped claws coming out of poisoned fingertips, dried blood caked around their viper fanged mouths.

The Soulless thought they were the top dogs. Highest on the food chain. Untouchable.

But they were nothing compared to me.

Their claws just scraped my arm as I let all that pent up power go. A living disease exploded out of my body in a wave of black smoke and ash. I controlled the disease, watching its tendrils snake into the mouths of the Soulless. They skidded to a stop and screeched as the unstoppable poison corroded their insides. Sickness tainted their veins, turning them into black cracks on their dirty, alabaster skin. The four Soulless gave a collective scream before collapsing onto the ground. Their pale complexion turned grey, and I knew my job was done.

But did I stop there? Of course not. I was surrounded by walking corpses and too lazy to fight my way out.

I pushed the hazy disease toward the Plagued. I added some more corrosives, letting it eat through their already disintegrating flesh. Dead things don’t feel pain, so they didn’t scream or howl. They just twitched and jerked, like they were dancing in a possessed rave while the smoke machine poisoned them.

Took another minute for the Plagued to collapse onto the ground next to their freshly dead Soulless pals. I pulled the disease back into me, feeling the rush and the snarl of an animal that didn’t want to be caged. By the time the disease was back in my body, I was light-headed and seeing stars.
I shook it off and breathed steadily, then looked at my work.

Twenty-three neutralized Plagued, four permanently dead Soulless.

Not a bad haul, actually.
So what do you think? Pretty intense, right? I've got zombies, vampires, and demons tangling with the Four Horsemen in Las Vegas. Kind of gives a new meaning to Sin City, doesn't it? Anyway, I'm putting all my other projects aside next month so I can write the story, and will be searching for a cover in the next few days. The image posted on my NaNo page is there because I hate having blankness for a cover. I'll be posting updates on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as reviews on Saturdays, so get ready for a lot of news on Path of the Horseman. The more I think about it, the more enthusiastic I become, and I'm ready to unleash more than a little apocalyptic fury into November.



  1. You're such a cheater! You're not actually supposed to start writing yet. ;p

  2. Shhh... It's our secret! And I won't count this scene in my word count. I'm a writing machine, so trust me when I say I'll hit the 50K no problem. ;)