I’m a character-driven writer so the first thing I look at is:
- How do your characters interact with your world? A lot of the world can be shown by seeing the characters as they go about their daily lives or move from one area to another, or talk to someone else, or confront something that’s taboo.
After that, I fill in the gaps:
- The personalisation and nominalisation of world aspects makes it real. A very easy way to personalise your world is to go to the markets. It’s a perfect way to show how the society works very quickly without a boring info dump. If your world doesn’t have markets, choose something that shows a number of characters from different walks of life and how they interact with each other.
- Remember the detail. Most of the time, broad strokes are fine when painting a picture of your world, but the truth is in the detail. Sometimes, it’s the fact that a man’s fingernails are dirty, or someone has a stylised tattoo around their wrist, or the tankards are made of bronze rather than wood or pewter. Perhaps it’s the barmaid who wears a blouson top and gathered skirt, and a small antenna sticking out of her mob cap.