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2023: Looking Forward by Looking Back

2022 has wound to a close and, even if I did nothing else, I met my goals in Summer Camp and WorldEmber. So, yay! This year I want to put more work into my world of The Ocean. But this will probably not involve making many new articles, for two reasons:
  1. After some experimenting with the idea of an in-world chronicler and narrator, I've decided to go fully in that direction and start rewriting existing articles to reflect that perspective. That means a lot of things will get un-published for a while so I can tinker with them at leisure.
  2. I have discovered the wonders of the excerpt field, and it is now my goal for all my published articles to have excerpts that both explain and tease.

Having said that, I also recognize that there are parts of my world I need to expand. I tallied up my least-frequently-used article templates, and dove into the WorldEmber special category lists to see what I could find that might get me motivated:  
  1. Natural Laws. I made one early on, about the "magic" in my world, and figured I was done--but the scope of this category is really much greater than How Magic Works. A natural law can be any aspect of the world that characters must react to and deal with, but that they ultimately have no power over even if they can harness it. The Roaring by CR1MS0MN1AS is exactly that, a powerful and regularly occurring solar tempest affecting the whole world at once, like having a hurricane every other Saturday. My world doesn't have anything quite that dramatic, but its inhabitants still need to predict and work with, for example, regularly changing weather patterns. Laws also can be in-world explanations of phenomena, however incomplete or incorrect, that represent what the characters understand (or don't) about their world--like Dragonquillca's article on Dragonflight.  It's honest about what they don't know, and it's a good reminder that I don't have to know everything either, as long as I know just a little bit more than my characters do.
  3. Spells and Abilities. Having a not very magical world, and not running games in it, I've largely ignored this category because I thought I didn't have anything to put in it. But what's an ability anyway? Just a thing that someone can do. It doesn't have to come with stats and instructions for dice rolls. Redstone Manipulation by Lady Grayish is an example of an ability simply stated. Like the Dragonflight article, it's about a knack a species has for a particular talent that isn't all that well understood. Thinking about my own world in those terms opens up a lot of possibilities I hadn't really been paying attention to before. Then there's A curse and a prophecy by JasmineP.Antwoine. It's not what you'd traditionally think of as a spell, but it makes sense to put divine powers into this category also. My world may not have gods, but it does have characters who were trying to achieve that level of power.
  5. Language. I have ambitious ideas about whole families of languages emerging from a single ancestral culture. I love linguistics, but the enormity of what I have in mind is so overwhelming that I haven't been able to get myself started. That's why, even though I'm trying to avoid commenting on articles that have already been mentioned in other reading challenges, I just have to point to Iwis Tuuzaraj's basic Izij Phrases by MissIzette. This is exactly the kind of thing my world needs. It doesn't have to be a full language with elaborate grammar to be worthy of an article. I don't even necessarily have to create a tourist vocabulary, as Qurilion's Lexicon shows. A glossary like that, with a link to it on any article that gets jargon-heavy, would probably be a good help to someone who's not familiar with my world.
  7. Technology. This area is where my cowardice really shines through. With no background in engineering, I feel perfectly unqualified to talk tech, so this category has been intimidating. But, again, it is finally sinking in to me that I don't have to know enough to write a patent--I just need to explain to someone from out of town what this thing is and why it's used. Interspace Communications by Savoic and Display tech by MadToxin do just that. These are both elegant articles describing in fairly simple terms technology basic to their worlds, but without talking down to the reader. At the same time, it all feels plausible. Theirs may be harder sci-fi worlds than mine, but their tech fills needs that my characters also have. How do they communicate over long distances? Record and present information? What about traveling with small children? Transporting heavy objects? Displaying works of art? There's no rule that says technology has to be high-tech.
  9. Documents. My characters have language, so they have to be writing something. If nothing else, they must have boring governmental documents like the Royal Establishment of Weights, Measures, and Currencies for the Kingdom of Sudland by Pete Nelson. It's gloriously tedious and mundane, the sort of nuts and bolts that underpin every civilization. While I continue to define the standardized units of time in my world, I need to remember that there must also be a document of exactly this type as their basis. And then, completely unlike it in every way, there are the literary Mysteries of the Codex of Durul Vuliim Al-Hsatar by eldknighterrant, which might be the work of an ancient worldbuilder. Regulations and entertainment--two sources of documents that must exist somewhere in my world.
Wow...I don't know how much of that I'll be able to accomplish! Given my other goals, I have to say I'll be satisfied even if all I do is make up a list of potential new articles. The last thing I want to do is burn myself out.

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28 Jan, 2023 14:13

Have a super inspiring year of worldbuilding :D

Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
Latest Work:
Gauntlet - my shiniest article this year!
29 Jan, 2023 00:19

Thank you, and may you have the same!