Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge
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Pens down, glasses on!
Oh wow, it's August already! July absolutely flew by, and another summer camp has ended. It's been a great ride, and while the dust settles, it's now time to dig in and see what everyone else has been up to all month.
Summer Camp Reflections
Summer Camp Goals
Going for SilverI set myself the very reasonable goal to write 16 articles. I was coming back to WA after a long hiatus due to real life, and coming back to Valtena in particular was like reuniting with an old acquaintance and sparking a deeper friendship. Well, I definitely met this goal, and I still felt like I was going strong.
Diamond or Dust!My first real stretch goal for this year was to write 32 articles and get that sweet sweet diamond badge. As the weeks went along, I realized that I didn't really have it in me to churn out 1000+ word articles like I wanted to at the beginning, so I start rethinking my approach to just get the concepts down. There's always later to flesh out the ideas. Submitting 32 articles was a challenge, but it really felt like an accomplishment to add that much more to my world and get some stubs cleared out of the way in the process.
40/40The completionist in me really wanted to try and write all 40 articles. I was super pumped up in June with ideas galore. Not all of them made it into Summer Camp, but a bunch did, and for that, I'm really proud of myself. Sure, it was a challenge as I closed in on the last few, but it was definitely worth it, and I crossed 50k words in my world. And to many more words to come.
42?!! o.OI knew the end of July was going to be busy for me because I was planning a big move. Nothing could have prepared me for the release of two more articles right when I felt like I was at the finish line for summer camp. But, it was a great final challenge to myself to get the ideas out there and focus on something other than the stress of packing up home and moving. Sure, I got the last article turned in on the final day, but that's 42 articles written! That's at least 12,600 words added to my world!
Overall ImpressionI missed Summer Camp having participated in 2018 and 2019 last. It felt great to jump back into the great big ocean of World Anvil and get to be surrounded by enthusiastic writers again. The energy and feral hype around Summer Camp is incredible, and every word written is another word cheered on. No matter what anyone's goal was, there were people in chat everyday to be encouraging. People to answer questions about ideas, and I even got some feedback on how to look at an article which I didn't think fit a prompt and then make it fit. If I was ever uncertain about a prompt, there were people to help reframe it. And now, I've got a ton of new ideas and got to flesh out parts of my world which I knew were important but hadn't written anything about.
Worldbuilding Goals, September - November
Goal #1: Edit Summer Camp ArticlesMost of the articles for summer camp were rough concepts and not fully fleshed out. Once judging is done and the articles are freed from quarantine, all the concepts deserve to be properly fleshed out and written in Valtena's in world style.
Goal #2: Write Stub ArticlesThere are so many ideas, and so few of them have gotten the attention they deserve. My goal is to get back to my Stub Index and flesh out the high priority articles. That means getting them written, tagged, and linked together. Stubs create more stubs, and it's a never ending process. Setting priorities helps control the inevitable and overwhelming number of them.
Goal #3: Reorganize CategoriesHoo boy, this is going to be a big task especially as Valtena keeps getting bigger. Thanks to Summer Camp and some other prompt lists, I've got a bunch of ideas for articles, but my current set of categories doesn't handle them very well. I'm thrilled to see more of my world being developed, and this is one growing pain I'm happy about. I'm getting to write about things I didn't even think of when I first made the world! The goal is to revamp the categories to better fit the needs of the world.
Goal #4: Prepare for World EmberI've been part of WA since 2018, and I have never participated in World Ember. I really want to try this year, now that I'm in a position where December isn't the completely crazy month of the year. Most likely, it'll just be a continuation of fleshing out stub articles.
The Reading List
It's a really cool idea to have a central authority over all the guilds! I'm curious to know more about the different awards and certifications the bureau offers. How do individuals join the bureau as an employee such as a clerk or representative? Does the bureau have any special rights if the Sterian Kingdom goes to war with another country that the bureau also oversees? I can definitely see how the Guildmaster's Bureau is powerful and well respected. This was a pleasure to read!
I love the idea of the Singing Plains! I can really see how this is a magical and dangerous place. It's also very interesting that the Sterian Kingdom sees it as uncivilized even though it's well populated by centaurs. I definitely want to know more about them and their culture. This sounds like a place I'd enjoy visiting!
The stew sounds delicious, though maybe an acquired taste. I'd certainly try it out if I was ever visiting the Parched Plains. I'm curious to know more about the different ingredients that go into making the stew. Is this dish commonly eaten or reserved for special occasions? This was a lot of fun to read and left me wishing I could have some.
I really enjoyed reading about the children's song! It's got a catchy tune, and is reminds me of Ring Around the Rosie which sounds really innocent but has a darker and often overlooked meaning. The ending of the article was very evocative and gave off some chilling imagery which I quite liked. How much time has passed since the elven kingdom fell and the present? Very creative and well written!
