Because of NaNoWriMo, my posts are going to be pretty short this month, since I’m trying to devote more time to writing my novel (and still have time to sleep, eat, and do fun things). So what I’m going to do is identify possibly problematic tropes in my story for the month, talk about them, and write ideas for how to fix them (and maybe, in turn, give you guys some tips on how to fix your own bad tropes).
This week: Hell Gate
You can’t have demons without Hell, and you can’t have Hell without a Hell Gate. Usually, this big portal into the abyss is used as a huge plot device, one that has the power to let in armies of the evil, corrupt badasses in to our world. Oh, and it probably also signals the end of the world as we know it.
My NaNo story has demons in it, and so of course it has a Hell – which demons themselves simply call the Underworld. Portals to their universe get opened through – you guessed it – magic, and demons can look pretty scary.
The way I’ve decided to verge off the path of typical hellscapes and molten lava is quite simple: demons aren’t evil. That’s another trope in and of itself, but the evil world Hell Gates are supposed to lead to are meant to mirror the condition of the things that live within. My demons have their own cities nestled among and inside mountains. They drive cars and other machines that help them get around their different landscape. It’s an entire world with its own culture, morality, and government.
As for the portals themselves, I’ve made them only accessible in certain, magic-rich parts of the world, and then I have characters literally capitalizing on it. The Sern family has made their money through generations of controlling one of the American portals from both sides and charging demons (and the occasional human) to use it. They don’t release legions of the undead onto Earth, but they do release politicians and suspiciously smart businessmen, which is definitely terrifying.
How are you guys doing with NaNo? Do you have any Hell Gates in your story? How are you trying to change up the tropes you see in your story as you go through it?