Wow Rose, you are fantastic at giving spot on writing advice! I love the concept of describing individual people and things to help show the larger picture, I will try to utilize that technique more in the future. Absolutely agree with the -ing verbs tip, I’ll work on that.
I was also leaning against using direct thought. I had been using it early in my chapters to start them off with a further physic distance, and then moving into indirect thought, but I’m not convinced that is necessary.