Writing Lore: How to Convey Information to Your Readers
When developing and writing lore for a fictional universe, it's sometimes difficult for writers to convey their information to their readers. If your universe is fresh and new, it's important for you to understand one key aspect about the demographic you're writing to-- they know nothing about your universe. When you first start writing fictional work, it's important work out the details regarding the conveyance of your information. In my opinion, there's really just two acceptable ways to accomplish this-- through action and dialogue.
Readers learn about your universe in one of two ways depending on the point of view of your story. If it's in first person like Of Things Man Made, the reader will gain information about the world around them through the main character-- either through their thoughts or their own learning experience. If the story is in third person, the reader will learn through the dialogue and actions of central character- very little information should be shared solely through the narrator. (If you need help with character development, check out OTMM: 5 Tips for Character Development in Fiction.)
Giving information in a first person narrative:
When a reader is reading a narrative in first person your reader will grow based on your main character. As your main character learns through experience, whether it be from the dialogue of another character or through an action they take, the reader will learn as well. It's simply important to remember that actions prompt dialogue. It's unlikely a pair of character will randomly begin discussing events from the past. For that reason, there needs to be an action (something occurs) that prompts the characters to engage in discussion. This allows readers to become interested in the event and ultimately want to know more about what's going on. If there's no action, it simply becomes more boring dialogue. Writing lore is about finding interesting ways to convey sometimes boring text.
Conveying Lore and Backstory:
Conveying information, and writing lore can be tough. Particularly if your universe spans through centuries of detailed information. For that reason, it's important that the reader have enough information to stand on as the story begins- perhaps a short dialogue, whether it be internally or between two characters- or through simple observation. Once the reader has enough information to be engaged in the text, you can begin filtering in information about your world as the plot advances. Simply put, you shouldn't have pages and pages of lore filled text at the beginning of your narrative. This is bad for two reasons: 1) It's boring, and 2) the readers has nothing interesting left to learn.
Writing lore asks that readers grow with your characters. By doing this, you create a steady stream of interesting information that will keep them engaged for the full text. Simply choose a point of view, give your readers enough information to start, and begin trickling in information through actions, observations, dialogue, and pesky plot twists.