|A page from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs|
I'm joking. Sort of.
Let me show you what I mean.
From my last WIP:
"She nods, root beer candied eyes fluttering shut."
This sentence is in reference to my Seer character, but no--her eyes are not made out of root beer candy, as delicious as that would be. This is me trying to be poetic. Unfortunately, more than one person thought it might be literal since there are other unbelievable things in my story. A later draft had "root beer colored eyes" and then I think I ended up getting rid of the imagery altogether and going with something simple like "Her eyes fluttered shut."
But even though I've already learned this lesson once, I still have to be reminded.
From my current WIP:
"She'd had no problem being invisible as a high school senior. Now, with one month left in her first post-graduation summer, she half-expected the invisibility to become permanent. But he saw her."
I posted this in the WriteOnCon forums and had the gall to be surprised when people said, "Oh, cool! She's invisible? Why can he see her?" They had lots of great suggestions for how I could demonstrate her invisibility, like when she was getting onto the plane, she could completely bypass the poor visible people getting pat-downs. Very clever ideas. I was half-tempted to run with it.
But she's not invisible. She's just shy.
Why am I posting these embarrassing examples of my world-building fails?
I'm hoping they'll help somebody out there who's a quicker study than me. Someone who will remember that you can't take anything for granted when you're introducing readers to your brand new version of reality.
They know nothing about your world until you tell them. Pigs could fly. Elephants could be psychic. (Why am I only giving examples of animals here?) Angels could be ice elementals who collect souls for sport.
For all your reader knows, the sun really could be a pat of butter melting into the horizon!!
So you may want to do what I plan to do from now on and reread your manuscript with an eye for poetry that could be taken too literally. Because the last thing you want is somebody thinking your romantic lead's eyes really do hold the world inside.