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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."

    2. Crime

    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
    And why
    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

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