The Three R's: Reading, Writing and Reflection? in Belerion | World Anvil

The Three R's: Reading, Writing and Reflection?

My First Summer Camp

wow! My first summer camp! The prompts were amazing, the buzz of excitement I felt through the screen from the WA updates, announcements and then the anticipation of each prompt wave swept me up to such an extent I felt I could take on the world - my world!
I wrote my World Anvil Summer Camp 2023 Pledge, confident that I could take on all the prompts and get that Diamond Badge - however, I had not accounted for life getting in the way, pressures at work and feeling a bit ill for part of the challenge, resulting in me completing a not unreasonable (though personally disappointing) 12 articles for the Copper Badge. Although this is not the level I was hoping to achieve, it does give me a benchmark to aim for in future challenges, and for a first challenge, this is nothing to be sniffed at.

  For the Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge, I've chosen my categories based on a Catergory I entered (a useful plant found in a wild area of your world), a category I didn't enter (A method used to carry goods over long distances), and a category that I hadn't considered entering (a "negative condition that has hidden advantages"). I use this method because it allows me to learn three things: How I compare in idea and writing style, how I might seek new sources of inspiration when I'm writing unfamiliar aspects of Belerion, and the third category will help me expand my view of the world around me - this prompt speaks to real-world disabilities and, inspired by a friend who refers to their condition as a superpower, I want to make this empowering interpretation the default view of my world.


'A Useful Plant Found in a Wild Area of Your World'

I wrote about Stickweed, but reading it back the focus is slightly more on the character who discovered it, than the details about the plant itself. Once the judging period is over, I intend to create a template for all of the Bestiary and Botancial articles for species in my world, so that they are more factual and informative about the species, rather than its role in the narrative of Belerion. I've flicked through lots of articles in this prompt, but the three that stood out for me were: The Chrono Orchyd by Krayvuk, Pitonweed by Alwaysroomforpud and Sapphire Leatherleaf by Nutmeg95.
The imagination poured into each of these articles is immense. I'd not considered plants in my world very much yet, opting to wait until I develop the inhabitants of Tewledandar Forest and Pensan Rainforest. alwaysroomforpud's pitonweed is a good reminder that plant-life will grow absolutely anywhere if the conditions are right, and that with enough thought (and perhaps desperation!) people will even find ways to consume those plants. Nutmeg95's Sapphire Leatherleaf is a good example of how plants can often have symbolic, practical and commercial applications simultaneously. I'm by far and away in awe of Krayvuk's Chrono Orchyd however - the idea is really clever and really well though out, but the design, content and level of detail in that article is something else! Definitely something I'll be aspiring to in my goals below.


'A Method Used to Carry Goods Over Long Distances'

I didn't get time to write my entry for this prompt, but I was planning to explore the engineering behind the river barges that my River Folk use to ferry goods up and down the River Glanwyn on behalf of traders. I do mention in the Deep Breasted Pelican article how they are used for sending parcels, but this was written before Summer Camp! I'll still write the river barges article, along with some of the others I had planned for Summer Camp, as part of my goals below.
Within this prompt, I found Hollow Whale by Ericgarcia83 and co, Windweaver by Doomhark and Air Boats by Gibo53 each of which made me pause and realise something that was not only yet to be built in my world, but that I had not even considered building. The Hollow Whale is a genius method for shipping large items hidden in plain sight, while the Air Boats reminded me that some pre-industrial modes of transport still require a fuel source to function. However it was Doomhark's incredible way with words that reminded me how even the most ornate items in your world can be made even more beautiful with an impassioned and detailed description. Collectively these will feature in my continuity snagging goals below.


'A Negative Condition that has Hidden Advantages'

As I mentioned above, I chose this as my third prompt to read about in order to learn a new way of seeing the real world, and therefore describing Belerion. Having a long term condition in our world doesn't always mean not being able to do something, it can simply mean being able to do something in a different way - I want that to be the societal norm in much of Belerion. The three articles that have inspired me and helped inform how I can do this are: Pluralism by EclecticExclamations et al, Whispering Embrace by EmperorDrako and Blackshroud by Momococa. There were a lot of articles for this prompt that focused more on the condition than the advantage, but each of these really stood out for me in their originality, their balance and the way they capture what a negative condition can enable, rather than what it prevents. Probably the most striking one is the Whispering Embrace - the balance of condition versus ability, pivoted entirely on the afflicted's choice to live with, or against the condition is a really powerful message that you can be the master of your own destiny, no matter what apparent obstacles life puts in the way.



Having read these articles, and received feedback on some of mine(!) (still can't quite believe people actually took the time to read my work!) I've got a good idea of what I want to do over the next 6 months. I've seen intricate and methodical layouts, beautiful use of language and imagineering that would make Walt Disney jealous. In order to develop Belerion further I want to:
  • Continuity Snagging - While writing my SC23 articles, and linking to others, I found some anomolies in my world (some subtle, some not so much - rivers where a desert now is etc.!) so I will address these.
  • Article References - Linking to articles wherever they are mentioned to make understanding the world of Belerion easier (and falling down rabbit holes more fulfilling!). I also noticed that some articles had the ability to hover over a link to get a preview, so I'd like to explore this feature.
  • Beautiful themes - I want to develop a clearer aesthetic for Belerion, and the cultures within it, applying it to articles according to whether they refer to an area or culture, or were written within that culture.
  • Embedding Feedback - Some of the feedback I've received so far has been really useful, providing new prompts, questions and encouragement, so I want to make sure I incorporate this into the articles as I update them.
  • Completing stubs - Behind the scenes, I have a lot of stub articles as placeholders to remind me to write - I want to reduce how many of them there are, and develop them into proper articles meeting these goals.


On reflection, this Summer Camp, despite being my first one, and not completing as much as I wanted to, has taught me an awful lot: about writing, setting goals, using the (amazing!) World Anvil platform, about how boundless imagination can be and about how world-building is an excellent vehicle to explore and understand the real world.
Entering the Summer Camp, and seeing the comment threads, and how many articles were submitted so quickly, really shook my confidence and made me think I'm not very good, and also feel like I'm not quite part of the World Anvil commnunity. I think not knowing how to access things, or not being able to at the times they were happening created this, rather than anything anybody had done or not done. Which is why, now that the Summer Camp challenge is over, the reading challenge is on, I'm glad that I can look at the challenge in it's entirety, and see that it was in fact designed to help people like me get more involved in the World Anvil World. The carefully crafted reading challenge has allowed me to interact with 9 fellow world builders that I likely would not have come across otherwise, and 9 new worlds that I can follow for tips, or just loose myself in through reading their work because they really are that good!

  This has been an amazing experience. I can't wait for future challenges. To anyone reading I'll leave you with this: Trust the process. Whether it's yours, or someone elses, or Janet's, Roc's, Dimitris' or any of the incredible World Anvil team, trust that the process is designed to work, not to fail. Let that give you the confidence to push forward even when you're unsure - you just might be building something amazing.