The biggest appeal of Roman Catholicism to me is that it upholds the belief that there are demons in this world and they must be fought. There is just something so appealing to me about the idea of shock troops of religious zealots fighting a war against supernatural creatures.
While I was in New Orleans I hung out with a friend who is still a practicing Catholic. We spoke about police officers who believe they are truly fighting evil and it gave me an idea for a story. What if there was a secret society of law enforcement officers who maintained rites and practices to both police the streets and expel demons from victims? The twist would be that the society had more or less fallen into extreme laziness and was more of a social group than a true operative force. Meaning, they still meet, still kind of know what to do if they had to exorcise someone, but the whole thing had become pretty shabby and boring.
The vibe would be sort of The Exorcist meets The Wire but written with a Joss Whedon tone. So dark, realistic, and funny. The police stuff would have to be really dialed in and authentic and the theological aspects would need to be very well understood.
The plot would revolve around one of the members seeing something they simply could not discount as a natural phenomenon. This character would have to contend with actual evil demonic forces and the laziness of his (or her) fellow officers. I love books that revolve around research and I imagine a big part of the story would simply be trying to get the organization back up to speed.
I’m just brainstorming here, but I think the organization would probably have an identity related to the Archangel St. Michael , who is a commonly petitioned protector of police. So, like the Fraternal Order of St. Michael or the like. Their symbol would be the Crusader shield, but black and blue.
You could really make the story live by importing all the modern issues of corruption, Black Lives Matter protests, and increased savagery of gangs. The interesting part would be letting all that stuff run as it does, without the need of giving it demonic influence. The though part would be figuring out what a supernatural force would really be doing above and beyond the regular awfulness of humanity. Would the Devil be riding dirty, doing drivebys? Or would he be further up the political food chain? Who knows?
Early on it would probably make sense to just have a slight increase of paranormal activity, but let it build to something crazy, kind of like Ghostbusters. If you read the Bible or Milton the goal of the demonic force is to corrupt mankind and trick them into sin so they end up in hell. If demons were real, I imagine the internet is probably their number one tool of corruption. Really, who’s worse than the hateful trolls of the internet? What if trolling was just some sort of low level demonic possession?
I never really pull off fiction well. I’ve written thousands of easy words about myself and my family, two subjects I am expert of, but when it comes time to write fiction, it just sucks. I do fairly well with dialog, but moving the plot by showing, not telling, is something I’ve always had an issue with. I also bounce around from first and third person sloppily. I guess I could workshop my way through it, but who has time for that? There’s blogging and vegetable ads to write.
That said, I’ve always wanted to participate in National Novel Writing Month and this might be a good plot to work with. A cool experiment might be to try writing the story and posting each day’s unedited pages here. You only really need four or five pages a day for a novelette. I don’t know, we’ll see. The coolest would be to just have a month off and write ten pages a day. I’ve got just enough PTO saved up for that. Maybe a fiction sabbatical is in order?