Worldbooking

I’ve been using TiddlyWiki for my wiki construction needs for a few weeks now. This post is about making a world book with it.

First Steps

Review my getting started instructions from the sharing wiki.

The first thing to do is always to get a blank TiddlyWiki file. I usually grab one from theĀ TiddlyWiki site to be sure of having the latest, but backing up a local copy and cloning it would be reasonable also.

Next, move it to Dropbox or other storage location and rename appropriately. I’m going to using as an example a world of plant-based superpowers, so I called the file SuperPlants.html.

Open this file up in Firefox.

Configuration

Let’s give the file an identity that matches its name.

  1. click on the “control panel” link on the Getting Started tiddler, or click on the settings cog in the right hand panel. You should see a tiddler called “$:/ControlPanel”
  2. select the Info tab and Basics sub-tab.
  3. enter a title for the wiki. In my example, I called it “~SuperPlants” – the tilde character prefix prevents the wiki-link name from being rendered as a link.
  4. enter a sub-title. In my example, I wrote “a vegetative setting for superpowered adventures”
  5. in the “Default Tiddlers” box, type the names of pages you would like to be displayed when you first load or reload the page. In my example, I put in the following two lines:
    [[Plant World]]
    [[Plant Powers]]
    Note the double square brackets around these titles. Usual wiki syntax would omit the space call these pages “PlantWorld” and “PlantPowers”, but I like my pages to be real compound terms and those square brackets force linking to happen anyway.

You can also change the colour scheme, but the main thing is to click on the red save icon (the arrow pointing down into an open box) which will persist your changes.

Your Starting Pages

This world book will ultimately form a web, but it will start as a tree.

For each of the pages you wrote into the “Default Tiddlers” box, do the following:

  1. click on the “+” button
  2. type in the name of the page to be created. For example, Plant World. Note that you do not include the [[square brackets]] here
  3. type in the text for starting the page. Usually, this will include more links to other pages you want to write.
  4. click the tick to the right of the page title to save the page content.

The text for Plant World that I typed in was:

In the greenhouse world of the future, plants have mutated and grown at the expense of animal species - including humanity. Hubristic notions of the anthropocene have been washed away in a tide of chrophyll: the true extinction event was the scouring of the land and seas by new plants that thrived in the warm, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.

There are pockets of humanity still around:

* [[Mountain Men]] - hardy souls that climbed the highest peaks because there is still a treeline.
* [[Troglodytes]] - they took to the caves, because where there is no light plants cannot survive.
* [[Technocrats]] - sealed in domes and steel cities they fight to maintain the technology that defines humanity.
* [[Orbiteers]] - survivors of space colonies, living meagre lives in the airless wastes outside the warmed atmosphere.

Note that the different human survivor pockets are again enclosed in double square brackets.

Follow the Links, Make the World

Filling in the world book is as simple and as complicated as clicking on each link to create the page linked to, then typing out more text with links to new ideas.

Tips:

  • don’t try to do it all at once. If you have a large page to write, you may be better off writing a bit at a time and adding more ideas later. You can always come back and edit the page later by clicking on the pencil icon.
  • use page naming conventions you will remember. For example, either use wiki-link syntax (no spaces, embedded capitals to mark word boundaries) or normal title format for page titles. Don’t forget to enclose normal format titles in double square brackets.
  • use the “Recent” tab on the right to see which pages you’ve written lately to remind yourself of the names.
  • use the search box to find relevant pages. This does search the tiddler text as well as the titles.
  • look at the help on wiki text. There’s a link to the help with each edit form under the “wiki text” llink.

How I Am Using This Right Now

The SuperPlants example was just that: an example, incompletely worked through, but I am using exactly this kind of world book structure in the following projects at the moment:

  • Songs of Atlantis – the dungeon crawl setting for my boys
  • Song – building a world book for Song to capture the current state of it so I can update the manuscript to match.

… but I’ll be using it for lots of things.

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