Greetings, fair folk of the forums! I'm currently working on my first "big" writing project, a fantasy novel. It is set in an original fantasy world and has a Middle-Eastern theme. Unfortunately, I'm very torn about my approach to establishing the setting for the first chapter of the book...partly because the setting is pretty strange. The story begins in a settlement that was built into the rock walls of a canyon. Homes in this "village" are basically caves that dot both of the canyon's faces, each with a balcony or terrace that connects it to walkways carved out of the rock walls. I'm having a hard time describing such a place. Here's an excerpt from my first draft where I try to quickly describe the settlement: The problem doesn't stop there, because I also explain why these creatures were forced to live there. Sure, that might seem unnecessary, but the story has a lot to do with moral/ethical issues, such as equality. Describing the setting, describing what goblins look like, and explaining why the settlement was built there takes me almost 900. That's 900 words of no action or dialogue, which worries me—even though I've read good fantasy novels that start like that. At least a great deal of action follows the 900 word introduction. While I'd like to get the story moving more quickly, the things that happen at the beginning of the story are difficult to envision if you don't at least have some idea of how this place was built because there are action scenes that occur on these stone walkways—which protrude from the canyon walls. Should I try to get to the action more quickly instead of spending 900 words on an introduction? Any opinions on how to better describe the setting would also be welcome.