A neatly worked piece of literary advice. I only have one quibble – why annoy your reader by saying ‘humans are stupid’? I don’t think that is why we fill in the gaps – I’d say it is because we humans have brains, and don’t need to be told everything to get the picture. Writers rely on their readers being clever!
Building a world is not just about fantastical kingdoms or the sins of a solar empire. It’s about the mood you sprinkle throughout every bit of your story. And you can create the world in the simplest ways because humans are stupid.
Every single word you use has a whole host of connotations surrounding it. Words don’t exist in isolation, they rely on context to sharpen and focus their gaze, and each word you choose carries weight beyond the simple.
For example: ‘A rat skittered from a pile of rubbish’. Without any further clue I bet you placed that scene in the sort of place you most associate rats and rubbish; for most of us probably a scene of urban decay (for me it was the alley behind my old flat) but if you’re from the countryside your impressions may have been different.
The point is that you don’t need…
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