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Subject: Re: [docbook] "Fantasy" markup

Jason Kircher wrote:

>Although Docbook looks like it's more geared toward writing technical manuals 
>- ala the infamous O'Reilly books, where structured formatting of many 
>different kinds of elements takes place - here's a function, here's the 
>definition, the syntax, a few remarks, a gotcha here, an example there, and a 
>clause saying don't blame us if your machine explodes while trying to open a 
>subspace commlink to Vger...
>I've noticed that Docbook could work very well for novellas and novels in 
>general.  While yes, I could probably use the existing schema and formatting 
>tags to represent different items in the text, however this strikes me as 
>going against the "intent" of Docbook.
>My current pages are written in HTML, however there are shortcomings with HTML 
>that well, I have grown out of, and I want to step away from that.  Looking 
>at Docbook, I see it as a very cool way of doing things.  I know it'll take a 
>slight readjustment of my thinking (okay, major!) but I think it'll be worth 
>it - the most significant example being seeing why I placed markup where I 
>did.  Why is this text italicized?  Why is this text boldface?  Stuff like 
>However, in answering those questions, I noticed there's a significant 
>drawback to this idea - there's no "fantasy" or "novel" markup for Docbook.  
>To better illustrate what I mean, I'll put a couple excerpts in:

I've been thinking the same thing myself.  I have tried many different 
document types for my writing, starting with MS Word and now writing 
plain text in VIM (using standard text nomenclature, with a custom perl 
script to convert it to HTML).  This is for my Sci-Fi writing.

Since I started working on my programming reference book, I've adopted 
DocBook.  I too have come to the conclusion that it would work 
wonderfully for my fiction writing as well.

However, I believe adopting additional tags for different genres of 
writing can only lead to madness and perdition.  For instance, "spell", 
"magicitem", none of those tags have any place in my form of writing.  
Instead, terms like "scienceterm", "technology" and "stellarbody" would 
be more appropriate.  I'm not recommending that these tags be adopted 
however, since the vast number of writing styles would overwhelm.

Instead, my plan is to use <emphasis> et al as one normally would in 
HTML, but use the "role" attribute to clarify what I intend.  I can then 
extend my XSL stylesheet to understand these appropriately.  I even 
think it would be interesting to create a glossary of terms for 
technologies et al that I describe in my book.

Does anyone else have any feelings on the subject?  Any personal / 
practical experience someone would like to impart?

Michael A. Nachbaur <mike@nachbaur.com>

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