World Anvil Summer Camp 2024 Prep

It's that time again! Summer Camp 2024 is upon us, and after some umming and ahhing about whether I'll be able to pull it off effectively given a few major changes going on in my life in July, I've decided it's time to crack on again and see how much I can churn out. I've been doing a lot of quiet in the background work for the Calinan Sea since last year's Summer Camp, most of which is still hidden for now (it's not quite in publishable quality and is quite piecemeal).   As with previous Summer Camps, I will be developing and expanding my Bronze Age fantasy world, the Calinan Sea (a sea between three continents and the lands surrounding it, loosely inspired by the ancient Mediterranean).  

Week 1 Theme - Change


Assignment 1: Change

Consider what kind of changes would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.
  So we were asked to consider what kind of changes would fit in with our world's themes, genre, and foundational points. This is a big one - the Calinan Sea is going through a lot of changes, particularly during the time period in question - two of the biggest conflicts circle around the power dynamics in the Calinan Sea and the continent of Arikanda being completely thrown up in the air. Kingdoms are falling, empires are rising and at loggerheads, and power dynamics, belief systems and societal systems that have been in place for thousands of years are suddenly in upheaval. Some will evolve, some will lock down hard, and some will crash and burn. I'm looking forward to expanding upon that. Ultimately most of the Calinan Sea stories are built upon the idea of change, so I expect to have a lot to work on this!   Some more specific examples of change I can work with would be:
  • Regime change- the city of Mayoka's transition from monarchy to oligarchy in the aftermath of the Mayokati Civil War
  • Geopolitical change - The expansion of the Kalriv Empire down the Sapphire Coast, towards the borders of the Arikandan Heartlands and Helikan League territory. The expansion of the Kjoqvist-Calinan Trading Company into the Calinan Sea, traditionally dominated by the Avadian Sovereignty.
  • Cultural change - The Free City of Kas' change over time from three towns from two different cultures across the meeting point of two continents into a consolidated megapolis, unified culture and one of the largest cities in the world.
  Beyond that, I want to use the prompts themselves to help me come up with new ideas of how change can be implemented and reacted to in the world!  

Assignment 2: The Pledge

Based on this, decide how many prompts you'll go for during Summer Camp. Then, download the pledge document and fill it accordingly!
  From a look at my history, you'll see I have quite a varying performance on Summer Camp - two Diamonds, one Copper and one Silver, so I've pretty much run the gamut. In terms of the question of how much time/effort will I have to write - it will really depend on my energy levels, my attention span and my workload as to how well I do this year. I have a bit of a stumbling block in that I'm moving halfway through the month, but I also had a stroke of genius and gave myself the first half of the month off to prepare for that and recharge from work (which will hopefully allow for time and energy for creative endeavours), so hopefully those will balance out!   It'll also be the first Summer Camp I've attempted after knowing and developing strategies for my ADHD traits, so it will be interesting to see how that goes in terms of tackling executive function issues.   I'd like to qualify for Silver again if I can, I felt that was a really good achievement- that said if I'm so tied up Copper is the best I can land, so be it, and if I go Gold, I'll be really pleased!   Attached below is the pledge document.  

Assignment 3: Tags and Categories

Get your categories and tags organized!
  This is something I really need to get better at doing, and perhaps this is the catalyst I need to do it! I've used Summer Camp tags before and I will continue to use those, but given the sheer scope of the Calinan Sea in recent years, I've probably not really done the correct amount of tagging and using proper category arrangement. I think I'll look at that for sure - as I go, I'll mark how I have expanded upon this.   15/06/2024: Whoo! So I took this to heart and assorted all my articles into relevant categories, subcategories, and in some cases containing them within articles. It's been a few hours of work and about 75% of it won't be visible just yet, but it's looking amazing! I'd like to look at tagging articles too, but that may be significantly more work than I can do while juggling Summer Camp work. We will see!  

Assignment 4: Meta/primer updates

Take a look at your meta, primer, and any other high-level document and update it according to the current state of your world.
  Fortunately I tend to be fairly up to speed when it comes to my core documents for the Calinan Sea. That said, the meta could do with a bit of a refresh as it has been a little while, and the world has expanded sufficiently that the main splash page and introductions could use some tweaks. I'll definitely be working on those. Similarly to Assignment 3, I'll be expanding upon this as I go.  

