Key Elements in World-Building
Works of fiction have their own world; if you want to build your own world for a book, what are the top ten elements to include?
1. The Three Rules of Your World
Every world has three rules. In Harry Potter, for instance, the rule was "There is no magic". In Star Wars, it's "There are Jedis and there are the Force-less", but you could also say that "the Force" is the third rule. In Lord of the Rings it's "there are evil things out there and they want to destroy us."
Some crime, some punishment. Everyone knows what happens if you break the rules. This creates stakes and conflict in every episode of your story.
3. A unique problem or opportunity that only your main character can solve by using their special skills or powers
In Game of Thrones, for instance, it's finding Jon Snow among all the dead bodies at the end of season one.
4. One special place in your world where many different people from many different worlds come together for a common purpose
For instance, in Game of Thrones it's King's Landing (where all the noble houses meet) and then later on a little village called... Winterfell (where all the northern houses meet).
5. A map!
People like to know where things are. Make sure you include a map in your book so people can see where everything is located and how far apart things are located from each other.
6. The weather!
It's always important to describe weather because it tells us about location (if its sunny then we know its warm), time (if its raining then we know it's night), and mood (if its storming then we know someone is angry). Describe weather as much as possible to build up a sense of place.
7. How do they eat
What do they eat
Who do they eat with
When do they eat
Where do they sleep
Who sleeps with them
How does sex fit into their culture
What about death rituals
Do they have any superstitions or rituals or belief systems around any of these things
What about holidays or celebrations
Are there any historical reasons behind these rituals that we can learn about later on in the series
These details make up a culture
Without them you just have characters walking around aimlessly doing nothing interesting within a world that feels fake because nothing seems real about it and everyone seems like an extra instead of an actual person doing actual things within their world