Purposefully Capturing a Reluctant Reader

By Jessica Greyson

Into caring about the details of your world

I’ll be the first person to admit it. I am not the best at worldbuilding, I am much better at what I call world painting. My first published book Annabeth’s War has a lack of description. I’ll be honest. I did it on purpose. Why?

There are several uses and reasons to worldbuild or not to worldbuild. CapturingReluctantReader_post

In Annabeth’s War, I chose not to specifically worldbuild, and describe deeply. Why? I wanted the reader’s imagination to take control of the situation. I wanted them to paint the canvas of Annabeth’s War for themselves. I put in the emotions I wanted the readers to understand, but the rest was up to them. They could read as a spectator, or they could step into the shoes of Annabeth and Ransom and make the world their own. The choice was up to them.

However, many people need more guidance:  they want to be told a story, and that is where purposeful worldbuilding or painting comes in.

Personally I don’t like too much worldbuilding as a reader.


Because far, far too often the characters didn’t care.

For me as a reader and writer, worldbuilding must be purposeful; it must have meaning. I don’t know how many times I’ve skipped description in a book because I felt they had no meaning and were mere words that clogged the story from the plot and inhibited the story’s building drama. Why are you describing the sunset to me, if it’s a mere fact of life? As a reader I see no purpose for the description of sun putting itself to sleep behind the ridge of mountains, no matter how prettily put. [Read more…]