Every end of the world the world story follows the same general trajectory:
- Life as We Knew It: You remember, the rat race in which you fell ever further behind, but the worst that could happen was only that you’d lose your house.
- Trigger: Something occurs that, if left unchecked, will end Life as We Know It. Could be the president pushing the button, the first infection in China or even an assassin’s bullet in a disputed region of the Habsburg Empire.
- The Growing Crisis: Things could return to normal if people just got their act together. Usually, though, they don’t realize the magnitude of the situation or hold some now meaningless fear that leads them to think they can or must solve the problem themselves.
- Point of No Return: It is now no longer possible to return to Life as We Knew It. Just how big a transformation the world is in for remains to be seen.
- The Shit Hits the Fan: Regardless of how The Growing Crisis played out, the world now knows, and is experiencing first hand, the catastrophe.
- Climax: Like many milestones in life, this one will probably pass without anyone realizing it. All fuel the catastrophe can touch is now burning.
- Survival of the Fittest: You are no longer living minute to minute, you are able to take a breath and look into the future. You will now see, perhaps, that your viability may preclude others. Do you have what it takes to continue?
- Beginning of the End: People stop acting as individuals or smalls groups and begin to think in longer time periods.
- The Dust Settles: Even though some semblance of normality is returning to life, you still must be careful. A single lapse in judgement could cost you your life.
- Return to a New Normal: The catastrophe is over or is least in remission (perhaps to reappear as a second trigger).
- Life as We Now Know It: Could be better, could be worse than before. Get used to it.
Not every story follows the full trajectory. Some may take place wholly within a single era. Others may short circuit the process by resolving the crisis before the point of no return.
Remember, the future isn’t written in stone. Never give up!