re: How Do I Build a World without Boring Readers?

posted 5/18/16

Dear Editor…

I feel like I’m caught in a catch-22. I’m writing a fantasy and I know I’m supposed to do world building. But what about the warning that people don’t like to read long descriptions? How do I build a world without boring readers with description?

Sincerely,
Stuck

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Dear Stuck…

Try this: Don’t just tell readers what the protagonist sees, hears, feels, etc., write your character’s reaction to what he sees, hears, feels. Hot world? He can abruptly halt, throw his bag to the dirt, and strip off his hemp tunic because the rough fabric is chafing his sweaty skin raw and he can’t bear it another second. Later he can rub Burdock root salve onto his sun-crisped back. Readers feel the fabric and chafe, and know the world is hot. Bonus: They now know about the world’s fashion and fauna, too. Richer world building, greater pay-off.

Happy writing!
The Editor

P.S. For more on this topic, read World Building
posted by: The Editor
under: World Building
Comments to "re: How Do I Build a World without Boring Readers?" | Add a Comment
    1. Carol Riggs wrote (on 05/18/16 at 10:37 am) :

      REALLY great answer. I’m slowly starting to attempt this in my own writing. Otherwise, I end up with worldbuilding info dumps. I personally skim long descriptions when I read, and keep that in mind (that others might do it too) when I write. ;o)

      [Reply]

    2. Laurie L Young wrote (on 05/18/16 at 12:37 pm) :

      This is great, and exactly what I needed today. I am also writing a fantasy and also struggling with how to describe the world. Thanks!!

      [Reply]

    3. Toni Guy wrote (on 05/18/16 at 5:00 pm) :

      What a great way to think about world building!

      [Reply]

    4. Laurel Kashinn wrote (on 05/19/16 at 8:54 am) :

      Excellent Q & A! THanks!

      [Reply]

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