This is a great bugaboo with all writers. We are told to Show our world, not Tell people about it.
Well, there is some truth to that, but it’s not all horror show. There needs to be a good amount of Telling in your Novel, or else they would be a thousand pages long with all of the Showing.
A little Telling goes a long way, especially if you space it out between all of the Showing stuff. Just don’t give us an info-dump at the start of every chapter, as I have run across in some printed works. I know that we all get excited about the place our characters are in, and we want to tell everyone about it.
Give us readers time to adjust to the fact that we are in a fantastic place. Give us some smells, a distinct feature and some local character. Then jump into story time and give us what you’re really here for.
There’s a formula used by Pixar writer Andrew Stanton in a recent Ted Talk. It’s called the Unifying Theory of 2 + 2. “Make the audience put things together. Don’t give them 4. Give them 2 + 2.”
Here’s that talk: