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Summarize Your Life.

2007/09/10

Extended polling, and other changes.

I've extended the duration of the poll above my posts, because to date mine is the only poll vote, and I'd like to see more feedback than that. So, you get until the end of the year to put or change a vote there.

Also, I've added a second poll to the bottom of the page, just for fun. It's probably the more interesting one of the two, but eventually the one at the top will expire, and I'll trade their places.

It has occurred to me, of course, that if I'm designing with support for roleplaying games, that I'll also be supporting the design of RPG campaign settings, adventures, and scenes. These are slightly different from a fiction book's chapters, scenes, et cetera, and so I'll have a second plotting module for the roleplaying structural elements of the writing project.

Finally, the module for creating Powers and FX might be in development limbo, right now. Much of the details I'm thinking it could keep track of might better be kept within either the Lifeforms or the Characters module. However, both of those modules might get bulkier with the addition of options for creating Hybrid species, Mutant individual characters, and other designs, should a particular genre or sub-genre require them. In any event, keeping Powers and FX as separate from Characters and Lifeforms is the current method of design.

About the Genre and Sub-Genre types.

I mention this in passing only, that I'm trying to design for customizability. As you may have guessed, I consider all of the data and text that goes with a story (or story series, if it goes that far) to be a writing project. This includes the modules and data I've been listing in previous posts, such as:

  • Locations
  • Lifeforms/species
  • Characters
  • Organizations
  • Civilizations/cultures
  • Chronologies and timelines
  • Technologies
  • Plotting
  • Powers, FX, and other "forces" (the term "magic" makes me cringe, I think it's demonic, however you could use it for such)

When you create a new writing project, the framework of a completely new story, I want to start with a program wizard where you can select some starting options, as shown in the following list.

  1. First, of course, would be whether it's a fiction book or series, roleplaying game campaign setting, or whatever else this application can be extended to support. I have had the thought that someone could use this to create an autobiography (the true-life story about oneself), memoirs, et cetera.
  2. Second, the story's genre. Ostensibly, even a roleplaying game campaign could have a genre, as not all roleplay is inherently Fantasy genre; for me, my default choice is Science Fiction genre. Remember, the vastness of literature includes many fiction genres such as Contemporary/Modern, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, and Western. I could add Historical, but so many of them end up either Mystery, Romance, or Western, that it's a moot point. Also, each genre may be subcategorized into a number of niches, which are even more specific in nature. Imagine my surprise in the fact that Western could be broken down to over 40, yes, more than forty, different sub-genre categorizations, as listed in one literary resource.
  3. Third, setting what realm this story or series takes place -- that is, realm pertains to whether this story universe will be focused on one world only, or be open to space travel among the galaxy. In my examples, I write a science fiction series in which a fraction of our current galaxy has already been colonized. However, nearly all fantasy stories would be limited to one world, one realm -- although, I wouldn't doubt the inventiveness of some authors to merge fantasy and science fiction.
  4. Fourth, the selection of how much automatic generation of data to start with. This depends to some extent on previous choices in this wizard; id est, creating a contemporary modern-day romance very likely won't be needing the Lifeforms or Powers/FX modules to be enabled. I think Characters may be the most used. While you certainly already may know the key players to the story, you may want to let the program automatically create some background characters that are also within this fictional town.
  5. Fifth, go ahead with the auto-generation, as set above. Say you want to create a story about a fictional town, on a fictional world, somewhere on the opposite side of this galaxy. Generate a solar system, its planets, and the main world's sites, as well as perhaps other nearby star systems for the inhabitants to be coming from or going to. Do the same with lifeforms (depending on how many species you want running around on this world), characters (as many as you want, even if they never appear in the story), organizations (governmental, military, social, whatever), throw in some technologies (perhaps agricultural, commercial, industrial, military, or civilian use), and whatever else might make for a good civilization or culture.
  6. Finally, finish up and close the wizard; I'd optionally like to let the user view what data will be added to the writing project before continuing, in case the results are not as expected. All that should be left to the user is the writing of the story, and perhaps adding what more detail cannot be auto-generated.

This is how I envision the application's "File -> New Writing Project" wizard to react, if done right. Give me some feedback, whether you're impressed, or aren't sure this will work for you.

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