WorldEmber 2022

WorldEmber 2022 is, as they say, coming.


Who says? Well, T.J. from Melior for one. And he says it in such seductively epic way that how could you resist participating? I certainly couldn’t, can’t, and won’t. And so here I am, ready and willing to make a pledge to you, my constant readers, that I, E. Christopher Clark, pledge to write at least 10,000 words of new worldbuilding in the month of December 2022.


This document will be the single place where I gather together my preparatory materials and do my homework. Get ready. The level of awesomeness and minutiae you are about to experience is going to blow your brains out and knock your socks off and invent a few new clichés along the way.



Week 1 Homework: Plan & Announce

1. If you have more than one world setting, which one is the most important to you right now? Why?

Technically, everything that I have ever written is canon in the same shared universe: Clarkwoods Literary Universe. That said, I have just finished a twenty-year-long project focused on the more realistic, Earthbound part of the universe and I’m planning to take a break away from actively worldbuilding there.

What I plan to do instead is expand the world of the next thing I’m writing, a series of novels (perhaps prose, perhaps graphic, or maybe a bit of both) centered in my Land of Eden.

2. Which area of that world setting will allow you to achieve your goals (Continuing your novel/campaign, or starting a new one?).

Um, I guess I should’ve looked ahead because I kinda already answer this one? But to be a bit more specific: I plan to write ever more about an area called The Reek. When I originally conceived of the geography of Eden, on my 2011 concept album A Dream Is But a Shadow, I borrowed from three well-established fantasy worlds, which I then mashed together. For the fourth realm within Eden, I invented a land I called The Reek. And then, for years, I didn’t touch this project. When I picked it back up again after joining World Anvil, in anticipation stories set in Eden would be my next project after finishing my Stains of Time book series, I focused on the other lands first: Oz, Wonderland, and the region I renamed Nunya so as not to get sued (its original name not yet being in the public domain).

The Reek remained mostly unloved until I began to expand it a bit during last WorldEmber 2021 and a bit more during Summer Camp 2022. But even now, with the work that’s been put into it, it still feels a bit too amorphous for me to set any stories there.

3. How will it help you achieve those goals?

As I type this, we are in the middle of National Novel Writing Month. I’m working on the first novel set in Eden, and I’m a bit scared of what happens if my characters chase each other across the border between The Grand Duchy of the Garden and The Democratic Republic of the Reek. Knowing that I plan to work on The Reek during WorldEmber should ease those fears a bit. And then, come next year—whether in Camp NaNo in April, or some other point—when it comes time to revise this novel in progress, I’ll be ready with lots of Reeky goodness to sprinkle into the new version.



Week 2 Homework: Mini-Meta

For this week’s homework, the fine folks at World Anvil have encouraged us to review our World Meta, revise it as necessary, and consider creating a “Mini-Meta” especially for WorldEmber.

While revising my World Meta is something I want to do, especially as I shift focus from The Stains of Time series to new work set in The Land of Eden, it doesn’t feel like something I can handle right now in the midst of National Novel Writing Month.

That said, I did take some notes recently on what a revised Meta might look like for my world. And I think that condensed list might work well as a basis for this mini-meta project. So, let’s go.


The Land of Eden, particularly focusing on the heretofore lightly developed area known as The Reek.


I‘m struggling with the term “theme” here, so I‘m going to use the term “tone” instead, which feels related and in the same spirit but…

Actually the question below, the one about “mood” is probably where I should address tone. Damn. I really have no idea what theme I‘m going for here. As with “genre,” I feel really restricted by the term “theme” and really intimidated by it. I feel like “theme” and “genre” are for others to decide. Or maybe I‘m just being lazy? I don‘t know.

If you have any suggestions for what theme(s) it sounds like I‘m working with, please drop me a comment below.


And here‘s the part I‘ve been itching to get to. Here‘s the part that I‘ve taken notes on and have ideas about.


The five tone/mood words that I center my personal brand around, which I have mood boards for over on Pinterest, are saucy, seductive, humorous, magical, and nostalgic. I think these also fit well with the project I have in mind for WorldEmber.


Additionally, I spent October creating and collecting art to use for WorldEmber as part of my Spooktober 2022 project.


Lastly, I recently compiled a list of inspirational works that I feel fit the mood and theme I‘m going for:

  • Books  
    • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Comics  
    • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    • Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
    • Dawn by Joseph Michael Linsner
    • Fables by Bill Willingham and Various Artists
  • Movies  
    • Inside Out (for the completeness of its world building and the different parts of Riley’s head space they explore)
    • Ralph Breaks the Internet
    • The Star Wars franchise
    • The Transformers: The Movie
  • Music  
    • Nine Inch Nails, particularly the concept albums (Downward Spiral, Fragile, and Year Zero
    • Halsey, particularly Badlands, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, and If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
  • Roleplaying Games  
    • Heroes Unlimited
    • Marvel Super Heroes (circa 1980s)
    • Rifts
  • TV  
    • Andor
    • Battlestar Galactica (2000s)
    • Black Mirror
    • Bubblegum Crisis and Bubblegum Crash
    • Love, Death, and Robots
    • Westworld


Week 3 Homework: Organization

For this week’s homework, the folks at World Anvil have tasked we who are about to worldbuild with doing a bit of cleanup and organization. They’ve posed four tasks that I’ve just finished on this gloriously windy Sunday afternoon.


