To Lore or Not To Lore

by jeanineoloughlin

Thinking Through My Fingers

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Issac Asimov

Lore is important to fiction. It’s part of the formula to make a world that feels real and grounded. It’s important to create a sense of immersion to bring your readers in and keep them interested. At the same time, no matter how fantastic your world is you need to be able to explain it within the context of your story. I grew up playing tabletop RPGs and later video game RPGs so my worlds usually have quite a bit of lore as part of my world building process, which I discussed in a previous post. This creates a slippery slope once the actual narrative begins.

I personally have a habit in my writings of pulling a “Tolkien” and giving my readers a lot more information about the world the story takes place in than they really need. It slows the story down and distracts from what’s really important to the reader. Therefore most of what gets left on the editing room floor is lore. When you’re editing and drop a piece of lore keep a few things in mind;

Will this scene still make sense without this information?

Can you communicate this information through a character or actions within the scene?

Does the lore serve the plot?

If you can do without the lore then don’t include it. Your readers will appreciate the pacing that allows for, but retain that love of your world and all that you’ve put into it. As the Internet has taught us, readers love a book with good deep lore that they can tear apart and theorize. So lore on!

Happy Writing!