Re: How deep is too deep?

#5
This is a personal opinion of course, but the way I like to write it (which is the way I like to read it) is to give out information on the world almost exclusively through character dialogue/thought. And because people don't usually think about things they know in a highly detailed manner, more often than not I actually only give my readers small tidbits of information that they can't really place at first. That allows me to show that there is something there, and expand on it later in the story when it comes up. This way the readers explore the world together with my characters.

And sometimes I'll mention something briefly that's in the background lore, and because it's something that everybody (in the story) knows and it isn't really relevant to the plot, it isn't explained further. This gives the feeling that it's not just a thin facade, but that it's actually an entire world around what's going on with the MC. Which is true, I just don't have the time to show it all.

I feel like this is more fun and engaging to read than massive infodumps. But again, personal preference.

Re: How deep is too deep?

#7
NoMeTokken Wrote: When you find yourself engrossed in a story, do you prefer there to be as much content as possible (lore, character backgrounds, history, etc) or do you prefer to stick to the main narrative without deviation?

TL;DR could you be arsed to read the Silmarillion?
Main narrative. You can have the lore, character background, history, etc. Though, if it is only additional information. Then there is no need for it. If it is connected to the main plot, and actually pushes the story forward. Then go ahead, I wouldn’t mind. 

Now, if the author wants. They can create a side content that expands on this, it can be made a fun little read. Though, I would find it best not to use this in the story itself, and deviate from the main point. An example from my first book, which no reader had a problem with this. Is that, at the end of the chapter. They might get a Profile Scene, which expands on characters a bit more. Gives more of an idea of what is happening, some background history, etc. However, this can be skipped over just fine. This is something readers can choose to read if they want, or ignore it. 

Re: How deep is too deep?

#8
NoMeTokken Wrote: When you find yourself engrossed in a story, do you prefer there to be as much content as possible (lore, character backgrounds, history, etc) or do you prefer to stick to the main narrative without deviation?

TL;DR could you be arsed to read the Silmarillion?
I want characters speaking to each other, I want them "doing things" and I want to know how they're feeling and what they're thinking.

Please don't "arse" me to do anything...

Re: How deep is too deep?

#10
Yes, and it just depends on the execution. I prefer silent world-building as opposed to in your face info-dumps. Even better if the silent world-building is done in a practical manner like significant events or through characters.

Nowadays, too many stories overlook how easy it is to build a quality world by simply introducing sub-characters and focusing on them, as opposed to the main character. 

Re: How deep is too deep?

#11
NoMeTokken Wrote: TL;DR could you be arsed to read the Silmarillion?

I can't even be arsed to read the lotr books a second time around. The Hobbit is an exception, and actually a very fun read, but I don't particularly find Tolkein's habit of destroying his pacing with an entire chapter describing the interior of a room that a character spends half a second walking through to go into a different room to be particularly good writing. That said, the actual plot and characters and all that are pretty great.

As other people have said though, I think it all comes down to execution - I don't think Tolkein did it very well, but I have seen plenty of other stories that did interior description and decor and so on without destroying the pacing.

Re: How deep is too deep?

#13
Well the obvious answer is "when you come out the other side." Doesn't matter if you just punched straight through or took all the twists and turns inside to come out the exit, it's messy either way.

The less innuendo-laden answer is when something begins to affect your life beyond say $20 for the T-shirt, not counting the cost of admission. You court ridicule trying to bring impractical fiction into reality. (Star Trek inspired a whole lot of practical reality)

Re: How deep is too deep?

#14
As much lore and history of the world, system, magic, etc as possible but not just in an info dump.
There are stories I've read that have done that and it was a pain to read. But the more in depth ones that slowly revealed new lore throughout or added more definition to already established lore are the best in my opinion. It just brings it to life as you read it.
Not all big things either, like the Great War that toppled the great empire trope but even stuff like local customs that are shown but not outright stated. Maybe in one town the MC is offered an ale after walking into the Inn but in another, they immediately offer their local specialty, mead. In a different area with a comfortably warm climate? bottles of wine behind the bar obviously displaying local vintages. Or mix it up with the proper people drinking rum while the pirates off the coast have a vibrant wine smuggling trade. Doesn't have to be said, just implied.

A great one that did this for me is Azerinth Hunter. Overtime you go from knowing just a single small city to knowing a large chunk of the continent to knowing that there are other places, even other worlds out there, history of the world, ancient mysteries, etc. Different regions have different customs and economic specialties, different architecture described... But it was a slow build up. The author didn't just dump it but put it out there in the story, we learned when the MC learned.