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In my current project my goal is to go for the following narrative style within scenes:

  • Show only what the POV-Char can see, hear,... sense.
  • Show their emotional reaction (through body-feelings, reflex movements and thoughts)

This means that there is absolutly no explanation for some things alien to the reader in my very first scenes. Example (not my mother tongue):

Next to the path winding between small bushes and trees stood a great old tree. A white hole was shining in its dark bark.
Peter skulked into the direction of the tree.
The hole in the bark was bigger than his head. Great talons had almost split the trunk in two. Peters muscles tensed and he clutched his spear, his hands suddenly sweaty and slick. What does a boneslicer do here in the North? Was it not supposed to stalk the waste far to the south?
He pried into the silent woods and kept walking into the shadows.

After this short 'teaser' the story continues with other events within the scene, and the creature that gets hinted at here will reappear two scenes later. I do not want any obvious narrator, commenting on events or explaining things to the reader.

My gut tells to keep trying (to write without infodumps or bits of information, which would not be experienced within the scene by the POV-Char) but there could be a problem with orienting the readers.
If all the scene does is creating questions within the reader, especially within the first part (~15%) of my project, will they just close the book, or try to find the answers?

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    I wouldn't call this "uncertainty". It's rather "unfamiliarity". Your worldbuilding seems to be solid, and you only need to gradually introduce it to your reader. Uncertainty is rather when wordbuilding itself is fluid, like in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". – Alexander Oct 8 '19 at 16:46
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    A great deal if they think it will be worth it, in my experience. – S. Mitchell Oct 8 '19 at 16:54
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It is fine to keep the POV on the character and go on. The reader will find out things at the same time the POV does.

What you should do is to make sure they understand that every information is something the POV perceived, not some absolute truth. (you didn't state but I am assuming you are using 3rd person limited).

Everything should spin around the POV. So, in your text,

Next to the path winding between small bushes and trees stood a great old tree. A white hole was shining in its dark bark. Peter skulked into the direction of the tree. The hole in the bark was bigger than his head. The marks seemed like great talons had almost split the trunk in two. Peters muscles tensed and he clutched his spear, his hands suddenly sweaty and slick. He knew what made those marks. What does a boneslicer do here in the North? Was it not supposed to stalk the waste far to the south? He pried into the silent woods and kept walking into the shadows.

The one explaining things to the reader is Peters. Peters' knowledge, Peters' perception.

Addendum:

The narrator has access to the character's head. The text could say Peters imagination evoked the figure of the boneslicer and then describe it, with the emotional load Peters feels about the boneslicer.

Peters muscles tensed and he clutched his spear as he recalled the image of the terrible creature that left those talon marks. Tall, ghoulish, long-limbed and vicious. He came to his senses and felt his hands suddenly sweaty and slick. What does a boneslicer do here in the North? [...]

I don't even have to describe the entire boneslicer now. I can tell only what characteristics make Peters so afraid of them.

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    There seems to be a misunderstanding here. My point is that the pov character knows exactly what a boneslicer is, and the reader does not. – user13402 Oct 8 '19 at 14:37
  • And I always thought you are supposed to avoid thinks like "seemed" or "knew" because they distance the reader from the story? – user13402 Oct 8 '19 at 14:38
  • @openend That's general advice for thriller-style writing, not generally fantasy. – Weckar E. Oct 8 '19 at 14:45
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    @openend you are in the character's head. You could say Peters imagination evoked the figure of the boneslicer and then describe it, with the emotional load Peters feels about the boneslicer. – Mindwin Oct 8 '19 at 15:56
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Your question is moot because you're overthinking your issue. There is no 'general reader' because we all live in different bubbles and have different knowledge bases. For example: I'm currently writing a political thriller. The characters are discussing FLOTUS, the ACLU, the NASDAQ and 401Ks. I am aware that 95% of the planet has no idea what I'm talking about. The same issues arise when writing medical dramas: the characters discuss whipples, sux, ex-laps, TBIs and other issues. If the reader has no medical training - they've no idea what's going on.

To answer your question: between ER and Grey's Anatomy . . . these series have over 700 episodes. In the UK the series Casualty passed 1000 episodes many years ago.

Anything the reader doesn't understand is jargon (whether of not word is a real thing). They will put up with it so long as its embedded in good story telling and the writer does not stop the story to explain.

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