Summer Camp 2024 | E. Christopher Clark

Summer Camp 2024

The 2024 edition of World Anvil’s annual Worldbuilding Summer Camp begins on June 29. It’s my favorite commuinity event of the year, and I’m here to speak briefly about what I hope to accomplish during this month-long celebration of worldbuilding.

 

In case you’re not familiar, Summer Camp is where World Anvil challenges writers, gamemasters, and other creative types to respond to a series of prompts release throughout the month.

 

This year, despite the fact that I’ve just started a new job, I aim to once again go for the Diamond badge. In a time of transition, I need the familiarity of Summer Camp to help anchor me.

 
 

Prep Month

Week One: Organize Thyself

As was the case last year, the folks at Anvil HQ are giving us homework during the month of June to help get ready for the big push in July. They’ve also decided, once again, to tease us with overarching themes that the prompts will be organized into.

 

The first theme revealed is “change,” which feels really relevant to me right now. I can’t wait to see what kinds of questions they ask us about our worlds. But in the meantime…

 

Homework Assignment 1

Consider what kind of changes would fit in with your world’s themes, genre, and other foundational points.
 

The main focus of my worldbuilding continues to be the backstory for my comic book series, The Blood of Seven Queens. And given that all good stories are about a disruption in the status quo—a change, if you will—I should have no shortage of avenues to explore.

 

There are technological and societal changes happening all throughout Eden during the time period I’m writing about. In the south, the part of the world that will eventually come to be known as Wonderland, the forces of magic and technology are butting heads. The speciesist old timers are losing power to the more tolerant and open-minded next generation. And there is a movement underway to unite the seven disparate kingdoms of the region into one united country.

 

Homework Assignment 2

Decide how many prompts you'll go for during Summer Camp.

As I mentioned above, I’m going for the Diamond badge. I’ll respond to every prompt they give me. That’s just how I roll.

 

Homework Assignment 3

Get your categories and tags organized!

My categorization system is looking and feeling pretty good after working on it prior to each of the last few WA events. Tags, however, are another story. I still don’t really know how I want to use them. And given that a lot of my brainpower this week has been dedicated to starting my new job, I’m going to plead for an extension here.

 

I promise I will figure out my tagging strategy eventually.

 

Homework Assignment 4

Take a look at your meta, primer, and any other high-level document and update it according to the current state of your world.

It’s getting late in the evening on the only day I have to work on this, so I took a quick look and made some minor changes. I was pleased that the Meta is still in pretty good shape from the last time I overhauled it.

 

 

Week Two: Style Thyself

The second theme of 2024’s Summer Camp will be “refuge,” and I’ve got to say that this one hit me right in the feels. Reading the words “it can also be anything that keeps you safe or comforts you” got me thinking about how very little in my life comforts me, about how I have such a hard time getting comfortable and relaxing.

 

And as for places where I feel safe… that list is incredibly short. In fact, most days it feels like it’s empty.

 

Good thing I’m working on a fictional world and not a nonfictional one, huh?

 

Homework Assignment 1

Consider what kinds of refuge would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.

Because conflict is at the heart of fiction, I’ll confess that I often give very little thought to where my characters can find peace and quiet—unless it’s to figure out how to destroy those places and propel my protagonists forward on their journey.

Some of the first things that came to mind are things I’ve already written about (the traveling improv comedy troupe performing Bards, for instance). I did give some thought to my heroine’s home, where she doesn’t actually spend much time in the story, but which could be an interesting place to write about. But beyond that, I’m stumped on this one at the moment.

 

Homework Assignment 2

Find a community—whether that’s our Discord server, Facebook Group, your RPG or friend group, or something else.

It’s sad for me to realize that the one community I had left online that I actively participated in is now gone. I had to shut down my lunchbreak Twitch stream when I started my new job, which has me in the office and not working from home. Without that, and with very little time to find a new community, I feel increasingly isolated as a writer and worldbuilder.

That said, there are folks who seem to always show up in my comments during Summer Camp and I feel quite certain they will carry me through the event. I just have to make sure to show up for them, too.

 

Homework Assignment 3 & 4

Find ways to improve styling and layout in your world!
If you’re a CSS wizard, maybe take the time now to give it a polish!

Not that I’m typically one for resting on one’s laurels, but my world was one of five finalists for the Worldbuilding Award for Best World. And given that time is limited for me right now, I’m going to give myself a pass on these two assignments.

