Spectra's WorldEmber 2023 Homework in Eivrall | World Anvil

Spectra's WorldEmber 2023 Homework

It's November, and that means WorldEmber is right around the corner, marking my third year participating in this challenge! This annual event challenges writers and worldbuilders to create 10,000 words of original worldbuilding content in one month. I'm excited to once again participate and further develop Eivrall.

Over the past year since my last WorldEmber, I've learned that while these events can be great motivation, it's important not to let the competitive elements overwhelm my natural creative process. My aim this time is to work at a comfortable pace focusing on the areas of Eivrall that are most relevant for my upcoming book series, without putting undue pressure on myself.

Eivrall has progressed significantly since I first conceived of it, but there are still many blanks to be filled in. My goal is to use this event as an opportunity to expand the world in ways that support the stories I want to tell, rather than tackling every possible area of worldbuilding just for the sake of competition. The magic of these challenges comes from the thrill of discovery in creation, not from arbitrary word counts.

While I will still be participating in the WorldEmber community as much as I'm able, I also need to grant myself patience and understanding when real life demands my time elsewhere. My aim is to strike a balance between enjoying the motivational energy of this event and maintaining a sustainable creative process.

While this WorldEmber may look different for me than in prior years, I am still eager to see what epiphanies and breakthroughs it brings for Eivrall's development. Though my participation will be guided more by quality than quantity, my aim remains to kindle creativity's flame and illuminate new possibilities for this world. Even a few hundred words can make all the difference if focused in the right direction.

Each step forward is progress, no matter how small. Rather than straining to reach some arbitrary finish line, I will embrace the journey of gradual creation and meaning found along the way. The true spirit of worldbuilding lives within our imagination's sparks, not external metrics. Wherever inspiration strikes, I will nurture it mindfully. The flames await, and I am ready with patience and care to feed their glow.

 

 
Week 1

Make a Pledge

While I aim to participate in WorldEmber at a comfortable pace guided more by quality than arbitrary word counts, my goal remains 10,000 words over the course of the event. Last year I was able to greatly expand upon key areas of Eivrall's development, and I anticipate continuing that meaningful engagement this WorldEmber.

Rather than outlining rigid goals or pledging to specific metrics, my focus is on cultivating inspiration in a sustainable way. A few areas I envision exploring organically through my creative process include deepening the calendar and history, crafting character representations, refining the setting and map, and imagining daily life on Eivrall.

Calendar and History

As the inhabitants of Eivrall seek meaning and purpose in the continuous flow of time, a framework is needed to order their days, months, and years. In crafting the calendar, careful consideration was given to balance continuity with innovation, preserving essential traditions while reimagining outdated symbols and roots no longer resonant in the modern age.

With timekeeping standardized, yet sensitive to evolving sensibilities, the citizens of Eivrall gain a framework on which to build shared memories and forge new traditions. The calendar's design emphasizes the shared dignity and potential of all peoples, a vision hoped to nurture greater unity across differences as Eivrall's story continues unfolding through the passage of time.

I've spent the past year thinking about my calendar and system of timekeeping. I think I've finally decided that the Eivrallan calendar will be much like our own, centered around the cycle of the moon. I aim to document how it evolved across different eras. Since the world history remains unestablished, this is an opportunity to map out pivotal events that shaped civilization.

I will research real-world calendar systems throughout history as inspiration. Potential sources are ancient Egyptian, Mayan, and medieval calendars. This can inform how days, months, and years are structured in relation to cultural events. I will identify 2-3 pivotal historical events to anchor the calendar, like the founding of a kingdom or period of technological advancement.


Visual References of Main Characters

Each character's visual reference will tap into their cultural aesthetic and personal histories. Evelynn avoids extensive cyberware due to its interference with magic. Her affinity for spellcasting is reflected in sleek, high-end, external tech, and underscores her former corporate life. In contrast, as an arcanix, Julius fully embraces cybernetic augmentation, with scars and technology turning his skin into a topographic map that tells the story of his traumatic life.

Other possibilities include:

  • Julius is shown in training gear on a stormy beach, his determined gaze focused on honing his combat skills to withstand any threat. His clothing bears signs of extensive wear and repair, reflecting his self-reliant nature.
  • Evelynn's portrait depicts her in a pristine white lab coat, utilizing sophisticated technology while maintaining an air of mystery. Enigmatic artifacts and diagrams in the background hint at her insights into anomalies science cannot explain.
  • Iethre is pictured overseeing operations from his expansive Command Center, displaying the exact standards and strategic mind that have served him well. His enviable position speaks to his unique abilities despite factors beyond his control.

The visual references will tap into each character's cultural aesthetic and backstory. For example, Evelynn could be shown utilizing magic tech reflecting her aptitude as a spellcaster. Julius' portrait can depict his determined gaze, focused on honing his combat skills. The images will aim to provide character depth and worldbuilding context.


Map Updates

The map will highlight key locations tied to main characters like Julius' storm-swept island home, Iethre's network of intelligence outposts, and landmarks of historical significance, providing anchoring points to the unfolding narratives.