Oh wow, this sounds like a really beautiful event! I can certainly see why people look forward to it every year. Is there a big countdown like with New Year's Eve in our world? I'm also very curious about the shattered moon and would like to know more. I really enjoyed the magical feeling of the Cascade and learning about the traditions and cultural importance of the event.
Just from the intro, I can easily imagine how impressive it would be to walk into a room and see one of these beacons. I can see how useful and valuable they are for long distance communication. Is there a limit to the number of smaller beacons that one large beacon can produce? How does one send and receive messages using the beacon? What happens if a smaller beacon receives a second line of communication while in use? This is a neat and creative idea and well written to share a lot of important information about their place in the world.
Actually Nine Articles
Prompt: THE TITLE & RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR WORLD
This was such an interesting read! It's really cool that the title is tied primarily to one's magical ability over strict hereditary bloodline. Also, I liked that the different kingdoms have different traditions for confirming the next high king. It really makes the kingdoms feel related but still unique. I'd love to see more information on the different rituals and traditions. How do high kings know how to give a magical blessing? Is this something that's magically tied to their rank or is it more like a secret that's only taught to high kings? Have there ever been corrupt or evil high kings? Great work! I enjoyed reading this, and it definitely left me wanting to know more.
I love seeing worlds with rigid hierarchies in government! Including the Pledge of Service was a great way to open the article and get a sense for the weight and responsibilities of a Marshal. Who all answers directly to the Marshal? Have there been any notable instances of an Archon appointing someone unexpected as Marshal? What happens if a Marshal breaks the pledge of service? Overall, awesome work! This was very informative and easy to read.
I absolutely loved how you provided some background info to the world that explains succinctly just how dangerous magic is and why Taggers are needed in this world. And the ending was both chilling and impactful. It's really easy to see how this could be a controversial profession. Is it possible for an artificer to refuse to become a Tagger? Who are the really famous or infamous Taggers? This was a delight to read, and leaves room for so many possibilities.
Prompt: A FORM OF SILENT COMMUNICATION
This is such a cool idea! It's definitely unique to have a military code inspired from child's play with the squares. I also really like that the messages are coded in both form of the knots on the square and in content by using birds and animal names. Are there any remaining examples of the lattice squares? Has anyone recently been able to decipher or is trying to decipher them? I always enjoy reading about military forms of communication. Keep up the great work!
Oh this is such a cool idea! I love it! Bioluminescence is freaking awesome! This is definitely a really cool way to communicate, and I really like how it takes into account the merfolk's natural capabilities. I'd be curious to know more about what the different dots and dash patterns are if they're different from regular Morse Code. How do they manage to accurately relay information across long distances? Is there like a relay system? Is there any way for non-merfolk and non-magic users to communicate in Lumi? This is definitely a great concept and very enjoyable to read!
Wow, this is such an interesting concept for a language! It's really cool that the different races are able to take full advantage of their natural abilities with tentacles and color changes to be able to communicate. It's also really neat that they're developed enough to have formal and informal registers and dialects with room for miscommunication! I definitely want to know more about the council meetings. Who are the Uminchu and how did they learn the Ocean Language? Are they able to communicate back? Why don't they like sunglasses? Very unique concept, and this was a pleasure to read!
Prompt: A MATERIAL OR NATURAL RESOURCE THAT COMES FROM A DANGEROUS LOCATION
I love the poisonous jelly! The pronunciation guide is also extremely useful. I can definitely see why assassins value it so much because it's slow acting and easier to be far far away once the person does die. I also really like that the jelly has multiple uses which adds to why it's so valuable to many people. Where geographically does the Kmeser tree grow? If I wanted to get some jelly, how would I go about extracting it from the plant? Do Kmeser seekers have any protective equipment or protocols for extracting Leukos jelly? This is definitely a cool and unique idea!
It comes across really well that Tyrian Silver is a unique and mysterious metal. I wasn't expecting the cherry odor, and it makes a lot of sense given the color. Who are the people trying to study the strange properties of Tyrian Silver? Once I'm in the Veradeux Chasm, how difficult is it to extract the metal? Why is it called silver even though it's dark red? Very interesting material, and I enjoyed reading about it.
This was such a cool article to read! I can definitely see how Wyrmskin is a valuable resource and also very difficult to obtain. I really enjoyed learning about the cultural perception of Wyrmskin, and I can easily imagine a young noble trying to show off his wealth and perhaps even claim to have killed a wyrm for it. Also, it was very interesting to consider the environmental impact of processing Wyrmskin. Is there any particular way hunters have to kill wyrms in order to preserve the hide? Very fun and informative read!