Some helpful tips on world-building from TED-Ed – starts at around 3:12 if you wish to go directly for the meat.
What are the important questions you need to ask yourself when you are developing your world. The more you think about these questions the more fleshed out and real the world becomes to you as well as your reader. Details matter but no info-dumping.
To sum up the questions for the impatient ones:
- Determine space and time – real or fantasy world, past, present or future
- Create a timeline how the world was created and which events shaped it
- What rules are in place – rules of physics, society, punishments
- Type of government – who governs whom and why
- What do people believe in – myths, common knowledge, religion
- What does this society value the most
- Day-to-day life – weather, living space, food, work, schooling, play
- What is the attitude towards the young and the old
- What relationship do they have with animals and plants
- How do animals and plants look like
- What kind of technology exists, transportation, communication, access to both
- How does this world shape the individual and what conflicts does it produce