Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge in The Hunter's Dream | World Anvil
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Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge

Summer Camp Recap

I had an amazing time with Summer Camp. This is my fifth time taking part (2018, 2020-2023), and my fourth time qualifying for diamond. It's always a challenge to do, and it's always been an absolute blast taking part. All the inspiring prompts, the community coming together in an extravaganza of creativity...its truly an incomparable experience and is always a highlight of the year.   Every year has tweaked the formula somewhat, and I have to say I've loved the wildcards that were added this year. I like having prompts tie together, but it's nice having a few things that stand more on their own. And it's nice having the ability to pick and choose prompts even if we're working towards diamond. There's always a few prompts that just don't work as well for me, for one reason or another, which means I wind up with an article I'm just not as pleased with as the others. This approach meant I was able to claim diamond without having any problem articles that are going to take huge amounts of editing to sort out later.   I used this year's Summer Camp as motivation to launch a new writing project. Some friends of mine got me to listen to the Magnus Archives this year, and it was so good. Ever since, I've been playing with the ideas presented in that podcast in my head, and took Summer Camp as the opportunity to start writing those ideas down. It took me a bit to get started - I didn't make the time in June to do the prep work, and I haven't done much in the way of writing at all since the end of 2022's Summer Camp, but by the end of the second week I was writing daily, and it wasn't long before I was up to a steady 2 articles a day. Some articles are a little rushed, a lot are missing at least some detail that I just didn’t spend the time to get into, but overall, I’m quite pleased with what I accomplished. If you want to see what I’ve written, please visit the event article linked below:  
Summer Camp 2023
Generic article | Aug 13, 2023

The Statistics


I picked the prompts based on the 3 things I consider most critical to a good story: characters, conflict, and cities. (Setting more generally, yes, but a city is so often a distillation of the setting it is found in, or at least the region around it.) I quite enjoy both stories of exploration and history, so I chose the character driven by wanderlust from the various character prompts, and the ancient, still inhabited city from the various settlement prompts. For conflict I only had the one choice, though thinking back on previous conflict prompts I've written, I think I would have chosen this year's prompt over those of years past.   I picked out an extra article for each prompt, as a lot of these are articles are from worlds I already followed, and read over the course of July. Adding a fourth article to each prompt means there's at least 2 writers I've never encountered before in each category.

A Character Driven by Wanderlust


The Cartographer
Character | Jul 22, 2023

The founder of the charters and one heck of an explorer. Also, currently a non-ghost.

I quite liked this character - her historical significance is resonant through the whole article, and the idea of her imprint going around still exploring is really cool.


Character | Oct 15, 2023

Tricks and grace, hearts race.

Lyra is a charming character. As a TTRPG player and occasional GM, I greatly appreciate the inclusion of descriptions of how she performs, guiding motivations and plot hooks - there's enough there to be a solid reminder for a GM during a game while being brief enough that reading those bits isn't going to cause a significant pause in the game.


Magnus Marchelli
Character | Aug 1, 2023
Theiket's writing is always a delight to see - his articles are short, but always manage to be quite evocative and memorable regardless.

Bard of the Rift

Sivak Sutra'ber
Character | Jan 27, 2024
Sivak very much feels like one of those NPCs that grew to be way more significant than originally intended. This article does a great job of being thorough without feeling long winded or overly information-dense.

I always have a bit of trouble knowing what to do with character articles - I generally wind up telling a meandering story about what they've done in their lives, and it often comes out fairly decent as much as it goes, but a life history is only part of a character. These articles have given me a lot to think about regarding other details I should try to add in with my articles.  

A Conflict Between Two Unequal Powers


Scorching of Mercury
Military Conflict | Dec 31, 2023

The Scorching of Mercury, also known as the First Solar Invasion, was an invasion by the angelic armies known today as the Scourge. The invasion destroyed most of Mercurian civilization and radically changed the planet's biosphere across four years.

What can I say other than that this article is fantastic! It's hard to properly portray events that happen on this sort of scale, but Nnie managed to do it quite remarkably. As an aside, this was my first time reading anything of this particular world, and ...what an introduction! With no context, the article is quite overwhelming, but it's the kind of overwhelming that makes you want to know more. I haven't made the time to do so yet, but I'll definitely be coming back to this world to learn more at some point.


The last war
Military Conflict | Mar 17, 2024

The last war we had with Illénie & Rénance 10 years ago was a bit more bloody than usual, but even so it would not have stood particularly out without it having been the stage of a far more momentous event: the emergence of our Dark Lord.

Amelie's articles consistently manage to capture the feeling of an in-universe perspective. Most articles here on World Anvil go for an encyclopedic sort of perspective, but the perspective here is clearly that of a follower of the new Dark Lord. Another thing that really stands out with this article is the formatting - a unique style like this really gives a world its own sense of identity.


