New Year's Resolutions & Reading Challenge

Greetings all! BCGR_Wurth here with my entry for the Reading Challenge for the New Year of 2022.   We're already almost 2/3 of the way through January, so I'm clearly taking a 'better late than never' approach to this particular challenge. Normally, I pride myself on my punctuality, but after having covid for a stretch in January, working up the focus and energy to get words onto the page has been a Herculean task. Nevertheless, as a continuation of my 2021 New Year's resolutions, I fully intent to participate in every challenge this year, and I don't intend to stumble right out of the gate. Speaking of which:    

New Year's Resolutions

  My goals for this year are going to be a little more concise and, er, 'reasonable' this year than they were last year. I still have grand ambitions for the Manifold Sky setting, but I also want to maintain a reasonable expectation that I can accomplish what I resolve to do in the hopes that this will create a trend. 'Start as you mean to go on,' right?   This year, I resolve to accomplish the following:  
  • Edit and flesh out the BCGR tabletop roleplaying system for open beta testing and, in the long-term, publishing. This means completing a series of low-level characters and adventures in the Tales of the Transmuter setting so that I have a 'base line' fantasy setting in which the beta test can take place. I also need to read back over my own rules and make sure everything is clear, generate some low-level example characters, and decide what to do about certain other pieces of content (i.e. worldbuilding/game-mastering advice).
  • Generate at least one full-length manuscript of some type. This might take the form of an expansion of Ame Pfren's story carrying on from his origins in Greenwell: A Manifold Sky Short Story, a rough draft for The Fortress of Salt in my Sealed Kingdoms setting, or the story about The Garbage Man here in the Manifold Sky setting. In any case, I really want to be ready for edits and beta readers for one of these by the end of the year.
  • Generate 100,000 or more words of content across my entire account. This can be in any setting, but the important part is that I need to keep things interesting for those of you who like following my work and I need to maintain my writing habit to fuel my progression as a writer. My current word count in the Manifold Sky setting (as of January 17, 2022), is roughly 462,200, so we'll call it a neat 565,000 for me to declare victory. Dropping a full-length manuscript (see above) would probably satisfy this right out of the gate.
  • Lastly, I intend to keep my audience appraised of my doings here on WA with at least one State of the Manifold public post per month as has (mostly) become tradition for me. In fact, I'll probably drop one based on this articles as soon as I finish writing it. See you on the user stream soon, fellow Anvilites!

Assorted Readings

  Here's a list of some articles from this previous WorldEmber that I've particularly liked reading. This list is in no particular order (despite ordinal notation) and non-exhaustive. Enjoy!  
I Admittedly, Melior's Common Calendar is an article that snagged my attention with its visual aesthetic before anything else. That said, I feel like articles that go into depth about calendars and their origins like this are less common than they should be.   This article shows an 'economy of worldbuilding' that I find admirable. One thing that I really like about The Common Calendar is that not only does the associated item serve multiple in-universe purposes, but it also touches on the traditions of multiple cultures and implies things about the way the cosmology of the world works. When I write my own articles - especially in the Manifold Sky setting, where interconnection is a primary theme - I strive for a certain level of cross-refference to create the 'Wiki rabbit hole' effect in the reader.

II As a bit of a science fiction nerd myself, I found Dylonishere123's article Strawberry Fields very interesting. Strawberry Fields puts an interesting twist on the old tropes of the death curse and of salting the earth to deny the enemy their prize.   One lesson I took from this article is that it's important to think outside the box when it comes to making use of WA templates. Strawberry Fields is a Condition article, which to my mind usually implies a condition imposed on a creature or character rather than a place, object, or concept. I wonder how many more articles I could get out of the Manifold Sky setting by being just a little more flexible with the prompts given. Similarly, in the case of the Sealed Kingdoms setting, I could see applying conditions to starships if I'm feeling a bit more flexible.

III I really like reading about military campaigns, but I've had some difficulty writing about them - not a good sign when one major focus of the Manifold Sky setting is a century-long armed conflict between major humanoid factions. To that end, I'm always on the lookout for interesting articles about military topics.   AmélieIS' Mage Squadrons article is interesting to me because it delineates the abilities and limitations of the world's magic system in a military context. Even though my settings are (mostly) non-magical, technology can fill a similar role to magic in worldbuilding, especially when magic is tied to logistical concerns (i.e. the cost of magic-resistant equipment) as in this article.

IVI'm a little bit of a conlang nerd, and I really like it when a langage is thuroughly thought out. The Blatian Language by Callyxtus is one such article. Seeing them here, I'm starting to think I should add more tenses/cases to my languages going forward. I like how clean the use of tables makes the article look, and I really like how Blatian is established in the context of its precursors and dialects as they lay within the history of the world.

VI find Kitoypoy's Divine Gate article interesting because it addresses a question in cosmology that sometimes goes unanswered in fantasy contexts: if the gods are so powerful and concerned with goings on in the mortal realm, why don't they regularly intervene or send servants to intervene? Obviously, there are various ways that worldbuilders can address this issue, but I like the idea that it could be automated like this. This also neatly deals with the issue of characters becoming too powerful to be challenged - a death knell for plot conflict unless the story is an outright power fantasy. This is something I'm going to have to consider if and when I get back to working on my Kit's Crater setting.

VII like Sodose's article Taralu because it does a good job of concisely setting up a source of conflict for potential stories involving this little town in the mountains. That's a few stat blocks shy of a TTRPG adventure location right there - or at least a mission hub - and it reminds me that I don't necessarily have to fill out every settlement prompt to make a place compelling for visiting characters.

VIIZpire's Responsive Molecules article is interesting to me on a number of levels. In places, the visual stylings of the The Connection kind of remind me of a Piet Mondrian piece. It's high-contrast, spare (but not low-effort), and easy to read.   This particular article caught my eye because it gets into a deeper investigation about how sound-based magic might work. Bardic music, true-naming, and power words would all seem to be valid in this universe, and this explaination validates the idea that someone could achieve magical proficiency through research or even serendipity. It's reminding me that I need to dig a little deeper into the fundamentals of my magic systems if I want them to be internally consistent.

VIIIHere we have another article from AmélieIS and another calendar article. I like how the Imperial Calendar article gets a little into the language of the world, explains the history of the calendar, and establishes a type of calendar I don't normally see - one with irregular month/season lengths - all in a concise little package. The aesthetics are also very pleasing and informative.   My take-away from this is a reminder that an article doesn't have to be long to cover a lot of ground, an issue I struggle with on account of my tendency to create gigantic run-on sentences and belabor topics for the sake of 'completeness.' Brevity is the soul of wit!

IX Chrispy_0's species articles are always a treat to read. The visuals are great and the articles themselves are written very realistically. Honestly, there's more than one such article that could appear here, but I wanted to pick one so I can have a broader selection.   I like how Skyshell has a section view of the creature and the way that the creature is integrated into the lore of the world at various levels. This article makes me want to step up my visuals game most of all, but it also makes me want to go more in-depth with the non-species articles in Manifold Sky.

XI like Darkseid's article about the settlement of Nicomeia because of the evocative use of prose. I really want to achieve the 'picturesque' quality of writing that I see here.

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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17 Jan, 2022 23:20

Another great compilation of articles! Thank you for including my article, I'll add these to my reading list.

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