Broadly speaking, this refers to a group that takes an end of days approach to the unfolding of history. John (sorry, I can’t be more specific than that) proposed that the end will be presaged by four horsemen: Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.
But before we get into all of that – here’s one popular approach to dramatic fiction: the three-act structure. The three acts are described thus:
- The first chunk sets up a whole slew of dominoes: characters, backstory, setting etc. and (most importantly) asks this question ‘what will happen when the last domino falls?’ At the end of the first act comes the flicking finger, and those brave little soldiers begin to fall – one by one.
- Here’s the part where our hero rushes around trying to stop the dominoes from falling, and in the process makes them tumble even faster. This is partly because the protagonist (the goodie) is, at this point, a bit of a nonce, and partly because there’s generally an antagonist (yeah, that means a villain) sticking a boot in at every turn. Bad stuff happens and the click, click, click of tiny wooden oblongs gets louder and faster.
- Inevitably (unless this is horror) our shining knight gets some help, straps on a pair (yes – this totally works for both sexes) and figures out how to fix everything. The rest of the script is all about the aforementioned fix and what happens afterward.
If you fancy following the three act structure then you can slot in the four horsemen thus:
- Stick in the first disaster at the end of Act 1 – up rides Mister Pestilence.
- The second disaster is the mid-point of Act 2 – Sir War rides into the shot.
- Disaster numero three is the end of Act 2 – sound the horns, it’s time for Frau Famine.
- Act 3 is usually where things are wrapped up and everyone goes home for a well-earned foot massage and a nice cup of tea, but if this was a horror, then … who’s that dark figure riding down the hill towards us? Yep – it’s Doctor Death in person.
If you don’t know how to work pestilence, war, famine, and death into your plot then just switch on the telly for a bit of inspiration and you will see all four riding around in full regalia.
Oh, wait a sec … does that mean … uh-oh, have you been good today?