Summer Camp '23 Reading Challenge in The Rosepetal | World Anvil

Summer Camp '23 Reading Challenge

Reflections in the Afterglow
& The Future is Bright

I set out with the goal of finishing 16 prompts during the course of Summer Camp, though was wholly set on that I might not be able to reach much farther than qualifying for the copper badge.   I had already made some New Years resolutions to take it easy and not overstrain myself. Which sometimes is easier said than done when you're having so much fun.
  And it looked dicey for a while. Once my two-week vacation was over work turned out to be extremely stressful, and I also had a problem to keep my writing at a moderate length. Most articles I wrote during the first half of Summer Camp broke far past 1500 words.  

But I got there... and beyond!

When the gold wave got released, I forced myself to cut down on the amount of writing per article and simply settle with the fact that I can expand them later. I think the true challenge was to quiet that incredibly dumb part of my brain that just doesn't want to leave things half-finished.   Once I pushed past that and could restrain myself to ~300-500 words per article, it suddenly became so much easier to catch up on the prompts. To no ones surprise. It even went well enough that I surpassed my pledge goal and got gold!  
A certificate showing me reaching the gold badge in Summer Camp 2023.
  I considered running all the way for diamond, but, seeing how bad these last two weeks have been for me health-wise I recited the verses of wisdom spoken by Camp Chill and put down my quill. I don't regret doing so the least and am now very happy with how far I got.  

Summer Camp Reflections

For some context, I haven't been part of summercamp since 2018 & 2019, and in hindsight I think participating in these two events ended up being more stressful than helpful for me. But I was insistent on taking part in them anyway for various reasons.   I couldn't really find much inspiration for the prompts, I wasn't all too happy with what I did get out there, and I also struggled a lot more with taking part in the community side. While I reached the copper and silver goals those years, I didn't really feel like I accomplished much or that my writing had done much difference for my worlds. I know today that my depression was the major reason for feeling this way.
  Thinking back on how I felt then compared to now has made for an interesting time of reflection in the afterglow of Summer Camp 2023.   I feel and see such a massive difference, and it's very likely all because I am different and in a much better place. I'm overall very happy with my entries and how they've developed Rosepetal - many of them have added depth that otherwise probably wouldn't have come until far, far later.  
Health- and humor-wise, Summer Camp has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me.
It's been incredibly fun and I've been so happy about the (for me) extremely high amount of engagement with the community, primarily on discord. Everyone's been amazing, and I've said so many times how humbled I feel about the level of support and love just showered over anyone who's needed it.   I've made so many friends and acquaintances in such a short time, and it's been so refreshing to be in a place where people are so respectful and understanding.   It's been a long, long time since I've been in a community where it feels like there's absolutely zero pressure for any reason. Most forums and groups I've frequented in the past I've eventually dropped out of because I couldn't keep up with the expectations nor was there much patience given for those that have varying levels and types of innate communication issues.   At the same time, I've also been incredibly frustrated. Mostly with myself and my IRL situation. Part of it leading to not being able to do more despite wanting to, and having to constantly be cautious and rein myself in to avoid suffering ill health effects.   Didn't quite manage to dodge that anyway, though they may rather come from IRL/work stress than being SC-related. Aside this article, I may just spend the rest of august resting and at most reading.   Also related to not being able to do as much as I'd like, I also wish I had more energy to comment on other people's articles. I've read a lot of great stuff during and after Summer Camp. But at least (hopefully) most of them will still be there when I do have the energy to.  

How about the event itself?

A blue-colored tiger sitting, facing away.
by Charlie N.
I sent some of this along with the feedback form, but thought I could share my reflections on this year's summer camp itself here too and even elaborate a little.   I am glad to see the event has evolved from year to year - it's so fantastic to see us being able to provide feedback and how WA keeps trying to improve it for the better based on it. You can please many, but not everyone, though its always great to see them try their best to make it an event everyone can take part in.   Sponsored Prompts is entirely new for me, and I think it's such a great idea. And it's been fun to read about different sponsors approach to how they're judging their prompts. I'd love to be able to stabilize my economy and maybe one day be one to give back to the community this way.   Connecting with the above, I'm so glad to see the switch away from high likes counts being the primary means of winning any contests. I know a lot of other people didn't have an issue with it, but I've just never liked popularity contests and don't find them entirely fair.   The themes and their respective stream and blog post were absolutely fantastic, and I found they helped so much with giving an introduction to the prompts and helped with getting the ideas going. Whereas my previous 2 summer camps I struggled with ideas for nearly every single prompt, this year I think there's only 2 I didn't have immediate ideas for.   I think I preferred getting all prompts released in a single go at the start of Summer Camp, as it gave equal time to think and write for all of them. And while it seemed perfectly acceptable to do, it also felt a little unfortunate and clumsy that I ended up writing and submitting for one prompt only to later see that the idea would fit 100% better in one that was released later.   I love that the wild card prompts provided some wiggle room for those who might find themselves all on dry with ideas for the themed ones, giving a chance to always get copper at the very least.   At the same time, I sort of wish that the addition of the wild card prompts hadn't led to an overall increase of prompts. I think it'd be nicer to keep the 8 total per wave, with 6 themed and 2 wild cards.  

