I have a question for those of you who write and read any kind of fantasy, be it epic, urban, or paranormal, etc.
With this genre, especially if you’re using unfamiliar mythologies or creatures, there will be concepts that you as a writer create or you as the reader come across for the first time. Maybe it's just a word or a phrase used. My question to you, and I’m going to try and make is as clear as possible, is this:
For the writer: Do you explain that new concept/idea the first time you mention it in your novel, or let it sit for a few pages then explain/describe/show it, allowing the reader to draw his/her own opinion?
For the reader: If you are introduced to a new concept/idea, do you want an explanation of what it is immediately, or do you like having a few pages to let it settle/give you time to figure it out on your own and then have it described or explained?
Personally, I don’t mind having to wait a page or two for what this concept/idea is all about because I don’t want things like that handed to me on a platter, and the back copy of a book will probably already introduce me to some of these concepts. I like drawing my own conclusions then being proven wrong or right.
When we start reading a new novel, especially in the fantasy, we’re inevitably thrown into a world we are not familiar with, be it the magic system, that world’s politics, or the people and creatures that inhabit it. It’s one of my favorite things about this genre. But there are pitfalls as well, especially when it comes to explaining that world. As writers we don’t want our novels to sound like a tourist guide or dictionary, and we definitely don't want to leave the reader in the dark. What's the healthy balance.