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And the week winds down... - Elf M. Sternberg
And the week winds down...
I didn't make it to the pool this morning. This time I don't have an excuse, though; I just didn't want to go, and hit the "30 minute snooze" button on my alarm clock. I don't know why-- I had everything set out and ready to go, I just couldn't work up the energy.

When I got in the car to head to work, a new light came on: Check coolant. What the? I went out and discovered that when thoze bozos at Firestone flushed the radiator, they didn't fill it enough afterwards. Either that, or in the process of putting back all the hoses, they attached something poorly and there's a slow leak in the system. I put in some water and it worked fine all the way to the office-- all of nine miles, not a big deal.

Anyways, I made some progress on plotlines. Not a whole bunch, but I can show you the success I had last week:

The splash page.
. I can also show you what I accomplished this week: the first draft of the UI.

The main UI.

I've done some serious thinking about the UI and come to a conclusion: plotlines will not support more than one story in-memory at a time. At first, I thought that would be kinda nifty, y'know, to be able to go back and revise multiple plots at the same time until you had a coherent multi-story arc, but there's no way I'm going to do that for a first draft.

If you look at the screen shot, you see three "panes"; the upper left, the upper right, and the lower main. The upper left is the outline of the story; the upper right is the details of the selected scene (if you can't read the tabs, they say "Summary," "Characters," "Location," and "Content"), and the bottom one is a graph of the scenes, in order. The story will progress from left to right, indicating time. Each subplot will have its own row; columns indicate the passage of time. Scene entries sharing a column are meant to indicate two scenes happening to characters in two separate subplots happening at more or less the same time. I confess that I haven't figured how to draw the scene widgets yet.

If I was going to do multiple stories, I'd use a notebook-- tabs somewhere that indicate which story you're working on, the others being "behind" it. But if I did that, the upper right pane becomes incongruent; it no longer mirrors the reality in the upper left pane.

Then I had a problem: how to deal with the obvious problem of writing more than one story in the same world. The solution leaps out: make the world a separate storage item. When you start a new project, ask if you want to create a new world or import an old one from an existing story. It's a seperate XML object stored under the "plotlines" DTD, like "story" or "template." For the story, "content" is an external storage item, not part of the XML. This allows you to use your editor of choice.

Another nifty issue I've corrected is the use of templates. By using weak references, it's possible to change a template without ruining an existing story. First, the actual system only stores what you use, so if you have a field (say, "dress") that you later remove because you don't use it often enough (or your characters actually change their clothes!) and remove it from the template, it will still show up in characters for whom it has been defined; what you lose is the description of what the field "dress" means, and "dress" will not be offered as a field for new characters.

I'm still just learning GTK, so none of this is anywhere near the useable stage (nevermind that I'm barely finding three hours a week to work on it).

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Mike Oldfield, Music From The Balcony

5 comments or Leave a comment
taxqueen From: taxqueen Date: November 14th, 2003 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like the mechanics forgot to "burp" the radiator. That happened when I got a new radiator this summer, and my car kept overheating. You'd think they would know about this, considering they are professionals :)
From: norikos_author Date: November 14th, 2003 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Man, this isn't fair...

Now I don'tknow if I want you to work on Plotlines or Journal Entries more...

Seriously, I _really_ like the idea of Plotlines. And I know of at least two writers besides myself who'd like to get their hands on it once it's ready.
woggie From: woggie Date: November 14th, 2003 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pretty splash page, Elf. :)

Remind me, what is it that Plotlines solves that Storylines doesn't? I mean, other than the price difference? They both appear (at first glance) to be structured much the same... no insult intended, mind you.
elfs From: elfs Date: November 14th, 2003 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. That's like asking what problem Linux solves that Windows doesn't. They're pretty much the same; I'm trying to clone most of the functionality of Storylines and add a few things here and there (like the portability of a set of characters and settings, future multi-story management, a few search and replace functions storylines lacks).

This is also a learning exercise for me. I haven't written anything substantial in C for nearly five years now. It's time I got back into it.
woggie From: woggie Date: November 14th, 2003 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, as long as I'm asking stupid questions, I might as well ask the all-time big stupid question: In light of Redhat's recent change, what is the best beginner Linux to cut my teeth on? Is redhat still good, or should I go with something else?

Mind you, answer this only if you really don't mind answering it. :)
5 comments or Leave a comment