Looking Forward

I spoke a lot about what I was looking forward to doing in a journal entry a while ago, and I've also written a little cleaner version of that list here in the sidebar, although it's unlikely I'll finish any of those projects before New Year.   Actual worldbuilding might end up on the suffering side until WorldEmber comes around, but I feel I really need a break after Summer Camp and I also need to satisfy some of my noisy brain goblins. Autumn will likely be spent mainly on organizing and setting up a more firm scope for Rosepetal.   As well, IRL is still very demanding of me, and likely will continue to be for a good while forward. End of 2022 and all of 2023 has been very tumoultous in many ways - primarily good ways - and so much has happened that I still haven't entirely been able to process all of it and catch up with myself. And there's still a lot of my energy being spent on going through medical diagnosises and treatments.

Rosepetals swirl in the warm autumn breeze...

I wrote a pretty chonky journal update not too long ago that served as a ventilating of personal thoughts and feelings, celebration of reaching 50 followers on Rosepetal, follow-up on SC progress and thoughts about the future - all in one.   If you don't want to dig into it, here's specifically the list of post-Summer Camp goals and plans that I shared. In a little more succint and better formulated format.  
Speed Reading
I've spent nearly all time post SC reading up on the entries to my favorite prompts, and that's likely what I'll continue doing at least the rest of august. I've so far plowed through 8 prompts!
Spreading the Love
My reading list is overflowing with awesome pieces of reading that I'd like to read more thorough and comment on but haven't had the time and energy for doing so yet. I might work through my list bit by bit in a weekly journal series.
CSS Theme Facelift
I've already started working on a new version of my CSS Theme 'Otherspace', where I've already managed to cut the code by nearly half through smarter use of variables and optimized class calls.

I'll also tighten up the color scheme a bit, move over Bootstrap 5, and finally wrap my head around media queries to make it more mobile friendly.
World Reorganization
My attempt at reorganizing Rosepetal before Summer Camp didn't quite end up as I liked, so I'm planning to make a new attempt this autumn. This time I'll also try to reconcile with how the category pages works and incorporate that more properly in article sorting and site navigation.
Abandon the Way of the Stub-less
Despite not liking stubs a lot (in my own worlds, specifically), I will likely end up creating a lot of them in order to more easily chisel out the foundation for Rosepetal, and to better visualize how categorization and navigation will work.
Finish the SC Prompts
I'm planning to write out the ideas I had for many of the prompts but didn't have the time to get around to. I also have a lot of summer camp submitted entries that's going to need some polish, expanding and even a bit of rewriting once they're free to edit again.
Setting the Chronology
I have a half-finished first draft of Rosepetal's galactic history that I started on about a month before Summer Camp.

I'd like to get it posted here on a timeline and finish the rest of it so I can get a more complete scope of time in order to create a unique set of in-universe chronologies. I'd at least like to get the dating systems used by The Ascendancy and The United Worlds finalized.
Write Fiction
Realistically, writing fiction taking place in Rosepetal won't see the light of dawn until next year earliest. But my long-time dream of becoming an author has begun to awaken again so I hope it's something I can give some more time and thought in a not too distant future.

Something I might do though is to dig out, polish and post some old short stories or RP write-ups.
I've been very bummed out about not doing a lot of progress with my attempts of getting back into art, my hands just suffer too much for it to be worth it in the long run. So, I will likely look into what I can do to spruce up Rosepetal visually with free images or AI art.

If my economy gets better I'm also planning on asking my sister if they're open for commissions: Charlie N.'s the amazing bean that made my bluetyger avatar and the two images featured in this article!

