IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN! The DIAMOND prompts are finally here! Let’s unpack wave 4 of our world building summer camp, share some ideas, and head for success!
The Diamond theme: Monstrous
The theme for this prompt release is all about monsters! Conflict is a really important thing in any story (novel or campaign) to keep things moving, so monsters are a great way to introduce that. Now, a monster doesn’t have to be a nightmarish creature if that doesn’t fit your world. If you write intrigue, the “monster” could be a villainous faction within the government, plotting to overthrow the good King. If you’re trying to keep a feel-good mood for your world, the monster be something as innocent as a serial chocolate thief!
If you want to tie these prompts to the other three themes, it’s pretty easy! We humans fear the unknown, which means that there are plenty of opportunities to create monstrous stuff in the expanse or the discovery we wrote about in the Copper and Silver prompts. As for the Leadership theme, maybe the leaders are the true monsters! Or they could be leading the fight against them too.
Summer Camp 2022: Diamond Prompts
Remember, you can fill in all the Worldbuilding Summer Camp 2022 prompts from our Summer Camp 2022 Page!
Somewhere in your world setting describe…
1.a species considered monstrous by some
Spiders, orcs, Xenomorph (Alien), Terminator (The Terminator), the Cookie Monster (The Muppets)
If you want to write about an actual monster, that’s your prompt! You can approach it from many different angles. For example, you could write about a species that isn’t really dangerous to humans (like many spiders and snakes) but people still fear it. Or you could go all in with the monstrous part and have your own Xenomorph! If you choose to have an intelligent monstrous species, you need to think about society. Do they have a culture? Do they have feelings? Look at your meta and see what would fit your world better, and remember that the answers to these questions will have deep implications on your world!
2.a myth or urban legend about a “monster”
Werewolves, Mayor (Ghost in the Shell)
Monstrous things are often amplified through stories and legends—and even if a monster is actually real and dangerous, people will often distort its true nature out of fear. But you can also give these stories practical use. For example, if the “monster” is an enemy country, the government could fabricate stories to manipulate their citizens or to keep them under control. Or if the monsters are actually real, there could be warnings disguised as stories so they aren’t lost through time.
3.a tradition that keeps monsters or bad luck away
Halloween, salt around a door, the Simple Rules (Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell)
Ok, so we have monsters. Now we’ve got to find a way to keep them away! How you do this is up to you and it will depend on your world’s internal rules too (such as the magic system if you have one). For example, in Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, by Brandon Sanderson, the monsters are shades, a sort of ghost-like creatures that kill humans. In order to keep them away, people can use silver or follow the three Simple Rules (don’t kindle a flame, don’t shed the blood of another, don’t run at night). These methods are related to the setting’s magic system, but they’re also inspired by real life: silver bullets are said to kill werewolves (in folklore), and the Simple Rules are inspired by Jewish laws on what can and can’t be done on Shabbat. Using the real world as inspiration is always a great way to add a sense of realism to your setting!
4.a condition considered monstrous or “unlucky” by some
Leprosy, left-handedness (historically), lycanthropy, zombie plague
There are many reasons why there could be a stigma against a condition. Stigma often appears when there’s a lack of understanding (for example, leprosy wasn’t really understood until relatively recently), but it could also be for cultural reasons. Being left-handed isn’t objectively worse than being right-handed, and yet there’s a strong bias against left-handedness in our society, even today. So, while an actually dangerous or deadly condition could be interesting to write about, you could also describe a completely harmless condition that’s misunderstood by most people!
5.an organization considered cruel or monstrous by some
The Government, Knights Radiant (The Stormlight Archive), the Empire (Star Wars)
When talking about monstrous organizations, we get into an even more subjective area. What someone might consider evil (for example, a country’s government), someone else could consider good. As the author of a fictional world, you can really play with the perceptions of your audience by framing organizations in a very specific way to get your point across (for example, Star Wars’ Empire is “objectively” evil from the audience’s perspective). But you can subvert this by later changing how the organization is seen. In The Stormlight Archive, the Knights Radiant are framed as traitors to society by most people, including main characters, but as the story goes on the perception we get of them as readers changes.
6.a person considered villainous or monstrous
Cruella de Vil, Sauron (The Lord of the Rings), Agent Smith (The Matrix)
Time to get villainous! In the previous prompt, you created an organization—now you can create its leader! It’s a great way to connect prompts together, but of course you don’t need to if you don’t want to. After all, evil leaders can sometimes be more well-known than their organizations! Both Sauron and agent Smiths were the most prominent members of their organizations, but their circumstances were different. Sauron was the leader of his organization (although he used to work for a bigger master) and agent Smith was just that, an agent. But in both cases, they are the main villains because they represent what they’re up against. So, when creating your villainous person, make them a symbol too and they’ll have more weight in your setting’s story!
7.an artifact that embodies a hideous or monstrous idea
Weapons, a cursed book, the One Ring (The Lord of the Rings), the Monster Book of Monsters (Harry Potter)
Time to go wild with your magic item ideas! Or your super-cool technology ideas if you’re in the sci-fi camp. Think about not only what it can do, but also about who created it and for what purpose. And then, if you want, connect it to any other prompt(s)! It could be a relic the evil organization is guarding, something the evil person wears, or something else entirely. You can also take a light-hearted approach to the prompt if that better fits your setting’s tone. For example, the Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter is a useful handbook about monsters that’s also alive and will chomp anything it can find (including your hands).
What’s your favorite prompt? Share your tips in the comments!
Don’t miss the closing ceremony LIVE!
Want to finish Summer Camp with a bang? We’ll be going live on Sunday 31st of July at 7pm UK/11am Pacific with the closing ceremony! Hang out with fellow summer campers and be the first to know what we’ve got in store for you in August!
Are you part of the Homework Club?
Looking for time to get it all done? Come join the Homework Club! The Homework Club livestreams happen every Sunday in July on our Twitch channel at 7pm UK/11am Pacific. They’re a great chance to get help, ask questions about the event, and get inspired by others… AS WELL as get those precious words down during live writing springs.
And if you want to show off your participation to Summer Camp, we have some graphics you can use in your World Anvil world or on social media:
Big shout out to our amazing sponsors, GACUCon, Norse Foundry, and Kobold Press! They make it possible to offer so many prizes to celebrate your awesome creativity! Check them out and give them some love!