Promises I won't keep in The Ocean | World Anvil
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Promises I won't keep

The trouble with setting goals is this often annoying but always interesting thing called Reality. Last year at about this time, I boldy promised to rework my world from a narrator perspective and add excerpts to all my published articles. I also identified the five article types I'd used least, explored the category submissions for inspiration, and vowed to add more of those types to my world.   Did I succeed? Err...sort of.   I got off to a good start, honest I did. But then I got...distracted. I started another world, kind of by accident, and didn't really get around to my New Year's resolutions until November. Those resolutions then became my WorldEmber plan, and that worked! I reached the finish line with more articles of the types I needed and more headway in the whole narrator-and-excerpt plan.   As I did last year, I'll present ten articles, two from each of five categories, and see how they will help me make my world better.


Spells and abilities

This is one of the article types I planned to work on last year. I'm not writing high fantasy or hard sci-fi, so I don't have much in the way of magical or supernatural abilities to explain, but I still managed to double my spell article count during WorldEmber by writing one about meditation. (If you're following the math, that's a grand total of TWO documented abilities in my entire world.)  

Spirit Speaking

by Elspeth
Spirit Speaking
Spell | Jun 12, 2024
A spell that does...nothing! Not a joke, it says right there in the article: "The spell has no effect." And yet that's not quite true, because those who "cast" it do get some intangible benefit from it. Peace of mind, comfort, confidence, direction...a short rest if nothing else.   For me, this article is a good reminder that spells don't have to be flashy or dramatic. They don't even have to be responsible for the effect they have. Bringing an umbrella to make sure it won't rain? Spell. Getting into the shower to summon the package delivery? Spell.

Final Service

by Tanai Cuinsear
Final Service
Spell | Dec 30, 2023

Ritual used to animate Dariworkers

Who says necromancy has to be evil? Why raise an army of undead to take over the world, when running it is the harder task? With this reanimation spell, people who sign the appropriate paperwork while alive can contribute their bodies (after death, of course) to the sort of tedious labor that not a lot of living people enjoy doing.   Raising the dead isn't a thing in my world, but there are similarly widely-feared practices that could be turned to beneficial purpose.


Natural laws

I meant to write more in this category too. WorldEmber gave me the opportunity to expound on a couple of real-life natural laws that apply to my world, but that still only brings me up to...three. So I went hunting in the submissions for this category in search of further ideas.  


by ToothGardener
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Feb 8, 2024
Sometimes I get CSS overload. Reading articles with bright colors and moving parts can be fun in small doses, but after a while it's just too much. When I open up a brief and tidy article in the default style, my brain gives a sigh of relief. Here is an example of all an article needs to be. Clear, well-formatted, informative without being overdramatic. And as I was reading about the future sight aspect, I realized that there is a similar ability in my world that I don't have an article for.   The most important thing about this article, at least for me, is that it was inspired by a worldbuilding prompt. I had actually forgotten that if I'm ever stuck for what to write, World Anvil has a whole archive of prompts I can dig through. Something in that list is bound to be exactly what I didn't realize my world needs.

Rabbit Hole

by E. Christopher Clark
Rabbit Hole
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Dec 22, 2023

A rabbit hole, like a wormhole, is a tunnel between distinct points in spacetime. The trouble with a rabbit hole, however, is that it begins branching off in enticing new directions nearly as soon as you step into it.

I love this explanation of the proverbial rabbit hole, a phenomenon which regularly costs me hours of time and seems most alluring when I'm under deadline. That it's established as a concept in the very world we got the expression from in the first place is literary perfection.   There's no equivalent of this specific example in my world, but it expands the possible applications for the article template. After all, human traits like curiosity and distractibility are just as much natural laws as magic and weather, and my cultures surely must use some metaphors to talk about them.



I have a couple of material articles in my world, and they are boring. It's not that my world is lacking in stuff, but that none of it is magical or techy or any kind of interesting, so it's boring to write about. I may not be alone in this, since there weren't many everyday materials in this category.  

Asteroid Ice

by spleen
Asteroid Ice
Material | Dec 18, 2023

A source of water found in the Desolate Ring

In a space-based sci-fi world, water is at the same time an ordinary material and a scarce resource. When it's not lying around ready to drink you have to get it any way you can, even if that means scraping it off an asteroid and dealing with the metallic taste.   I don't understand how I haven't written an article about water yet. It's so abundant in my world, and it's the closest thing to a magic material that exists there. People can't drink it straight out of the ocean, so it has to get collected and processed somehow.

Meat Sources

by vvulf
Meat Sources
Material | Dec 5, 2023

You are what you eat.

I love the movie Zootopia, but it left me with a nagging question: what do the carnivores eat? This article provides an answer that makes sure no Morphic (sapient animal species) feels threatened as prey.   I hadn't been thinking much about animals as a source of material, but the primary cultures of my world do rely on birds for feathers and eggs. It's forbidden to kill them as food, though, which makes me wonder how my narrator would react upon learning that there exist cultures that eat bird meat.


Military formations

This category intimidates me because I know spit-all about military and warfare. The few formations I've written about are described in the handwaviest terms. I have weaselly reasons why there haven't been any major wars in my world, but there can't just be thousands of years of history without people fighting organized conflict somewhere.  

Opening Gambit - Peace Treaty Tactic

by Elspeth
Opening Gambit - Peace Treaty Tactic
Military Formation | Jun 12, 2024
This article challenges my assumption of what a military formation is. There's nothing militaristic about these diplomats--their goal is to prevent or end war, not fight it. But all the same, it's a team of trained personnel with the objective of winning a victory on behalf of a larger organization.   I do have groups like that on my world. Until now I don't know that I would have considered the military formation template for them.