Create or Review Your Category Tree

I am a sucker for other people’s organization schemes and it’s therefore super-easy to convince me that the way I’ve organized things is wrong. I tried to resist the impulse to toss everything into a pile and start re-organizing from scratch, and I’m happy to say I succeeded. That wasn’t what this homework was asking me to do, no matter what the meaner parts of my brain said.


What I opted to do instead of totally reorganizing was to look for opportunities to create subcategories where the number of articles in a category was getting unwieldy. That seemed to be the main area where I needed some work, and I’m glad to have had this homework as an excuse to get it done.


Check That All Articles Are in a Category

This was another task where I had to remember that I’m not an idiot, that I sometimes do things for a reason that “break the rules,” and that I’m not beholden to anyone when it comes to how I do things if the way I do things doesn’t hurt someone.


While I agree that most articles belong in a Category, I do have three articles that are not included a category. Two of these are related to website functionality (a thank you landing page for folks joining my mailing list, and another one for folks who join my advance reader team) and the other is my About page. In each case, I decided—on purpose—that I didn’t want the standard “go back to the category” footer that appears on all of my other pages. And the easiest way to get rid of those footers was to make sure the articles were uncategorized.


Could I put them in a category and the CSS away the footer? Yes, but that would be more work right now and in the middle of an event—National Novel Writing Month—where every minute is precious.


Create a Tag System

I reviewed the article that the fine folks at WA linked here, then decided I just don’t have time to implement tags right now. I’ve seen tag systems that work well, but I’ve found in the past that creating a tagging system and trying to stay on top of it often ends up with me stopping writing because the adding of tags is that one extra step that triggers my anxiety.


Let Them Know if the Homework’s Been Helpful

In case someone from World Anvil has made it this far into the article, I do want to let them know that this homework has been super-helpful. I appreciate these tips on how to prepare for a big event, even if they sometimes end up being repetitive of past years. The homework pumps me up and gets me ready, and the sharing of it reconnects me with a community that I adore being part of.



Week 4 Homework: CSS, Presentation, and Graphics

Well, this homework feels like being thrown a softball—at least to me. As I mentioned above while writing the Week 1 Homework, I cooked up a bunch of art during Spooktober 2022 that I plan to use during this year’s WorldEmber. The open-ended nature of Spooktober—where you can respond in any form to the prompts—feels like an ideal opportunity to do this kind of homework, and I think I’ll continue to work that way going forward.

In case you haven’t seen my work from Spooktober and would like to check it out, here’s a carousel:

I’ve gathered the 3D resources I’ll need to create some additional species portraits during the month, but other than that my art needs are fulfilled.

As for my CSS and presentation, I’m not touching that in advance of WorldEmber. I just completed an overhaul earlier this year and I’m quite proud of what I’ve got. I also know full-well if I start playing with CSS right now, I’ll disappear down a rabbit hole until the new year and completely fail at getting anything done for the event.

And I think that’s it for now. I think I’m all set for WorldEmber. Can you believe it? We’re only days away now!

Oh, but I do have one more thing:



Bonus Homework: One of Everything, Year Two

During last year’s WorldEmber, I made it my mission to write at least one article per article type available on World Anvil—and I had a helluva lot of fun doing it. I used some templates (the Spell template, for example) for the very first time. And so, I’m looking to do the same thing this year and I’m looking to keep track of it on this here webpage.

So, here’s the list I’m starting from (whilst giving myself permission to change my mind as the month progresses):

Me, E.
WorldEmber 2022
December 1–31, 2022
Right here
Why not?
With the passion of Glinda the Good when she rode that meteor into submission and saved the world


Please Login in order to comment!
Nov 28, 2022 17:48 by Chris L

Good luck! Can't wait to see what you create!

Learn about the World of Wizard's Peak and check out my award winning article about the Ghost Boy of Kirinal!

Nov 28, 2022 19:21 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks, man! Right back at you. This is going to be fun.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Nov 29, 2022 12:36 by Carolyn McBride

I'm intrigued and enthralled by your imagination and sense of creativity. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Magic, Dragons & Drama! Uclandia   If the real world is more your thing, come visit Sitka Cove A small town on the brink of explosive change fueled by secrets!
Nov 29, 2022 14:47 by E. Christopher Clark

Oh, thank you so much. That really means a lot, especially at a time when I'm battling self-doubt pretty hard.   Good luck with your own WorldEmber, too!

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Dec 26, 2022 09:31 by TJ Trewin

How's the progress going so far? :D

Journals of Yesteryear

Dec 26, 2022 13:43 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks for checking in! It's going OK. I haven't hit my personal goal of writing one of each article template, so I'm getting a little nervous about that, but fingers crossed I'll get there soon. How are things going for you?

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Dec 27, 2022 10:46 by TJ Trewin

Going well thanks! I've taken a slow and relaxed pace and am about to close the 10k gap today :D

Journals of Yesteryear

Dec 27, 2022 13:15 by E. Christopher Clark

Excellent! I loved "Gauntlet" and can't wait to read what else you come up with.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
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