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I'm formatting a play as a LaTeX book. Is there any particular package the is best for laying out books like this (aside from the LaTeX-book class)?

I'm wondering if there are any examples of vignettes of the dramatist package? I've searched widely to find more examples of working LaTeX for this purpose to no avail. The example that I copied from a TUGboat article (TUGboat, Volume 25 (2004), No. 2) is as follows:



%% Layout

    \scenenumfont \thescene}


\Character{FRANCIS, his Sons.}{FRANCIS}{fran}

\scene[. -- Franconia.]

    \begin{center} Apartment in the Castle of
    COUNT MOOR.\\\fran, \moor

But are you really well, father?
You look so pale.
\moorspeaks  Quite well, my son -- what have
you to tell me?
\franspeaks  The post is arrived -- a letter
from our correspondent at Leipsic.
\moorspeaks \direct{eagerly}. Any tidings of my son
\franspeaks  Hem!  Hem! -- Why, yes.  But I fear
-- I know not -- whether I dare -- your health.
-- Are you really quite well, father?



However, the \Character definitons do not appear to work as I can only compile successfully when I comment out any character related macros within the {drama} section.

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I'm in a play right now that uses a (home-built) package for laying out scripts, but it's based on TeX and not LaTeX, so many of the things you take for granted if you're used to LaTeX just aren't there - I'd not recommend using it if you can avoid it. – Tomas Lycken Sep 23 '10 at 11:03
Are there any examples out there using dramatist.sty? I found the package on CTAN but can't find any examples. – celenius Sep 24 '10 at 11:18
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I am not familiar with play-writing, so this is merely a technical note.

The TUGboat article you mention was written in 2004 by the dramatist package author, while the most recent version of the package is dated 2005. As such, there seems to have been some modifications made to the code causing the example to not compile. For the example to compile properly, \Character should be used as

\Character[FRANCIS, his Sons.]{FRANCIS}{fran}

with the first argument being optional rather than mandatory.

enter image description here

The optional argument is retrieved using \persona@<Roman> where <Roman> denotes a capitalized Roman numeral, sequentially numbered as they are defined. As such

\persona@I \par


FRANCIS, his Sons.

The above mechanism is implemented to some extent when using \dodramperlist, which prints the persona list of the play (should be used within the drama environment).

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There aren't really a lot of things that need to be included in such a package. The ones I can think of right now are

  • A margin on the left side with role names of whoever is talking
  • A way to give instructions on how something should be said
  • A way to give longer instructions or descriptions of things that happen on stage without anything being said
  • (Possibly a separate notation for entry and exit, if neither of the two above suit your preferences)

Since this, along with stuff already built into LaTeX, will do just fine, it shouldn't be too hard to roll your own package.

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The following style and class files could be useful: play.sty, dramatist.sty, screenplay.cls. I've never used them, though, so I have no idea how featured or usable they are.

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