New Year's Resolutions 2024 in Binaka | World Anvil

New Year's Resolutions 2024

WorldEmber is over and it's a new year. And WorldAnvil is having a New Year's challenge!  

The Challenge

Read 10 articles from fellow Anvilites and write about what you learned from them. Then, think about your New Year's Resolutions for your creative projects.


As I did with the Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge, I randomly selected the articles to review. Is that a good idea? I don't know. But it gets me a variety and keeps me from getting stuck with being overwhelmed picking an article. This time, I randomly selected a special category from WorldEmber 2023, then randomly selected one of the articles within the category. I repeated this 10 times to get my list.   I will then read each article, like it, and leave a comment. I'll copy the comment back here and then add additional commentary related to what I drew from that article. And, finally, I'll provide a summary section that will include my "creative New Year's resolutions."  

The Articles

Fort Rakiman: Saint's Maar Embassy

by smokingbat7906   First impression: Extensive history, and even pre-history. A smattering of political maneuverings.  


I really like the very strong sense of history, especially the side-by-side description of two different factions that controlled the fort. There is a strong sense that this place could have existed.   The one complaint I have is not the writing. Rather, the background (which is like, regardless) provides a bit too little contrast in places.   Thanks for the great content!  


Well, that comment doesn't do justice to just how much I liked the piece. There are so many good things about it. The Design and Purpose and Travelers Guide info boxes, the bits about the Iowata, the history and legends around it. Wow. Very rich.   Then, there's the visual design. I would say Smokingbat7906 has spent a lot of effort on making a nice design. One thing I noticed and really appreciated here is the header image, which is credited to Smokingbat7906 and Midjourney. It brings the location to life.   And that's one of the things I'm taking away. I need to locate header images more expeditiously. And maybe learn to better use the AI image tools. I'm torn between the environmental impact that such things have, the potential copyright issues, and the extreme utility.   Another visual takeaway is to be creative in layout. I don't know how I will do it, but it's certainly something to keep in mind. I intend to work on reviewing all my content over the course of the year, so I will try to keep layout and visual display in mind while doing so.   Finally, I want to approach the thoroughness of the history smokingbat7906 managed to pull off here.  

Why names that start with "D" are politically charged in Swynfaredia

by Scalenex   First impression: One of the many stupid things people do with little or no logic behind it.  


You've done a good job of capturing how people are fickle and can take the smallest thing to the extreme. And you've made it humorous. Reminds me of local long-held feuds. If I were to criticize something, it would be the inconsistencies in the tooltips. Some links have them and others don't.  


This is a good example of people reading more into things that actually exist and then holding the resentment for far longer (over generations!) than they should. I've actually seen that in action. For example, my state consolidated school districts in the (I think) 1960s. There were three local school districts that were combined into one, with all students moved to attending the largest of the three schools. The two smaller communities resent it to this day. In fact, there is a parent organization that owns a school bus and pays a driver to take the students to a different school district.   I think what I can actually apply from this is the fact that day-to-day experiences can be moved into the narrative of my world.  

Meadow Sprites

by Darren McHaffie   First impression: An account of typical fairies, but with enough detail to make them unique and give them a personality.  


You've take what could have been typical, "boring" fairies and given them a great personality with all of the detail. I especially like how you acknowledge that their language and customs might vary from place to place, as the mix with the surrounding cultures. I like the idea of turning an actual period of time in our history into a fantasy world.   This is looking good.  


Detail, detail, detail. The more details you can put into a piece, the more believable it can become. One of my bigger problems with writing is I can quickly spill out a high-level description in 3–500 words, but there's no detail. Nothing to bring it to life. That's something I could really work on.   Part of that detail is how a group, or thing, or person, or whatever, interacts with other groups, or things, or people, or all of them. What countries does this nation trade with? How tenuous are their relations? Are they actively hostile? Does this group of people get on well with the forest dwellers? What about the people of the North? I don't do that much in my creations.  


by Rin Garnett   First impression: A cyberpunk adjacent counterculture that really leans in.  


Wow. What can I say? I like everything about this. A well defined culture, with obvious influences from cyberpunk but certainly not constrained by it. Great composition—I love how much the pull quotes and information boxes provide a bigger picture of the group. And you've done a phenomenal job of visual design. I like the little glitch on the quote attribution and all of the slide out panels. You've really made the design your own.   Thanks for something great!  


