Some thoughts on the writing project.

So I've begun working on the Breakout hypertext, and I think all of my tedious regular expressions work actually made this work out pretty well. I'm really happy with the software, which is something--particularly given the digital nature of this project--that shouldn't be ignored. Technology and I need to be working with each other not against each other. And I think that's the case.

What I'm thinking about/working through at this point is a structural concern. My hope is that the sort of "first layer" of the document will be very encyclopedic, in a sort of lighthearted and friendly parody of wikipedia way. That structure, organized mostly around the ships, years/time periods, and characters is all set up and fairly straightforward. (Note, I'm mostly just thinking about the naming schemes at this point.)

Another layer of this project are what I'm thinking of as supporting documents, things written in character's own voices, or other things that are "in-world" texts. These are all associated with an encyclopedic article, and numbered sequentially, by order of creation. So I have an article for one of the key characters named "frank" and a supporting document named "frank001" [1].

The next layer, that I don't have figured out is the "fictionalized" story that I'm writing. I want the document to have a lot of little scenes linked into the supporting documents and to the encyclopedic "articles." I don't have any notion of how to name these things. Here are my concerns:

  • If I associate them with characters, how do I decide that X scene with 2 or 3 characters is associated with a particular character? Particularly, in a way that will make sense to me in 6 weeks and 6 years.
  • If this is the case, how do I distinguish in the namespace between supporting documents and fictionalized narratives?
  • How do I give short meaningful names that are distinct and thus identify scenes but that have some sort of systematic scheme. Furthermore how maintain some sort of order without forcing them into a sequential order. Again, using the namespace. So we can't have scene001, scene002, and so forth.
  • While I don't need the pages to be strictly ordered to reflect the linear story lines, there needs to be some way to organize/grep through the page titles. I'm thinking using the location titles as a way to organize that and then use hidden dotfiles to keep track of the story and the files for my own notes, and then integrate links to the scenes from other pages, using my notes, once I have more meat, as it were, lying around to work with, and there's a little bit of a Catch-22 here: you need data to play around and get a structure that makes sense, and it's also hard to write without that structure.

I might have answered my question this is the problem of being an extrovert and a blogger: If you start a question for the crowd, by the end of your post you've probably answered it. I would still like input if you have it ;).

[1]These names are mostly for my purposes of keeping the morass in order, and not the way that people will be interacting with these documents. This is important because I already have 20+ pages just with the initial structure, not yet counting much of the text.