Chromatic Protests
Military Conflict | Feb 25, 2024

A series of peaceful protests by artists in Okodranous, fighting against the exploitation of workers in the city. The final takeover of the harbour sparked the big Harbour Festival of Okodranous

Here, we have an excellent tale of peaceful protest leading to a change in society. So many writers seem to feel that this sort of thing is inherently boring, but this article shows that sometimes, non-violence actually results in a more interesting story.

Amelia Nite

Living vs. the Dead
Military Conflict | Jul 5, 2023
Amelia proves that with the right framing, even a story idea as widely used as zombie plagues can feel fresh and different. Opening this sort of article with an in-world account from a character experiencing the conflict first hand is a superb hook, priming the reader to feel the tension and terror in what they read about for the rest of the article.

I always feel like I struggle to write good conflict articles. Not because I write worlds that are somehow devoid of conflict, but because the ones most worth writing about are so incredibly broad that I have trouble conveying the scope effectively. These articles are examples of ways to do that effectively, either by good use of in-world perspectives or having a narrative sufficiently well defined that the conflict article becomes a story in its own right.  

An Ancient City Still Inhabited Today


Settlement | Jul 18, 2023

The heavily magical capital of Fjolkandr, built atop fey ruins for promise of new life.

Hanhula goes very in depth in portraying the society, its major industries and its history, and it's all fascinating. There's a lot here already, and there's so much room to develop things further.


Settlement | Jul 18, 2023

An ancient merfolk city that has been inhabited by many cultures over the centuries.

The description of Erevenor is somewhat brief, but it's very focused on the history aspect. I get the feeling this would be a city with a similar sort of feeling to Athens or Rome, where you have buildings from vastly different time periods standing side by side...only it's all underwater.


Settlement | Dec 22, 2023

Wiegas is one of the oldest settlements in the nation of Sarton, emerging as one of the very first Sarton cities. An hundred years after the capital city of Shaulen was built, another city was built by the Sarton in order to expand the Kingdom.

Wiegas sounds like a city ruled with an iron fist, but the kind of place that has enough influence and wealth to draw people in regardless. I quite liked the segment on points of interest, which gives the kind of summary of important locations that one might need to refer to as a GM running a tabletop game.


Settlement | Jul 19, 2023

An ancient city in the mountains that became the capital of the Kingdom of Illtresi

The description of Chikomo is fairly vague, but manages to paint a picture of how the city feels as much as how it looks. It's hard to impress me with imagery (I have aphantasia, which means I don't visualize things as part of my thought process, which robs imagery of a lot of its power), but reading about a city lit by the twinkling lights of the obsidian roof and the comets of light moving through the streets...that's how you do imagery even I can appreciate.

Of these 3 prompts, settlements are the ones I'm most comfortable with, but there's always room to improve, and my comfort comes more from the knowledge of infrastructure and logistics involved in making a city function, not inherently in how to write the experience of living in a city. All four of the articles I selected here tackle that aspect in different ways, be it the in depth discussion of Hanhula's Kynngisdalr, the many layers of Serukis's Erevenor, the focused points of interest of JDebro's Wiegas, or the general feel of Sh4d0wPh03n1x's Chikomo. Each article is brilliant in its own way, and they all take a very different approach.  

Future Writing Goals

Goal 1: Complete Remaining Prompts

While I have written 32 of the Summer Camp prompts, I had ideas for all 42 of them; I just left some of them for later. And later is this month, August. Between finishing this reading challenge and the Awards Ceremony later in the month, my main focus will be fleshing out the ideas for these last 10 prompts.  

Goal 2: Editing Articles

After the Awards Ceremony, I plan to work on editing the Summer Camp articles. Some of them are pretty fragmentary, and there's probably at least a couple of contradictions built into the world already. Some stuff can be extended, some stuff can be touched up, everything comes out better on a rewrite than a first draft, etc. It's not as fun as the initial discovery writing process, but it's an important step that I need to get a handle on  

Goal 3: Stubbing Out

There's a bunch of stuff I mention that should be linking to future articles, but doesn't have all those links in place. Some of them are there, but are a stub that has a name that will be cryptic if I don't take notes on what I meant now. Some of these I'll write out in full, but the main goal here is establishing usable stubs for the future, so I'll be trying to keep the word count under 50. After all, WorldEmber is a thing, and having a bunch of stubs ready and waiting for December will be very useful.  

Goal 4: Formatting and Art

Finally, one thing that stands out massively in most of the articles I've read, both in this set of 12 and articles I've been reading in general, is just how much better an article looks when people take the time to work out a unique layout, add pictures, etc. The text is still the most important part, it is, after all, writing, but formatting helps so much with reading flow, and the pictures help one see what the original writer had imagined.


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Aug 15, 2023 00:23 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Congratulations on an awesome Summer Camp, and thank you so much for the shout out <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Aug 18, 2023 08:18 by Rashkavar

Thanks, and always happy to give you a shout out! Your writing is an inspiration!