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§18.24. Writing a paragraph about

1. When it happens. Just before writing a paragraph about some item in a room description.

2. The default behaviour. Is to do nothing. However, if a rule is supplied which prints something up, then this replaces the paragraph which would otherwise have been printed. Moreover, any items whose names are said in the course of this rule - for instance, by being listed - are then excluded from the remainder of the room description, because they are considered as having been described sufficiently already.

Warning: because we often want a "for" rule for this activity to make some calculation and then possibly choose to do nothing (see the example "Otranto"), Inform suppresses the usual paragraph not when a "for" rule took effect but when it detected a paragraph having been printed. This can get confused if a text substitution affecting paragraph breaks, say "[line break]", is within the final "say" of a "for writing a paragraph about" rule.

3. Examples. (a) This is a neat way to wrap several things together into the same paragraph:

paste.png Rule for writing a paragraph about Mr Wickham:
    say "Mr Wickham looks speculatively at [list of women in the location]."

because now "Mr Wickham looks speculatively at Velma and Daphne" will now prevent the appearance of the subsequent text "You can also see Velma and Daphne."

Inform keeps track of which objects have already been named with an either/or property called "mentioned", which it assigns whenever the name of an object has been automatically printed. So in this case, Velma and Daphne are now mentioned. Note "automatically printed", though: if the text printed had just been "Mr Wickham looks speculatively at Velma and Daphne", rather than the text-substitution list used above, then Inform would not know that Velma and Daphne have been described.

If we ever need to override this - say, we want to list all the women but make sure that Velma gets another paragraph anyway - we could change Velma to unmentioned again after the listing.

arrow-up.png Start of Chapter 18: Activities
arrow-left.png Back to §18.23. Constructing the status line
arrow-right.png Onward to §18.25. Listing nondescript items of something

Emphasizing the reflective quality of shiny objects whenever they are described in the presence of the torch.

Social dynamics in which groups of people form and circulate during a party.

****ExampleAir Conditioning is Standard
Uses "writing a paragraph about" to make person and object descriptions that vary considerably depending on what else is going on in the room, including some randomized NPC interactions with objects or with each other.