Along with anchoring story locations, the map can juxtapose different races/factions through symbols of technology vs nature. I can use colors to highlight tensions and allude to looming unrest. Areas can be labeled in conlangs to further emphasize culture.


Tech Integration

I'll envision how technologies like neural implants or advanced AI manifest in daily routines, exploring the dichotomy between utopian convenience and ethical dilemmas. The ubiquity of surveillance systems and digital manipulation paints an eerie backdrop.

The disturbing backdrop of mass surveillance could involve things like drones tracking citizens. Advanced AIs managing infrastructure according to algorithmic logic rather than ethics could create moral dilemmas. Neural implants may enable direct mind-to-mind communication but with vulnerabilities open to exploitation.

 

 
Week 2

Prepare your area of focus

 
Scope
This mini-meta will focus on expanding aspects of Eivrall relevant to my book Electric Sanctuary. The main areas I plan to develop are the calendar, history, visual representations of main characters, map updates, and technology integration, centered around Meshev, Abatesh Island, and Synead.
Themes
Key themes I want to explore are consistant with my main meta: technology/morality, power/corruption, sacrifice/redemption, identity/self-discovery, loss/resilience, unity, and moral ambiguity.
Mood
The world will have an air of mystery, unease, melancholy nostalgia, and cautious optimism, with a heavy emphasis on realism to make the setting eerily familiar and thought-provoking.
Goals
My goals are to provide strong visual anchors for the story events, deepen backstories, and hint at a larger interconnection underpinning the world. I want to balance highly specific details with leaving room for imagination.
Drama
Key dramatic elements from the plot are themes of trust/betrayal, moral dilemmas, government manipulation, questioning humanity, and the psychological struggle for survival against powerful entities.
 

 
Week 3

Welcome your readers!

 

Thinking about my homepage this week got me thinking about my styling - something I've wanted to work on all year. It has forced me to start thinking about modifications and style changes and I have already started to come up with some mockups!

 

 
Week 4

Last minute prep!

 

Prep month has led me to really focus on the things that are most important for my book. It's so easy to get sidetracked and then forget the things you need to do, or think that you did them already! Going through all my notes this month reminded me of the things I have yet to do and helped re-orient me.

But there are good things, too! Because of the prep, I was able to start planning one of my big articles for next month. Not just plan it, but start working out some of the CSS for it!

I really look forward to another Word Ember with the community and I wish everybody the best of luck!

Assignment Reveal Streams

 
Date Reveal Stream
11/3/2023 First assignment
11/10/2023 Second assignment
11/17/2023 Third assignment
11/24/2023 Fourth assignment
WorldEmber Pledge 2022
Generic article | Nov 22, 2023
 
 

Proposed Category Structure

  • ├── World
    • ├── Information
    • ├── Eivrall
      • ├── History
        • ├── Timeline
        • ├── Eras
        • ├── Important Figures
        • └── Mythological Creatures
      • ├── Magic
        • ├── Rules
        • ├── Foundations
        • ├── Ranks
        • └── Applications
      • ├── Deities
        • ├── Xoxtris
        • ├── The Mother & Father
        • ├── The Engineers
        • ├── The Mechanics
        • └── The Children
      • ├── Sapients
      • ├── Bestiary
      • ├── Regions
        • ├── The Continents
        • ├── The Islands
        • └── Bodies of Water
      • ├── Organizations
        • ├── Academic
        • ├── Military
        • ├── Business
        • └── Religious
      • ├── Science & Technology
        • ├── Illnesses & Medical
        • ├── Augmentations
        • ├── Technologies
        • ├── Vehicles & Transportation
        • ├── Professions
        • └── Materials
    • ├── Electric Sanctuary
      • ├── Plot
      • ├── Characters
      • └── Prose
 
 

Homepage Mockups

 
 
Drag the tiny bars in the bottom left corner to see
the before and after of this idea.


Cover image: WorldEmber by TJ Trew

Comments

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Nov 7, 2023 11:24 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Yaaay, good luck! :D <3 I like you are changing up your motivations this year.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Nov 7, 2023 18:43 by Gabrielle Decker

Thank you! I feel like it's necessary - I've been feeling a bit stretched thin and on top of that, I feel like I've been so caught up in trying to achieve these goals with these events that I've lost sight of what I want to do, and that's write my book. I'm sure there's a balance, but my competitive streak renders it invisible to me, so I need to dial it back a bit!

Nov 7, 2023 19:42 by Joella Kay

This looks really cool. I think it's good to focus on the creative aspect. And I think the areas you've chosen will be fun to read about.   In particular, I love calendars. I'm quite interested to see how you develop yours.

Nov 7, 2023 21:28 by Gabrielle Decker

I lack anything other than basic knowledge of calendars - any insight that could help? Or things to study/research?