 

 

Week Three: Believe in Thyself

The third theme of Summer Camp 2024 will be “belief” and I am really intrigued to see what kind of prompts come out of this one. Given that, for me at least, the word “belief” is tied so closely with the idea of religion, I was originally a little perplexed about how this word could spawn a whole week’s worth of prompts—and how I, an atheist, would find a way to respond to so many theoretical prompts about religion without getting negative. But then I watched Inside Out 2 with my family on Saturday afternoon, and the film’s depiction of the “belief system” opened my eyes to all of the sorts of things that this word might tug on as a prompt.

 
Belief System from INSIDE OUT 2 by Disney/Pixar
 

Homework Assignment 1

Consider what kind of beliefs would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.

I’m sure that a whole bunch of things will occur to me once I hear the prompts, but the first thing that comes to mind right now is the belief amongst Edenian Southerners that their seven distinct kingdoms should unite. That’s a big part of what’s going on in The Blood of Seven Queens, but I’m not sure if I’ve fully explored why so many hold that belief. There is the matter of the prophecy and that has all the sorts of chosen-one warm fuzzy feelings we know from other literature, but then there is the potentially dark underbelly of the belief: speciesism.

 

In the west, the halflings dominate Oz. In the east, the dwarves and kíndalla dominate The Reek. And in far north of Eden, in the lawless country of Nunya, elves are the predominant people. Part of what fuels the desire to unite the South—later known as Wonderland—is a desire to have a place where humanity can rule.

 

Homework Assignment 2 & 4

Create a bank of inspirations! Quotes, music, description of experiences and shower thoughts, etc.
Check your inspirations again. Are they still relevant? Can you find any that better represent the current state of your project?
 

I’m grouping these assignments together because the inspiration section of my world’s meta is pretty well fleshed out and pretty up-to-date. I know I’ll be listening to a lot of Halsey and Nine Inch Nails. And I know I’ll be referring to my copies of Saga, Dawn, and Fables, now that my comic book collection is more accessible to me than it’s been in years. But one thing that’s occurred to me is that I don’t yet have a YouTube playlist where I can collect all of the “epic but nonsensical music videos of the 1990s” that I mention in the meta.

 

Let me pause a minute and change that.

 

 

Okay, that was more than a minute and the list is incomplete and completely unstructured, but at least now it exists.

 

Homework Assignment 3

Find art and pictures that inspire you, and grab a map if you don't have one (and need one).

While I have fun creating art in advance for WorldEmber, where what I write about is entirely up to me, I find it hard to create art in advance for Summer Camp. Since I don’t yet know what the exact prompts are and since time is tight as I get acclimated to my new job, I don’t want to risk spending a lot of time on something I won’t even get to use.

 

My plan is to draw on existing work, including possibly snippets from the prologue and first issue of Seven Queens and then to whip up any images I can as the month proceeds, as time allows, and as inspiration strikes.

 

 

Week Four: Decay Thyself?

The fourth and final theme for Summer Camp 2024 will be “decay,” and I’ve got to say that this one baffles me. We also have “change” as a theme this year and at the moment I’m hard-pressed to think of ideas for “decay” that I haven’t already mentioned for “change.” With that said, this is one of the reasons I love that we’ve gotten the themes in advance for the past few years. Knowing that “decay” is coming down the pipe later in the month will help me if I’m choosing between ideas during Week 1.

 

Homework Assignment 1

Consider what kind of changes would fit in with your world's themes, genre, and other foundational points.

The decay of both Oscar Diggs and his Ninth Empire of Oz is a big part of what’s going on in the world during The Blood of Seven Queens, but other than that the only ideas coming to me at the moment would be better suited for “change.”

 

Ruins, though. There could be something there.

Homework Assignment 2

If you like special tea when you write, stock up for a month. Tidy your office, make a “do not disturb” sign, and think about any other last-minute strategies to optimize your writing space and time!

Since I feel like I’m never not writing, arting, or creating in general, my necessities are always in stock around the house. I sadly don’t have a door to hang a “do not disturb” sign on, given that my desk sits at the intersection of our kitchen, bedroom, and living room (which are all really one room), but I have gotten better at writing in other locations throughout the house if the rest of the family needs this space.

 

The one thing I can’t write without, though, is music. Instrumental stuff works best for me, particularly the soundtrack work of Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. And thankfully, I’ve got all of that stuff saved to a safe place in my Apple Music library.

 

During today’s World Anvil livestream, I did mention that it would be helpful for me to figure out when I’m going to write. The easiest time to grab will probably be during my lunch breaks at work, with evenings at home coming in as a close second.

 

Homework Assignment 3

Review your world homepage to hook potential readers!

Earlier this week, I updated the homepage to help promote the upcoming release of The Blood of Seven Queens #1. Because of that, I feel like I’m in a pretty good place here.