Week 2 Theme - Refuge

Assignment 1: Refuge

Consider what kinds of refuge would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.
  Refuge is going to be a fun theme to play with! I have a ton of ideas for refuges that would fit the Calinan Sea - Wayfarers need safe ports for their ships and shelter from storms, escaped slaves in the Kalriv Empire need places to escape pursuit, anyone in the Marai Desert is going to need to be taking refuge from the heat constantly. That's not even getting into things that might need deeper thought - raiders, bandits and pirates need refuge too so there's plenty to work with there. There are already fledgling ideas I have for organisations and people and cultures who provide (or require) refuge as well.   Depending on the prompts, some ideas I have could be:
  • Locations dedicated to refuge: storm ports, pirate coves/islands/bases, safehouses (assassin guilds/ranger stations/underground shelters/escaped slave hideouts)
  • Organisations/people providing refuge: Religious orders, secular societies, liberation organisations, rangers
  • Organisations/people needing refuge: Escaped slaves, Dhar nomads, Wayfarer companies, raiders/pirates, spies/scouts, people from a collapsed/conquered state
  • Organisations/people people need refuge from: Slave hunters, raiders/pirates, conquerors/pirates, assassins, enemy armies
  This will be a fun one to work with!  

Assignment 2: Community

Find a community—whether that’s our Discord server, Facebook Group, your RPG or friend group, or something else.
Fortunately I have a bit of this in place already! I've picked up a few followers along the way already on World Anvil, but I also post a bit on the WA Facebook page, and there are some friends I discuss my progress vaguely with. I'm on the Discord group but haven't really used it much - perhaps I should look at changing that!  

Assignment 3: Styling

Find ways to improve styling and layout in your world!
This is probably one of my weaker areas. I am quite prone to being a somewhat text-heavy worldbuilder - although I do practice regular breaking up into sections, interspersing with quotes and images where appropriate. I have always admired the works of art some of the more design-savvy worldbuilders have been able to whip up with their articles! It's a matter of getting time to really sit down and sink into it. I may do similar to what I've been doing in Week 1 Assignment 3 and kind of chip away at this as I progress.  

Assignment 4: CSS

If you’re a CSS wizard, maybe take the time now to give it a polish!
I am no CSS wizard, so this one will have to be a pass for me. Perhaps one day I'll dig deeper into it!  

Week 3 Theme - Belief


Assignment 1: Belief

Consider what kind of beliefs would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.
Oooh, this is one I have quite a lot of work already put in for! Not to toot my own horn but I feel the Calinan Sea is a rich setting when it comes to belief systems. There are three major religions, plus offshoots of those and other faiths. Monotheism, henotheism, polytheism all get representations, and those religions span the gamut from 'a personal choice' all the way to 'state religion / theocracy / embedded caste system'. I look forward to using the prompts to elaborate and expand on that, and make a lot of what I have designed available to the public!   Expect to see expansions on:
  • The Solar Faith, the monotheistic state religion of the Kalriv Empire
  • Elementalism, the five-deity faith of the Tanorite, Sapphran and Heartlander peoples on the continent of Arikanda, and the Magantine and Solathine peoples on the continent of Calina.
  • The worship of the thousand-deity Avadian pantheon among the peoples of the Avadian Sovereignty and its many holdings across the Calinan Sea
  • Eranic Duality, a mysterious two-deity belief system present in Free City of Kas and beyond
  Beyond just religion, there are ancient traditions, charismatic leaders, cults of personality, urban myths, government systems/philosophies and all sorts to draw on. Arguably, belief - and both its application/influence on a society plus a source of personal inspiration for an individual - could be considered one of the core themes of the world. It's a well that never seems to run dry for me, so I am really hoping to get a lot of prompts out of it!  

Assignment 2: Inspiration

Create a bank of inspirations! Quotes, music, description of experiences and shower thoughts, etc
I have collected a pretty long list of inspirations for work on the Calinan Sea. Constantly researching various cultures and civilisations gives me not just cultures to draw from but an understanding of how they work.   I also have playlists to inspire me, along with various forms of media, both fictional and factual.  