Special Feature

Besides the twelve articles I have lined up for my reading challenge, there's one from the worlds that I follow that I'd like to give a very special feature. Mainly because it touched me on a personal level, to the point of being close to tears, and was also so incredibly beautifully written.   And it's Hanhula's entry for "a ceremony that represents a transition or transfer". I cannot recommend it enough:  
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 17, 2023

A ritual by which one can become their heart's true self.

It's never too late to become you.
  It took me 20 years of fear and doubt, and then 2 years of simply waiting in queue, but I am hoping to finally get the help I sorely want and need this november. It's such a different feeling when you can finally see the finishing line somewhere in the distance. I wish it was easier to just be yourself, as you were meant to be. Nicks and faults and imperfections included.   Why can't the rest of the world out there be as beautiful and accepting as the World Anvil community? Despite everything though, I am glad that at least these places exist for me to enjoy and take part in. This why I often see my time in World Anvil as theurapeutic.

Speaking of Reading...

Let's maybe move on to a more lighthearted topic. This is a reading challenge entry after all, and it wouldn't be much of one with some actual mentions of what I've been reading among the absolutely humongous mountain of entries this Summer Camp.   I've always seen reading as an important part of improving my own writing, and as a means of becoming inspired and hatching new ideas. And I spend a lot more of my spare time reading than writing - in earnesty, my worldbuilding is probably 90% reading and research and 10% actual writing.
This is very likely why I - despite my reading list already swelling beyond mortal comprehension from all the bookmarked, great entries that overflowed my notification inbox - couldn't stop myself from scouring the prompts submission lists for things 100% fresh and new to me.   I've rained down likes on friends and strangers alike, filled my reading list even more, but finally managed to actually decide upon 12 entries to feature for this challenge. Three from each wave.

These are all from worlds I've not read anything from prior, that I liked a whole lot and felt deserved to have their amazing pieces getting some more showcasing.  
Copper :: Power
A culture that suffered under the rule of a stronger nation
Ethnicity | Jul 5, 2023
Aside being a really well-written article, it's also a testament to how you can bend a prompt to do your bidding. The choice of wording does a great job in leaving the impression that these young people aren't agents of their own fate but more like pieces of goods to be bartered over by parents and the potential educator.
Flop Pukkas
Ethnicity | Jul 27, 2023
Another unique take on this prompt is this showcase of a combined biological variation and ethnicity, and I like how it portrays the gravest threat as being the loss of their cultural identity through pressure incurred by underlying, not necessarily spoken, expectations to conform to an already pre-established norm within a society.
Ethnicity | Jul 18, 2023
This article starts with a very eye-catching poem that does a good job in setting the tone. I enjoyed how well the history of this ethnicity was written, detailing the tragic fate of these elves, how the oppression affected them, and their current resurgence.
Silver :: Frontiers
A material or natural resource that comes from a dangerous location
Cdonnic Copper
Material | Jul 27, 2023
An interesting take on the prompt and my personal impression was that the 'dangerous location' being its believed origin as a curse of an in-world entity. This is also an article that starts out with a well-written quote that's tied together with a later part of the article itself.
Üla Miasma
Material | Jul 25, 2023

A deadly gas on Iothea Isle. It is collected and processed into a potent liquid poison.

I really liked the writing style and formatting of this article. I'm someone who likes to visualize what I'm reading in my mind, and the author does a great job with their descriptions to facilitate that.
Material | Jul 10, 2023

An irradiated glass-like ore formed in the aftermath of The Great Glassing.

I find this article a great example of how to convey everything needed in a very concise and crisp manner. They've provided a lot of links to related articles that really helps expand on the history and meaning of the material within the setting.
Gold :: Relics
A tradition or behavior considered old fashioned
Fleering Fingers
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 28, 2023
One of the few entries to this prompt to describe an offensive gesture, and they did a great job at doing so too. It's very detailed both in describing the gestures origin, its naming, and how it were used and by who, and how that transformed over time.
Tradition / Ritual | Aug 1, 2023
A very expressively written tradition that feels really believable and also has offers a pleasant twist to its purpose. I liked how the attention to certain details tells a lot about the rural populations that practice it.
Greeting the Harvestmen
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 31, 2023
Another believable tradition that I quite relate to due to some local outdated-but-still-practiced-by-some-traditions where I live. Sometimes it doesn't matter how pointless it might seem to others, what matters is that it matters to you and you find a meaning with it. It opens up with some good context of what the harvestment are before going into describing the tradition and its transformation over time.
Diamond :: Communication
A "negative" condition with hidden advantages
Authentic Adaptation
Condition | Jul 30, 2023

A condition where a shapeshifter pushes themselves into making their shifting abilities too far.