Hmm…It's the little things. There's lots of subtlety in the page design that makes for a very enjoyable experience. And the well defined sections, with bullet points to the side and a descriptor next to them makes for a very readable page. The text is a nice, crisp font that is quite readable and it's accented by at least two much more quirky fonts that are still quite readable.   I guess what I'm saying is having a good layout, good graphic design, and taking the time to add subtle HTML and CSS features helps to make a world more enveloping. I've spent some time hacking away at my world's custom CSS, but maybe I need to spend some time actually designing something aesthetically pleasing.  


by Mochi   First impression: A kind of out there world made with a lot of imagination.  


When someone tells you to think outside the box, you throw the box away, don't you? This is an incredibly imaginative place for being a planet orbiting a star in our own galaxy. Which, I guess makes sense if it just magically appeared. :D I really like the save everyone attitude of this planet, that's really what stands out. But I also find the geology to be fascinating. I'm not going to ask how the electrified surface works, but I like the unusualness of it.   I have one small complaint, though. The text was lacking in contrast a bit for these tired old eyes. It's not bad, but something to consider.   Regardless, I enjoyed the reading. Fun stuff!  


I don't have much more to say. However, what I learned from Mochi is to not be afraid to toss the box in the trash. Don't be limited to what you've seen before.  

Kelpen Kuuyik

by spleen   First impression: Fascinating undersea subculture that feels part of a larger world.  


Very nice. I like how you put such life into these people while using relatively few words. You've even made them clearly part of a larger world without letting that world intrude upon them. I especially like the eelkelp chariot. Thank you for this.  


Details don't need lots of words. notahumanhand demonstrates this quite well. I tend to not-quite-word-vomit. And so I get long paragraphs that say a lot but are hard to read (see "text, wall of"). So clear and detailed brevity is a good aspect of writing.   I'm impressed by the custom theme. As I mentioned elsewhere, I've been poking and prodding the theme I'm using for quite some time. Maybe I should figure out how to do a full, from scratch theme. If it's possible, given my status.  

The Maiden of Menra

by Katarina D.M. Ewert   First impression: A haunting story of a haunted ship, her story found in a journal lost at sea.  


This a quite a haunting story of a ship lost at sea. I quite enjoyed reading it. It was very evocative. Although, I was confused for a bit by the mention of Layla half-way through. I finally figured it out, after I read the journal text.   Regardless, great writing. Makes me realize I've not put anyone to sea yet in my world. At least, not directly.  


The last line of my comment says it all—I need to explore the sea and sailing. I have a couple things (maybe actually written, maybe not) and an island. But mostly, that's it. I need to find some sailors to talk to. Maybe a trip to Rozhchuesh is in order…  

The Giant That Took Root

by Darren McHaffie   First impression: Fascinating myth, apparently based in part on a version of the Christian Bible.  


I like the Old Testament vibes of this. I've heard of the book of Enoch but I don't know that I've read anything from it. May have to go on a quest. What really draws me in, though, is the awesome cover image. Very evocative. Inspiration for my giants? We'll see.   While I really like the story, I was a bit distracted by some spelling issues, especially in the first few paragraphs. Signs of trying to get the ideas out before they fly away! I'm always chasing them down in my writing.   This is the second piece of yours I've read for January. I really enjoy the "real world, but maybe stories and myths are real" concept. I should try to read more of it.  


"Where does he get those wonderful images?" I know, it's one of the AI image generators (Midjourney, I think). I'm still wrestling with it.   I really like the way this fits into biblical stories. But I could see Wilder as a real giant, just trying to live his life. I have some character stories, but I think I need more, and I need them to be good stories. Myths and legends. But also places, and stories of events past. I've treated the history of my world (the three Ages preceding the current) too matter-of-factly in the current age. It's kind of made sense to do so: the gods are still around to tell the tales of old, so it's not really a secret. But maybe for the common folks it should be. Maybe most people should not know much before the initial founding of nations. Everything else should be stories and mysteries.  

Commercial District

by Rin Garnett   First impression: A brief introduction to the main nightlife area of a city, which has see recent destruction on its borders.  