Assignment 3: Art

Find art and pictures that inspire you, and grab a map if you don't have one (and need one)
Something I was meant to be doing but never quite got around to it was using the various photos I've taken during my adventures in the Mediterranean to help work on my descriptions. I can probably go back to that. In addition, there are all kinds of pictures/artwork of ancient buildings, cities and the like I can use.   I do have my most recent map of the Calinan Sea set up, but I do want to look at blowing those up and focusing on particular regions, which I've not quite zoomed in on the way I want to. I also want to look at working on city maps, which I've always found a bit daunting. Perhaps Summer Camp will spur me on that!  

Assignment 4: Reviewing old inspirations

Check your inspirations again. Are they still relevant? Can you find any that better represent the current state of your project?
Reviewing my list, there's definitely more room to review my inspirations. I have read, watched, played and visited a whole bunch of new things since I last filled out my inspirations. There's also a big 'imagery' entry that I have completely ignored - there are artist impressions of inspirational civilisations and photos of ruins from my travels to use. Check this space!  

Week 4 Theme - Decay

Assignment 1: Decay

Consider what kind of decay would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.
Decay is going to be an interesting one to work with! There are all kinds of examples of decay I can see appearing on the Calinan - not just physical decay, but mental decay, societal decay, decay of power structures, spiritual powers, the works. And there are examples of both positive and negative decay.   It will be interesting to see how I work it on a societal level - typically a lot of the drama in the Calinan Sea on a geopolitical level is based off too many powers on the rise at once, not so much powers on the wane. Perhaps that is something to look at. The clash between the Avadians and Kjor is certainly steeped in the Avadian hegemony of the seas declining to perhaps there is that.   It might be fun to work out how noble intentions decay into dystopian ones too - the Kalriv caste system and its militarism/expansionism was borne out of good intentions but was eventually twisted into something uglier and open to abuse by powerful people. Also the breakdown in monarchy in Mayoka - and the circumstances which led to it - could be fun to work with.  

Assignment 2: Optimise your environment

If you like special tea when you write, stock up for a month. Tidy your office, make a “do not disturb” sign, and think about any other last-minute strategies to optimize your writing space and time!
Hoo boy, this is going to be an interesting one. I decided to do Summer Camp in focus challenge mode this year - I'm a fortnight removed from moving house at least once (possibly twice depending on the rental market!). I have decided to be somewhat lenient on myself with that in mind. That said, I'm making use of transit time to and from work to get some of my usual Summer Camp work done - my usual MO is to put a dent in it earlier in the day, then finish and piece it all together again in the evening.   I also completely accidentally gave myself the first half of July off work, so even with the chaos of a move I am hoping to really whack a dent in those prompts! Traditionally I have done really well finding myself a quiet place by the sea or in nature, whipping the laptop out and going to town so I will hopefully get to do that a lot this time.  

Assignment 3: Review your homepage

Review your world homepage to hook potential readers!
I completed this yesterday (as of 27/6/24) - I really felt my homepage, while good thus far, could use some elaboration on the four main getting started sections, and also could use a pitch of sorts that depicts the kind of adventures, sights, sounds and peoples you can find in the Calinan Sea. So I added a new section depicting the latter, and some sentences for the former to accompany the links. It's already paid dividends with some new Wayfarers following the world!  

Assignment 4: Update your intro and author page

Take a look at your author profile and pillar articles on your world and polish them!
I decided to give my author profile a bit of a shine-up - I wanted something a bit less short, but wanted to avoid the generic 'Liam J. Johnston was born in 19something and went to Insert University Here', so I kind of did an introductory few paragraphs explaining who I am, what I like and what I'm doing'. I think it's an improvement!  

Bring on Summer Camp!

Whew! I will probably still do a bit of polishing on the pledge over the next day or two as we wait for the prompts to drop, but by and large the homework's complete! Good luck to everyone's Summer Camp adventure, I can't wait to see what we all can do!
-Liam J. Johnston, Perth, June 2024

Cover image: by World Anvil


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Jun 27, 2024 20:50 by jyliet of the house

Good luck! I feel you about being a more text-heavy worldbuilder. I think your styling looks great! :)

Jun 27, 2024 21:54 by Ephraïm Boateng

As a heavy text world-builder myself, i completely understand your concern, but i think your articles are well made and very easy to read without it feeling overwhelming, even if the amount of text is large. Wish you a happy Summer Camp and good luck getting that silver badge! Exited to read your entries!