Summer Camp Roundup in The River | World Anvil
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Summer Camp Roundup

Summer long, and so short. Somehow I submitted articles for every prompt, even the bonus prompts that came in at the end. Some I'm proud of, some are riddled with errors. Some were easy to write...and some were painful. In an attempt to address my weaknesses as a worldbuilder, for my Reading Challenge I chose prompts that I struggled with. To pick what to read, I decided to sort the participants in each chosen prompt by total number of articles submitted, start reading from the fewest on up, and stop when I hit three articles that grab me. And wow, it is SO EASY to find great work!

A Popular Summer Tradition Involving Art and Creativity

I satisfied the letter of the prompt by writing about kids playing in mud. Nothing wrong with that, but I knew I'd be able to find more elaborate and deliberate traditions. What these three articles all have in common is a theme of unification--different groups within the same culture celebrating not necessarily together, but simultaneously.

The Final Shine

by GnollbodyKnows
The Final Shine
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 5, 2023
A festival of performance art caps off more than a week of celebration of the coming of the hottest season at the end of the brightest nights of the year. The largest of this world's three moons takes a full year to progress through its phases, and is full for nine days at the very beginning of summer.

Pebbles of Renewal

by Country Hare
Pebbles of Renewal
Tradition / Ritual | Feb 1, 2024
This article is an unpolished gem. A beautiful renewal tradition that seems out of place in a violent culture, but at its heart is still about destruction.

The Festival of Bonding

by HituraRael
The Festival of Bonding
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 11, 2023
More than a festival, this is a story of how a culture's attitude can be changed. These desert communities are described as being generally drab and viewing art as a "waste of time", but for the summer months they erupt in color and artistry as they celebrate weddings.

A Cuisine from a Sparse, Barren, or Remote Region

I am not food-literate. So much so that when there was an unofficial food challenge a few years ago, I submitted an entry that probably came in dead last for missing the point of being about food. I may have repeated that distinction for this prompt, which specifically asked for a cuisine. To me, that implies fancy cooking or complicated preparation. (...I wrote about my world's equivalent to protein bars.) So my goal here was to find articles that I wish I could have written. It did not take me long. The first three articles that stopped me in my tracks are all recipes with deep connections to their cultures and locations.

Shimmerduck Stew

Shimmerduck Stew
Tradition / Ritual | Aug 10, 2023
Besides the practicality of keeping people warm through biting cold winters, this meal has a spiritual and historical meaning behind it. The shimmerduck itself also fascinates me. Its heart, the basis for the stew, keeps the bird hot in icy water in apparent defiance of natural laws. Since it's a fantasy setting no doubt there's a magical or divine explanation, but as someone who works in physics I like to entertain the notion of a fusion-reactor duck.

Nx'tp't (Nish-TUP-tuh)

by fmbray
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 18, 2023
This entry describes something a bit similar to mine, but far better integrated into the culture that makes it. The making of this meat roll is a social event, and described so matter-of-factly that the first time through I actually missed that the pit oven is lit by someone breathing fire. That's a touch I love to see in an article about a different culture or species, when they're described on their own terms such that their customs or abilities are mentioned with very little fanfare as if they're so normal they're almost not worth mentioning.

Grilled Desert Skewers

by cmclark
Grilled Desert Skewers
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 10, 2023
This is a portable meal similar to what I was going for. It may be a casual food as well, but it better fits what I think of as a cuisine. The ingredients are specific to the region in which the skewers are made, and it has its particular niche in its culture. There is a recipe that looks reproducible, at least by my limited knowledge of cooking. (Assuming substitutes for the cactus and lizard meat are allowed.)

A Natural Phenomenon that Most People Look Forward To

I had such a hard time coming up with something for this. I ended up writing about lunar eclipses, but so late that I was the absolute last person to submit an entry for this prompt. There wasn't any one commonality that made these articles stand out to me. I just found them interesting.

Arcan Lights

by IcewingADragon
Arcan Lights
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Dec 14, 2023
The Arcan Lights (aurora borealis to us mere humans) may be a well-known Earth phenomenon, but the addition of magic + dragons adds a new perspective. I like the fact that dragons appreciate the wonder of the auroras as much as humans do.


by Cowanr67
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jul 26, 2023
I was absorbed by this article that tackles head-on one of the most uncomfortable natural laws: death. In this world the debate isn't over whether there is an afterlife, but over how to get to the one you want to be in. The broad strokes of the universe's soul-sorting mechanism are laid out logically, although (as the narrator warns) it is an oversimplification. You'll want to be very careful about trusting your soul to this matrix.

Zimní Setkání Dvou Měsíců [Winter Meeting of the Two Moons]

by Erzean
Zimní Setkání Dvou Měsíců
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jul 31, 2023
What can I say? Clearly I am a sucker for interesting moon configurations. This article is in Czech, but thanks to translation programs, I don't have to miss out on lovely articles just because I don't speak the same language. This is a phenomenon embraced by lovers, as two moons with vastly different orbital cycles briefly dance together when full just once a year.

And there's so much more to read! I feel like I've only scratched the surface--well, okay, that's exactly what I've done. I plan to keep on reading Summer Camp articles all the way up until WorldEmber. I'll try to read an article from everyone who participated. (That's...wait...a thousand?! Well... I'll still try.)

My Future in Worldbuilding

I made ambitious goals back in January for reworking my entire world of The Ocean into a new narrative frame. In the process I had to shift a few articles into a new world to keep them consistent. That was just before June, and I decided--why not?--to focus Summer Camp in my new world of The River. Well, whoops-a-daisy! I did not expect it to take off like it did. I've had a lot of favorable feedback which is making me think I should spend the immediate future putting more time into refining my Summer Camp contributions. I need to adjust the format I set for myself, fix an embarrassing number of mistakes, and fill in some gaping plot holes that suddenly opened up.

Ultimately, my goal for worldbuilding in The River is to create a solid foundation for the stories I've written in it. When the dust settles, I hope to be brave enough to share some of them.

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