This seems to be a subdued introduction to the Commercial District, a place with the "best nightlife" in Galendra. I'm wondering if maybe that's on purpose, based on the recent destruction on the border. Is the entire district more subdued than it once was? I'm intrigued about the possibilities, especially about the ambiguity as to where the future may lie.  


I think this is a good reminder that having a hook for the future, a bit of mystery or ambiguity, is a good thing to end a story with. It leaves the world more dynamic than cleanly wrapping things up.  

Rage // Rampage

by Soulwing   First impression: D&D's barbarian rage. but for magic users.  


Oh my! I would never have contemplated barbarian rage for magic users. It is a very scary thought but a cool concept. It feels like it can overrun the caster and burn through more mundane beings, making it extra dangerous.   I'm a bit curious about the cadence and construction of your writing. It threw me off at first, but now I'm just wondering at its origin (if that's not too personal).  


Don't be afraid to mix-and-match concepts and ideas from different genres, styles, and sources. This can encourage finding things that would not have been found if the box had stayed close. So open the box; let Pandora out to play. But be ready to at least put curtains up around the area, to contain some of the excesses.  

The Results

Whew. That was a lot. I read a lot. I learned a lot. They were all good reads. I need to rest. But first, a summary of the takeaways. Or, what I can apply from these pieces.   I think there are two groups of takeaways. First, I need to evaluate and improve my presentation. Second, I need to make my world more alive using words. So with those as two major goals (improve presentation, work on liveliness), I've got details on how to maybe achieve them.  


  • Find header images more expeditiously.
  • Explore the possibility of AI tools for images, determining my position on the various controversies they are enmeshed in.
  • Be creative in layout.
  • Work on page layout, graphic design, and subtlety of CSS features. Make an intentional design.
  • Is it possible to have a truly from scratch theme of my own? If not, can I work around some of the restrictions WA puts on CSS (no quotes, no square brackets, at least…both very useful)?
  • Review my content; keep layout and visual display in mind while doing so.
  • Make things live

  • Be more thorough in the coverage of history.
  • Detail, detail, detail. Detail ⇒ believability. Bring it to life.
  • Answer questions about relationships and interactions between different people and groups.
  • Pull from lived day-to-day experiences and local stories more intentionally.
  • Don't be afraid to toss the box in the trash.
  • Details don't need lots of words. Reduce wall-of-text. Clear and detailed brevity is a good.
  • Explore characters, places, and events of the past as myths and legends.
  • Make the true history of the previous ages more mysterious, at least for the common folk.
  • Leave them wanting more. Make sure there's a hook.
  • Don't be afraid to mix-and-match concepts and ideas from different genres, styles, and sources.
  • And the rest…

  • Explore the sea and sailing. Bring in some sailors.
  • Try to hit a ball park of 30,000 words: 1000+ words per month, with at least 10,000 in each of July and December (Summer Camp and Worldember) (no, this didn't come from any of the things I read, but it's a loose goal). But really, the goal is consistency. That's why I have a secondary goal of 1000 words a week. I need to pick one day and time a week and write. Here's a good start towards the basic goal: This article has 2914 words.
  • Try to read the world building of others. More. Like, more often than when WorldAnvil turns it into an event ;-)
  •   Finally, if you've actually read the whole thing up to here, I'm impressed. I've dropped a lot of words here. Feel free to let me know what you think of all (or some) of them.


    Cover image: Scotland Cliffs by Frank Winkler


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Jan 26, 2024 14:12 by Mochi

    I'm so glad you enjoyed my article! I strive for imaginative planets, so I'm really glad you liked this one. I have made small changes to my world which might have fixed your issue, but it's constantly changing as well so my articles might be easier to read later down the line, you never know! Hope you have the best 2024 :D

    I hope you have a great day!   Explore the endless planets brimming with life of the Yonderverse! Go after creatures, discover new places, and learn about the people you find along the way.   Consider voting for me in the Worldbuilding Awards!
    Jan 27, 2024 15:32 by spleen

    thank you for the kind words about my article (and my world's theme!), I'm glad you enjoyed it! good luck on all of your 2024 endeavors. i hope you have an amazing year!

    Have a wonderful day!