TMS Shock Unit

by William Lucas
TMS Shock Unit
Military Formation | Dec 6, 2023
A combat medical team? Why not? The primary role of this formation is rescue, not battle, but they're armed and they'll take whatever steps necessary to keep their target safe and healthy.   My world has rescue crews too. They may not take it to this extreme, but I could still write up those fleets with this template. And why stop there? Why shouldn't, say, a surgical team be considered a military formation?



Prose isn't exactly worldbuilding, but what am I worldbuilding for anyway? I'm a writer, or so I keep telling myself. Yet I've only used this template once for real prose. Here, I'm looking for the kind of writing that I aspire to. Read what you like, so the advice goes, and try to write like that. And let me tell you, it was HARD to pin down two favorites from this category.  

A New Apartment

by LexiCon (WordiGirl)
A New Apartment
Prose | Jun 8, 2024
The title promises a story of someone moving into a new place, and it is that--but it's more than that. Right away it's clear there's something unusual going on. This story is only a small corner of a much larger picture. It's loaded with secrets, but doesn't give any of them away. I want to be able to do that.

Something Between a Conversation and Death

by E. Christopher Clark
Something Between a Conversation and Death
Prose | Dec 31, 2023

"What is life?" a Bekiskapan philosopher once asked. This story is his answer.

A beautiful story of grief and memory, of understanding between people and between peoples. This piece brims with emotion, which I have a hard time expressing credibly in what I write.


Well, what now?

So after all that, sketching out a to-do list of articles to write...I'm going to set it aside. It's easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of ideas, but I know from experience that the harder I start the sooner I'll fizzle out. I'm thinking that this year maybe I should not pressure myself so much.   I want to write, but it's a struggle to balance that desire with my job, my volunteer work, my many other hobbies--all of these things that I love, that are part of the core of me, and that I don't want to give up. I'm going to make an effort to distribute my energy more efficiently around all the things I do.   This coming year will probably follow the same pattern as previous ones: I'll participate in Summer Camp, Spooktober, WorldEmber, and whatever challenges in between tug at my fancy. If I happen to be inspired in between those events, then great!--but I don't want to make any more promises I can't be sure of keeping.   What I really want to change is how shy I've been about interacting with other Anvilites. Instead of throwing more stuff into my world, this year I will spend time reading more, following more, supporting more of the writers and artists whose work I enjoy.

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Jan 22, 2024 11:51 by E. Christopher Clark

I'm honored to be mentioned not once but twice here, and I love that you're using this challenge as an excuse to identify article types you want to work more on. I did that with Military Conflicts last year, and while I don't think I'll be writing a ton of them for fun I did learn enough by reading and practicing that I rated an honorable mention during Summer Camp.   Keep at it! I have a good feeling about 2024!

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jan 25, 2024 06:50

I couldn't pass them up! Actually I was also considering the Threat Response Team for a military formation, and the fact that I had already picked two of your articles was the deciding factor. I probably won't write any of these new articles until next WorldEmber, but it's never too early to plan, I guess.

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
Jan 23, 2024 11:10 by LexiCon (WordiGirl)

Aww! Thanks so much for including my article! I am honored. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And, yes. You got it right. It was *Someone* moving into his new place. I'm glad to have inspired you a bit and made you curious about my world. Also, I know how annoying it is to want to do something but things just don't work out as you had initially planned. I really don't like to make promises either. In fact, I signed a pledge this WorldEmber but it was the first year I actually lost. I did not make it to 10,000 words. But I decided to make this a lesson for myself. I also need to do better with organizing my time and taking care of myself. I have too many jobs and now I am having to figure some things out. I pray that you are able to find a nice balance and accomplish great things. God bless and much success to you with your plans for 2024! Sending love and hugs. <3

Jan 27, 2024 08:04

:D I was debating whether to capitalize that, but decided to leave it ambiguous. He has that trademark Someone detachment, though not yet the ***y confidence.   Yeah, it sure hurts hard to fall short of planned goals. A half-marathon doesn't feel like far enough when you had your sights set on the more distant finish line. But it's still a half-marathon, and I think you're worth celebrating for that, so here's a badge for your accomplishment.

Here's to a balanced year for both of us!

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
Jan 28, 2024 16:24 by LexiCon (WordiGirl)

aww! this is so adorable and sweet! :'] thank you so much for that. You drew it? It's so cute! I will indeed treasure it. <3   You're also right that he didn't yet have his confidence at full force XP I'm so glad this stuff comes across in my writing! And you're a very observant reader. I love that you pick up on things when a lot of times it seems the little details are unimportant or manage somehow to slip by unobserved.

Jan 28, 2024 16:29 by LexiCon (WordiGirl)

(PS. yeah he he hadn't yet accepted the Someone Elsewood moniker either)

Jan 29, 2024 06:38

Thank you! I don't always pick up nuances (I'm really bad at reading mysteries), but I love good characterization.

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
Jan 27, 2024 15:47 by spleen

thank you so much for mentioning my article! i've also been making an attempt to come out of my shell and interact with the WorldAnvil community some more - it's a lot harder than it sounds. Good luck to you on your goals and ideas, and I hope you have a fabulous 2024!

Have a wonderful day!
Jan 28, 2024 07:49

I lurk on Discord a lot, and based on what I've seen you are succeeding.   May the new year be good to you!

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.