The Evolution of an Idea (Part 1) — Descent into Hell

Sometimes things have… strange beginnings.

In my younger years, I played around with a lot of story ideas. Some got half-written.  Others never made it out of brainstorming.  A lot got relegated to the drawer.

But some of those tucked away stories never quite go away.  Something about them keeps calling to us.  Like an itch you thought was gone.  

The first iteration of Descent into Hell was little more than a high schooler’s action fantasy.  The government opens up a portal to Hell and sends a bunch of special forces guys in there.  For those of you that played Doom, imagine ten Doom Guys instead of one and you have a pretty good synopsis of what followed.  

Part of me wishes I still had that manuscript.  The rest of me is glad that I didn’t save that one because it allowed the idea to grow and change.  

Sometime in college, I got to reading Dante’s Inferno and wondered what it would be like if all the references to historical figures were taken out.  What could the story of Inferno become?  This was also around the time the video game Dante’s Inferno came out and got me thinking about my original idea for Descent into Hell… What if I took my idea further and incorporated the different circles of Hell into my action story?  

But I wasn’t ready for it and life got in the way.  I shelved the idea again.  

And pulled it back out in 2020, almost ten years later.  

What if instead of making a generic action story, I took the horror elements of Doom and Inferno and leaned into the psychology of Dante’s Inferno… What if instead of kicking overwhelming amounts of demon ass, the soldiers had to struggle with their sins? 

So that’s where I am now with Descent into Hell.  It’s not a retelling of Dante’s Inferno so much as a reimagining.  It doesn’t just have a different set of characters, it’s a whole different genre, with an entirely different theme.  

Don’t worry, there’s still some action and more than enough horror in there.

But the story evolved into a much more psychological tale than I could’ve imagined.  

It also gave me ideas for the rest of the trilogy that could never have happened back in its early action-laden incarnation.  Spec Op soldiers shooting their way through Purgatory and Heaven just doesn’t have the same appeal as demons (but hey, stranger things have happened).  The other two books in the trilogy will be available later in 2021.  I’m shooting for mid Summer for Across Purgatory and late Fall for Ascent to Heaven.  Both will be a departure even from the format of Descent into Hell, but I’ll be putting a follow-up into the backmatter so readers know what they’re getting into.  

I’m planning on doing follow up posts to this one when Across Purgatory and Ascent to Heaven launch, so keep a lookout for those later this year.  

Anyway, Descent into Hell: A Reimagining of Dante’s Inferno will release Friday, April 16th.  

It will be free Friday through Monday, April 19th. 

Do you know what your sin is?

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