Building a world for your characters to live in is really, really important. You can have the most complex and beautiful world EVER in your head, but if you can’t get your readers to see it, it won’t matter. Everyone has their own way of doing this, but I’m going to talk a little about how I like to do it.
When I’m reading, I hate being bogged down with paragraph after paragraph of descriptive writing. Even the most talented writers can really slow themselves down with too much descriptive writing. That’s why I like to be sneaky about my description. A single, well placed world can tell a reader a whole lot about a character or situation. I often slip descriptive words into conversations or short thoughts. It’s like shaking a little seasoning on the writing. A little here and there goes a long way.
Subtly blending descriptions into the story also lets the reader use their imagination to fill in whatever gaps you choose to leave in the story. And readers love using their imaginations.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can completely ignore the whole description thing altogether. Every book needs description to ground it and make it real. Sometimes I struggle with exactly how much too add. Building an interesting world for your stories is sort of a balancing act between giving information and letting your readers create their own information. It really boils down to figuring out what works best for you.