Nov 8, 2023 07:07 by Joella Kay

Wikipedia has 2 pretty good articles on calendars. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar#Systems and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_calendars   Since you're looking at a lunar calendar, there are 2 modern calendars you can look at for examples. Islamic which is lunar and Jewish which is lunisolar. Most of the calendars in the list are either solar or lunisolar. Solar follows the seasons and lunisolar follows the moon, but adjusts for the seasons. (At least, that's what the Jewish calendar does.)   If your people are going to base their special days on cyclical events (e.g., seasons), then that would be reflected in the calendar.   There are a lot of choices - all perfectly good - that you can make about calendars.   One thing to think about is - Are you going to match the Earth solar year (which would mean having leap days)? Or do you want to do something a bit easier and just have something that divides into an even number of days?

Nov 8, 2023 11:06 Private by Gabrielle Decker

I'm posting this privately because I don't want any of this out yet. Eivrall is really meant to be sort-of past version of Earth. My first book ends with the world being frozen in an Ice Age, so I initially planned it to be somewhere around Triassic Era (sans dinos, sadly.) That being said, the calendar would have to be as close to *accurate* as possible. I'm sure there are many accurate ways to depict a calendar in the same way. The thing is, I don't want it to be very *apparent* that it's based off the Gregorian calendar - I never directly state that Eivrall is really Earth. I allude to it, but never make the direct reference. Now, I do love my esoteric things, so I thought about maybe trying to create something similar (idea-wise) to this cosmic calendar: https://spiralspectrum.com/pages/cosmic-calendar   Maybe I'm asking for too much. I'm not sure, though, because I oddly can't think outside of the Gregorian method of timekeeping. It's why it's taken me so long to create one :/

Nov 8, 2023 19:27 Private by Joella Kay

Since most people aren't really that familiar with Earth's cycle around the sun, you should be able to create a calendar that works for Earth without it being the Gregorian. (A lot of cultures on Earth have done this.) The thing I was alluding to, but didn't mention is that the solar year is actually: 365.2422 days (rounded). I'm trying to remember if the length of the solar year is different during the Triassic Era or not. But the cool (and complicated) thing about using 365.2422 days is that it gives you lots of options for leap days (hours, minutes, or however you want to do it). The lunar cycle is 29.5 days. (That's from new moon to new moon.) And as far as I know, most (if not all) lunar cycles count from the new moon. Now, the Jewish calendar uses 30 days and adjust every few years by adding an extra month. The Islamic calendar doesn't adjust to the solar seasons. I have 3 different calendar systems. One of those is synchronized to Earth because for my books it just didn't work to have people with ages seemed younger because the common year was much longer. I was able to come up with a cycle that was quite different and matched Earth close enough that it only drifted by a couple of days over a thousand years or more. (I can't remember the details right now. I have it in a spread sheet.) I came up with 14 months of 25 25-hr days and 3 leap days every 5 years because my galactic civilization likes multiples of 5's. The 14 months was the only way that could work on Earth's solar year. But you could easily come up with something else. Think about your culture and what they would consider important. Do they do seasonal events or something else? Since you're going lunar, probably decide whether you want the year to be even months or not. If the months are 29-day months (with a leap day every so often), then your year isn't going to align with 365 days. So some years might be shorter or longer. It really depends on how you want the every day and cyclic holidays to work for your culture. Once you figure that out, it's just math to make the calendar for work for it.

Nov 8, 2023 19:28 Private by Joella Kay

Sorry for the wall of text. I forgot to put extra line breaks in.

Nov 9, 2023 17:47 by Lilliana Casper

Good luck! I'm also going to be late with my homework article, I've been distracted by a lot of things this past week. I look forward to seeing your progress!

Lilliana Casper   I don't comment much, but I love reading your articles! Please check out my worlds, Jerde and Tread of Darkness.
Nov 9, 2023 19:02 by Gabrielle Decker

Same to you!

Nov 12, 2023 21:50 by Ademal

Maps are a great point to sprawl outwards from!

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Nov 14, 2023 21:33 by Gabrielle Decker

Agreed! Thank you for reading! <3

Nov 18, 2023 12:01 by Elspeth

Good luck! I love the way you're approaching this. Have a great WorldEmber. :)

Nov 20, 2023 03:17 by Gabrielle Decker

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my little corner! Best of luck to you, as well!

Nov 30, 2023 07:42 by Mochi

GOOD LUCK TWIN <3

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.   Check out my new world, Ava Admira!
Nov 30, 2023 11:38 by Gabrielle Decker

Thank you, twin!

Dec 1, 2023 14:14 by Rin Garnett

I really relate to your approach to WE this year. Quantity is an important step toward quality, but it won't always be the main goal. "cultivating inspiration in a sustainable way" is such a great way to phrase it. I hope you find something that works for you, and looking forward to seeing what you create along the way! :)

Dec 2, 2023 01:25 by Gabrielle Decker

Thanks! You, too!

Dec 1, 2023 18:43 by Fall

Good luck, I can't wait to read what you create this year! Sidenote: Animated flaming text? Amazing!

VISCERIUM_signature-v1.png
Dec 2, 2023 01:26 by Gabrielle Decker

Did you not see my water text for Summer Camp?! *aghast* Lol jk, thank u!

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