Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge in Binaka | World Anvil

Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge

Another Summer Camp is ended, and I'm pretty happy with how it went. I didn't create a pledge document, but I did participant and was able to pull off 12 submissions, easily making Copper. Last year…was not successful. So I'm much happier with my progress. Also see my Summer Camp 2023 Summary, which may or may not be useful.   Before I get into the details of this article (reviewing articles from Summer Camp 2023), I want to say a bit about how I picked the articles. First, I picked the prompts because they are (1) a prompt I like and/or (2) a prompt that I struggled with or want more ideas about. Second, I picked the individual articles randomly. Why randomly? Well, for one, there are too many entries and I haven't yet figured out a good way to carve time out of my day for world-building-related tasks. So I don't have time to even read all the titles. For two, by picking randomly I don't let my bias guide me. I will truly and honestly pick an article that I maybe would not have otherwise read. Some authors are excellent at picking eye/ear-catching titles. Most (I include myself here) are not. So picking a title I like doesn't do justice to all those authors who don't have the knack for creating titles and names that catch my attention.   To do the actual random selection, I rolled physical dice limiting me to the number of responses to the prompt (for example, on "…silent communication" I rolled a d2 and two d10s, re-rolling anything over 194. Then I wrote a little CSS for the list of articles selecting the the articles I rolled and added it via the dev console. Maybe next time I'll write up a bookmarklet that will do the picking/highlighting for me, and then stash some info on my side of the page so I don't lose the selected pages. Also, pigs may fly. Eventually. Someone will figure out how to add wings to them.   I will be duplicating the criticism written here as a comment on the relevant article. But I'm writing it here first because I have more flexibility here.   One note about my critiques. I usually don't find fault with the world-building itself. It's usually grammatical and structural issues, or missing details. A person's world is their world. I just want to know what's in it, to as great a detail as possible.  

World building goals, Aug 2023–Jan 2024

This is always tough. But not really. I want to keep things simple.  
  • Keep reading other world builders' output. I'd like to kind of replicate this page each month, with 5-15 articles reviewed. While not my world building directly, it will help me expand my horizons and do a little bit to get me into the community.
  • Keep working. I've got a massive word-count goal for the year (made in January). I'm currently less than 6% of the way there. I'll be happy if I make 10%, thrilled if I make 20%, and totally ecstatic if I make 50%. That would be another 45,000 words before the end of the year. I hope to expand existing articles, take ideas from Summer Camps past, fill out a stub or two, and whatever else works.
  • Participate in as many community events as possible, especially WorldEmber.
  • The Reviews

      With all that said, let's see what I come up with.  

    a form of silent communication

      My entry for this prompt was Shishībo, a form of sign language used by a military force. One of the reasons I picked this one is I can only think of sign language and telepathy. I'd like to see more ideas.  

    Vaen Body Language by Melissa Stone

      I like the spelled out list of emotions with associated ear and tail positioning, along with reasoning for the positions. It's a nice way of doing this sort of thing. The one critique I have is some inconsistent grammar. There's not much; specifically Irritated stood out to me with a mix of present and past tense in the ear description. Other than that, good job!  

    Woodangian Sign Language by Woonitu

      It's so cool that this society is actively trying to improve their inclusivity by suggesting WSL as a second language. It seems you're world is based on our modern world, so using ASL as a base is a nice short hand. I found a couple minor errors (second paragraph, second sentence says "… teach sign language l, eventually developing…", with a stray "l"; under Writing System, "being the ntional language" is missing the "a" in "national") and capitalization of "WSL" is inconsistent. Other than that, great job!  

    Phantom Touch by DreamCartographer

      Wow. Just…Wow. This is so well thought out and fit into what seems on the surface (I've only read the popups on the links) an amazing and intricate world. I've heard of using tattoos for magic but using them for technology is new to me. A great idea! Thank you for adding some wonder into my day and expanding my horizons.  

    a species with an unusual form of communication

      I didn't have any ideas for this prompt. Well, I did, but I had already written it up enough to not be able to use it (Feathered Giraffe). I picked this because I'd like to see more ideas but also because I like thinking about ways to communicate.  

    Sylvari by Malkuthe Highwind

    I like this new take on changelings. A bit more detail on the changeling ability (especially including to what degree they can change) would be nice, but overall, I think this good. I particularly like the description of the auili'i. I like the idea that they use something other than facial expressions to share some of the nuances of communication. I just wish there was a bit more description of how they look. But, hey, it was for summer camp and I know from experience how these things get rushed.   One technical detail, as noticed by Molly Marjorie, it looks like you missed the closing bold tag after the initial "sylvari", causing most of the article to appear to be bold.  

