I recently read three blog posts, very close in time, that addressed a similar topic. When the Universe jumps up and down waving its arms in my face that way, I figure I shouldn't ignore that signal.
Here's Jenny Gordon
: "... I’ve recently printed up my old novels ... and this week, I’ve been reading those two dark fantasy novels ...
And man! Are they hard-going!!!!
It’s partly due to the fact that I was still learning my craft that they’re full of so much exposition, but it’s also because of all that world-building I did, and wanted to share.
It’s a rich, vibrant world to be sure, but did I really need to write so much of it into the stories?"
And now Tabitha Olsen
: "... the very first time I sat down to write a story, I couldn’t wait to tell the reader everything. ... Literally, everything
that happened in the story, as well as a fair bit of research, was included. You can imagine the big mess I ended up with. :)"
Finally, taking a slightly different road through what I view as the same neighborhood, Anna Staniszewski
: "If you have to spend a lot of time explaining the rules and making sure your readers 'get them,' then you might be making things overly complex. And sometimes, that can be a big turn-off for readers."
In other words: don't let elaborate story-telling (whether setting, plot, backstory, characterization, style or tone) drag down the essential thing, which is the story itself.p.s. If you have a taste for live book events, I'll be at the Hudson (NY) Book Festival this Saturday, May 5, from 10 to 4; and I'll be at Books of Wonder in NY City on May 19 from noon to 2 (even if you can't make the latter event in person, you can order signed books via the link).