One of the things I have a hard time with is setting. I tend to overlook the details until later in the story. Sometimes so late that a beta reader or my CP has to point it out. In Guardians of Stone, the first in my upcoming relic series, a beta reader asked if I could describe the heroine earlier because it was page 85 before she realized she had blonde hair. Oops!
I just get so busy with the characters emotions and the plot that I neglect setting and physical details. I do better with male descriptions, probably because I'm writing to a larger female audience, and I'm female, but even those descriptions have to be improved. Same with the really fun stuff...the mysterious statues and the castle covered in vines. I just don't go deep enough until the last round of edits.
Setting is important, whether you purposely add only a little or a lot. It grounds the reader to the story so they can picture themselves in the scene. Some writers even believe setting can be so important that it becomes like another character. I think I agree. Which is even more negligent of me since my settings are mysterious with secret passages and things that aren't what they appear. I should be devoting more time to this.
As a reader, I never liked it when a story had too much setting. I would immediately start skimming, but now that I write, I read every word, trying to see how the author is using setting, whether good or bad. One of my favorite authors is Diana Gabaldon. She uses lots of setting in her Outlander series. She is a master at using smells and descriptions that are so amazing you would swear you are there. . She has too much for some readers who want quicker paced stories. In the old days, I would have skimmed Diana's books. Now, I absorb them in awe. I won't include the amount of detail she does. It's too much for my story. Not to mention, her books are several hundred to over a thousand pages long, but I can learn from her.
How do you handle setting? Do you use a little or a lot? Add it in from the beginning, or have to go back and add it in? Do you think different genres are suited to more or less, or does it depend on the writer?