    Star Sprites by Reanna R

    This was simply lovely. It's wonderful take on constellations, especially in a world where the stars are mostly no longer visible. The picture of a constellation literally dancing with another is a beautiful thought. I'd offer criticism, but this is well written in a style that I enjoy. Thank you for brightening my day.  

    Mulder by EricGarcia83

    A species that burrows and can still communicate intelligently with one another while in different tunnels sound pretty cool. And to have them realize, at least on some level, that they can have some amount of control over the surface dwellers…well, that's cool too. The question that I'm left with is if they normally communicate via underground vibrations, how are they still able to communicate verbally?  

    OPTIONAL: a species known for its mischievous personality

    While I had a possibility for this prompt (Tsunang's Hawk) I didn't follow through with it, in part because of time, in part because I wasn't convinced. I have no problem with the species, I just wasn't convinced it was mischievous. But, maybe it really is and I'll expand on it later. So, these articles are truly food for thought on what I can do to write this one up.  

    Fan-tailed Bird by Aldrea Alien

      I like this subtle take on mischievousness. The bird is not mischievous per se, but seems like it might be. It's got a simple but distinctive look (ooh, how I wanted to see a picture with the tail spread ;-P). The one solid criticism I have is that it's always referred to as "fan-tailed bird" or with a pronoun. Usually such critters pick up nicknames, like simply "fan-tail" or "cheet cheet" which might become "chichi". Besides that, I really like how detailed your little bird is.  

    Boughbreaks by tryllid

      Birds spitting seeds! Probably better than the other way they could get rid of them. I like these birds and how you've worked them into the history of your world. You've got lots of good details on them, too. The one issue I have is your second paragraph seems to be a kitchen sink paragraph. Not a problem, really, as it's how my stream of consciousness writing tends to happen, but it could be split up a bit. Otherwise, this is a good, solid article.  

    Hikknit Stinkfish by Morgan Biscup

      Oh, very nice. A fish that predates creatures of the land and air. Very interesting concept. And lots of detail. I especially like the bit about the growing symbiosis with frogfish. It all kinda makes me jealous, as I struggle to make the 300 word minimum and you have a small treatise about something that must actually exist somewhere :P Seriously, though, I really like the idea and the execution.  

    an animal associated with, or symbolizing, power

    I added this extra prompt because the last one I picked was actually one of the optional prompts. I don't think that matters, but better safe than sorry.   My entry for this prompt was sezichyi, a carnivorous antelope. I wanted something…different.  

    sunfeather bird by The Big G

      Wonderful mythtelling. I really like how the sunfeather bird is part of the world creation myth you share. Mythtelling is something I've yet to figure out. But you've woven it quite well into this creature and, from what I can tell from a quick perusal, a lot of this world, which I hope to explore in greater depth at some point. And I like the vividness of the description. But maybe my favorite bit is the "View from the future." It's a neat way to place the story in time. It may help me figure out how to tell my stories across time.  

    Chevaléon by Rome

      The Chevaléon sounds like a beautiful yet formidable creature. I certainly wouldn't want to meet up with one. You've provided a good, thorough description of them. I can picture one stalking a deer through a forest. I especially like how you snuck in naming Milupays knights after the Chevaléon with the same word as some French knights as a nice Easter egg.   However, I feel the article could use a good editing pass. One thing threw me more than most. Quadriplegic (under Anatomy) means paralyzed from the neck down. I think you meant digitigrade.   Still, I really like your creation. Keep it going!  

    Dilladon by Pam Frei

      Very interesting take on symbolizing power. But a nice way to take care of those pesky 8" mosquitos. I can picture one of these critters waddling along like armadillos do, but…big. It's hard to figure how magic is going to affect things when it arrives (I'm gradually dealing with that in my own world), but this is definitely a good take. One potential issue I see is that small elephants weigh on the order of two tons and big ones get close to eight tons. Armadillos tend to be more compact. Given the mass, I'd expect the size to be closer to that of a horse. But magic can do weird things, so maybe there's something there? Regardless, I like these guys.  


    There's a lot of variety out there. I'm glad I actively decided to participate in this, as I've seen things I wouldn't have otherwise. So I'm going to try to add reading other worldbuilders' work to my list of regular activities. Congratulations to all who participated in both Summer Camp and the Reading Challenge!
    Overall Meta

    Cover image: Scotland Cliffs by Frank Winkler


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Aug 16, 2023 17:02

    What a great way to choose articles--I feel like I won a teeny lottery! That's a good point about the difficulty of titling articles. I so feel that struggle. Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

    From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
    Aug 18, 2023 20:43 by Michael Johnson

    I'm glad you felt the win :D I'm hoping to keep this up for a while. I think it would be nice to keep going through the Summer Camp entries. I'll see if effort sprouts from desire.

    February brings the Cabinet of Curiosities 2024! January had my New Year's Resolutions 2024.