world building

How Do I Build a World without Boring Readers?

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?


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