I really enjoyed how this article was well-fit into the prompt by focusing on how the condition is perceived as good or bad by two major cultural groups within the species that can develop it.
Condition | Nov 29, 2023
Another interesting condition that temporarily imbues those that contract it with a pretty powerful ability, but is the reward truly worth the high, possibly lethal, risks? Really well-written article with nice, pleasant formatting that's easy on the eyes.
Condition | Jul 24, 2023
What stood out to me the most with this article is how the author uses the template and prompt to describe a condition that's entirely the result of a cultural/societal tradition and norm rather than being the more expected medical kind. A really great example of how flexible the different article templates can be if you let them!
... And that's all for this reading challenge
I'm finished now, I swear!
Thank you all for reading and hope -
You have a wonderful rest of the year!

A blue-colored tiger lying down.

by Charlie N.

Cover image: by World Anvil


Please Login in order to comment!
9 Aug, 2023 22:19

Thank you again for checking out my article! Writing believable interesting concepts is far more important to me than writing well, so I am happy that's one of your main takes!   Your positive energy all around has not gone unnoticed and it is mighty appreciated. I wish you good health, better times, and all the happiness in the world!

World Ember is coming. Check out Freelands while we wait!
12 Aug, 2023 06:35

Thank you so much, it means a lot. <3

10 Aug, 2023 01:54

♥ I'm so glad you found Seabirth to be that hug of welcome and acceptance I wrote it to be. I wrote it out of love for my partner and close friends who are trans, with a few of them offering their own input when I asked them how they felt about the idea, so it's born of love and shared with love.   Congratulations on seeing your ideal finish line in sight!! It's such a hugely momentous occasion to have those goals change from impossible to possible to achievable to just being around the corner. You'll have to come celebrate with us all in the Discord throughout the process, you know!   Also - CONGRATS ON GOLD! Teeeeeechnically it's a lesser achievement than, y'know, finally feeling like you, but it's still a pretty damn good achievement, ay? You put SO much effort in, well done! I wouldn't worry overly much about not being able to comment/interact with articles during the camp itself, or even after. Get to things in your own time. Do you feel any differently when you get a comment on your work when it's a day after posting VS a few months? If anything, the authors will be thrilled that you've thought to go back and read through everything.   This is such a lovely reflection to read, overall! I hope the rest of the year isn't too hard on you and that you can manage to get a bit of a break between here and WE to reorganise like you want to!

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!
12 Aug, 2023 07:17

You'll have to come celebrate with us all in the Discord throughout the process, you know!
  I'll make sure to. :) Just doing what I can with what I have has been such a massive change already to how I'm doing mentally and emotionally.  
I wouldn't worry overly much about not being able to comment/interact with articles during the camp itself, or even after. Get to things in your own time. Do you feel any differently when you get a comment on your work when it's a day after posting VS a few months?
  Yeah, in the back of my mind I know it's just the noisy brain goblins that keep escaping the closet - and they deserve nothing but the broom treatment.   It's harder some days than others to accept that I just can't do everything I used to, at least the way I used to. And I'm still in the process of finding means of working around my limitations.  
This is such a lovely reflection to read, overall! I hope the rest of the year isn't too hard on you and that you can manage to get a bit of a break between here and WE to reorganise like you want to!
  Thank you so much for your support and loving words. It means so much. <3

10 Aug, 2023 12:54

A wonderfully put-together article, and I hugely relate to not having the energy to comment a lot of the time, but I have one small gripe:   I follow you because I want to read what you have to say, including your SC recaps and personal opinions. Why would I want to skip past all that?? ;) I clicked the button anyways because I have poor impulse control, and then I *scrolled back up* to read everything. So bring on your wordy thoughts and share your rousing victories, we're here for it!!

12 Aug, 2023 07:28

Uh oh, so sorry for triggering that impulse! I promise it's all very tongue-in-cheek, as I know myself well enough to say that long rambles of personal thoughts and reflections in these kinds of entries are here to stay. ;)   ... The button is mostly because wanted to be a bit courteous to those that maybe don't follow me normally, but come to visit just because it's a challenge entry and are primarily looking for some reading recommendations.

10 Aug, 2023 13:48

Congratulations on the gold! <3 I think you did such a great job. :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
12 Aug, 2023 07:28

Thank you so much. <3