WorldEmber 2023 Pledge & Progress Report
Howdy, one and all, and welcome to my WorldEmber progress report! The leaves are fallen, the air is cooling, and the end of the year is rapidly approaching. That means it's time, once again, to finish the season with one last burst of frenetic worldbuilding content and demonstrate our growth as writers via the annual WorldEmber chellenge. Below, you will find all the preparatory homework assignments leadiing up to the challenge, articles written during the challenge, and any other interesting musings or tidbits of worldbuilding I get done over the course of December 2023. I will endeavor to submit at least one article for each category this year, but I feel this is of a lesser priority than successfully achieving at least 50,000 words per my New Year's Resolutions stretch goal. Articles will appear in alphabetical order within subdivisions for each article type to the extent possible for maximum readability. Without any further ado, let's get this party started!
During November, WorldAnvil announced a series of homework assignments designed to help us get ready for the WorldEmber challenge. You can find a link to the homework submission page in the sidebar content panel.
Week 1Aside from setting a word count goal (see above) and filling out a pledge document (see the top of the sidebar), the first homework assignment consisted of setting a scope for our worldbuilding efforts - an area of our world, whether physical or thematically, that we would primarily be expanding upon during the course of this challenge. Though I'm working on multiple projects at the moment, the most topical one for the purpose of this challenge a manuscript for this Manifold Sky setting. Catalyst: A Manifold Sky Story is the working title for the manuscript I've previously discussed as the "The Garbage Man Arc" (or TGMA in the search tags). I've started working on Catalyst during NaNoWriMo, but it's hard to say if I'm going to reach my wordcount goal. Still, the project is ongoing, so there's a solid chance that my WorldEmber articles will primarily center around matters of worldbuilding coincident with that story. After a long stretch of doing other things with my life, I'm excited to get reacquainted with my oldest and most expansive world. However, I also started writing several snippets from another potential manuscript - The Fortress of Salt - during Spooktober 2023 and may opt to work on articles relevant to that story when I start feeling low on inspiration for Catalyst. The Fortress of Salt is part of another world, a hard science fiction setting called the Sealed Kingoms, so it will provide a nice diversion from the usual content.
Week 2Week 2's homework consists of creating a mini-meta - a sort of subcategory of the world meta specific to the area we will be focussing on - fine-tuning our worlds' category structure, and talking a little bit about other worlds and works of fiction that we can draw from for inspiration. For the first part of this homework, it's really quite hard to think of how I could boil down the meta to fit just the parts of the world I'm going to be working on. The story I have planned out for Catalyst spans large portions of the Manifold because the setting itself is meant to draw inspiration, in part, from old adventure serials. Instead, consider the The Manifold Sky Primer. I wrote this a few years back as part of another challenge with a similarly broad scope and, since the antics of the Garbage Man trying to take revenge against the Creator was already a well-established source of conflict in the setting even back then, the primer is germane to my current story about the Garbage Man getting into antics. For the second part, I'm reasonably satisfied with my current article structure for the Manifold Sky setting - again largely the result of a previous challenge - but I did take some time to categorize some articles that still needed it. The Sealed Kingdoms setting, the other wrold likely to see a lot of work during this upcoming challenge, is another matter entirely. I will be working to hash out the article structure over there as I go along, as, though its been my brainchild for much longer, the setting is still comparatively new with regards to my efforts here on WorldAnvil. For the third part, I've been trying to become more grounded in the existing literature in my genre. The Expeditionary Force and Bobiverse book series, as well as The Expanse television show, are all great inspirations for space opera. This has been much easier for the Sealed Kingdoms than it has been for Manifold Sky, as the latter has (if I might brag a little) a pretty unique premise to it. Flatland, the Indiana Jones series, the Bioshock and Fallout game series, and the Backrooms youtube series by Kane Pixels have had some influence on the trajectory of the Manifold Sky setting as of late. For reasons that would qualify as spoilers (now's your chance to stop reading!), Neuromancer, Blade Runner, and The Matrix are also influences on both worlds.
Week 3The homework for Week 3 consists of tuning up the homepage for our worlds, specifically with regards to user accessibility. It's important to have an intuitive homepage bacause, not only are first impressions important, but, in my experience, it's hard to push oneself to explore further in a world if there aren't any clear 'trail heads' into the body of the world content. I'm pretty satisfied with the layout of links, table of contents, and social widgets that I have already for the Manifold Sky home page. I cleaned up the map section a little so that only the most relevant ones remain. The world blurb and primer could probably use some updates; I did remove the first sentence of the blurb and edit the second for brevity. I would really like to update the cover art (including the generic article headers that go with it), but, beyond logos and some maps, my own art skills aren't really up to snuff. That change might have to wait a little while longer while I consider what would work best.
Week 4This week's homework assignment is to do some final preparation for the challenge, such as setting up our workspaces and establishing a writing schedule. It's not visible at the time of this writing, but I've been setting up article stubs that can be fleshed out over the course of the challenge so that I'm not struggling for inspiration out of the gate. It isn't so easy to set up a consistent writing schedule because of my other commitments - I tend to do 'guerilla' writing sessions over lunch breaks - but I think I can commit to at least 30-60 minutes a day. I've been cleaning up my sleep schedule lately, so that might open up an extra time slot in the mornings if I don't get distracted. Importantly, I'm going to post my monthly State of the Manifold journal entry shortly after I finish up here, then try to do another one early during December; even though that isn't much time between posts, getting it out of the way will finish up that part of my New Years' resolution and, thus, free up my focus for the more immediate challenge.
~Coming December 2023~
Eliza McCray* Florian Lamont Vitrio Graasp Qest Ausomi
Karst The Metastructure*
Ba'ichai Manifold Edge* Pulsebow Xylem Horn
League Army Shining Hands of the Forest
Boots Camp Vastus Fox Mat Mistglare Station*
Ode to Autumn Love
Active Anisotropic Perceptual Simulation Dimensional Anomaly
Flockmind Surrogate Forensic Large Dataset Model*
Traditional Gondsholmian Cuisine* Virtue-Walker