 

Homework Assignment 4

Take a look at your author profile and pillar articles on your world and polish them!

What a great final assignment to close out Prep Month! I did update my BSQ landing page the other day to make it a better place for new readers, but just now I took the opportunity to update my bio on both my About page and my World Anvil author profile.

 

And with that, I feel ready as I’m going to be for Summer Camp itself!

Camp Feral Badge by Strixxline
Who?
The Ever-Loving ECC
 
What?
Summer Camp 2024
 
When?
June 29–August 3, 2024
 
Where?
I will write them here and there. Say! I will write them anywhere!
 
Wherefore?
Seriously, are you Romeo? Like, if you are then just own it!
How?
With the top pulled down and the radio on.

My Summer Camp Articles

 

The Copper Prompts (“Change”)

 
 

The Silver Prompts (“Refuge”)

Wildcard Prompt 4

…a charity or other organization focused on doing good

 
 

The Gold Prompts (“Belief”)

Prompt 1

to be announced

Prompt 2

to be announced

Prompt 3

to be announced

Prompt 4

to be announced

Prompt 5

to be announced

Prompt 6

to be announced

Prompt 7

to be announced

Prompt 8

to be announced

Wildcard Prompt 5

to be announced

Wildcard Prompt 6

to be announced

 
 

The Diamond Prompts (“Decay”)

Prompt 1

to be announced

Prompt 2

to be announced

Prompt 3

to be announced

Prompt 4

to be announced

Prompt 5

to be announced

Prompt 6

to be announced

Prompt 7

to be announced

Prompt 8

to be announced

Wildcard Prompt 7

to be announced

Wildcard Prompt 8

to be announced


Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
Jun 6, 2024 01:57

Looking forward to some of your always entertaining articles. Lets go Diamond!

Updated soon.
Jun 7, 2024 00:44 by E. Christopher Clark

Aw, thanks! It's always good to hear that I'm entertaining folks. Can't wait to see what we ALL come up with.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 16, 2024 03:24

The loss of time with the community is definitely something I am also feeling this year. But despite scheduling issues this community is still here for you and will definitely be reading your stuff.

Updated soon.
Jun 16, 2024 14:42 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks so much. I can't wait to read what you cook up!

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 6, 2024 04:02 by Chris L

As always, looking forward to fun and shenanigans!! Do glad you found a new job, good luck and I miss hanging out, but I understand!!!


Learn about the World of Wizard's Peak and check out my award winning article about the Ghost Boy of Kirinal!

Jun 7, 2024 00:45 by E. Christopher Clark

Shenanigans in 3, 2, 1…

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 9, 2024 18:00 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Good luck with both Summer Camp and your new job! :D Looking forward to reading some new stuff!

Jun 10, 2024 02:01 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you. Your support always makes Summer Camp a wonderful time.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 11, 2024 17:36 by Benard Calvin "Hunter" Hendrick VIII

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry, Holly Jolly Christmas!!!   The first and Cardinal Rule of Christmas: To give to others so that Christmas Spirit may multiply. So, I give you Hope. That which we need to catapult forward so that our Hearts can love and give. May Summer Camp go well for you! - Christwriter

Jun 15, 2024 13:11 by E. Christopher Clark

Christmas in July? I dig it! And thanks for the support.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 15, 2024 00:46 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

I've always thoroughly enjoyed your work. If you want an encouraging word through this Summer Camp I would be happy to be a sounding board and encourager. Just DM me!

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at tlcassis.com to see my latest work!
Jun 16, 2024 14:42 by E. Christopher Clark

Aw, thank you. Yeah, I was definitely a little sad when I wrote last week's homework. Since then, both with the responses to this article and in hanging out at WA streams, I have felt much more a part of the community.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 24, 2024 16:52 by jyliet of the house

Congratulations on the new job! May your Summer Camp be fruitful. :)

Jun 25, 2024 01:07 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! Are you summer-camping yourself? If so, good luck to you as well!

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 25, 2024 16:11 by jyliet of the house

I am! Just going for Copper. Thanks!

Jun 25, 2024 18:16 by E. Christopher Clark

Excellent! I can't wait to see what the prompts are.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 27, 2024 08:33

Best of luck for your goals! Diamond badge is waiting for you :D

Jun 28, 2024 00:43 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! And best of luck to you too, if you're participating.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 28, 2024 12:40

Thanks, but sadly, I won't be able to participate. For now all my projects are set to private, so I can't take part.

Jun 28, 2024 23:00 by E. Christopher Clark

Well, I wish a happy July in any case. And thank you for your encouragement and support.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
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