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Here’s a list of things that you should think about when creating a new world/society for a story concept. They aren’t in any order. This is more of my college wisdom by the way.

1. The Time Period
Especially for a human society on Earth. Do your characters live in medieval times? Elizabethan times? Prehistoric times? This will greatly affect many aspects of the characters in the story, such as their clothing, posture, vocabulary (I mean really you’re not going to hear the word “dude” come out of a French aristocrat), rituals, law enforcement, etc. Do your research.

If your characters live in the present day, invest in a fashion magazine and a hairstyle magazine and try to keep up with the latest clothing trends.

2. The World’s Geography
Making a map of your world might help, especially if you’re intending on writing a story that involves a character going on an epic adventure that takes them all around the world. Of course you won’t have to do this if your story takes place on Earth, because the readers are already familiar with their own world.

Also consider things like the atmosphere and environment (rugged mountains, underwater, etc), and certain wild creatures that have adapted to it (as well as inventions that have helped your characters survive in this environment).

If you really want to create a visual reference for yourself, then I recommend getting Vue Pioneer (www.cornucopia3d.com). It doesn’t have a lot for free, but enough for you to lay down a foundation, and it’s a lot easier than other environment generation software.

3. Physical Rules
Okay this is REALLY important. If you are creating a world that is an alien planet or some undiscovered/fantasy kingdom, then you have to take this into account if you want to get creative with it.

No matter what, if you want your audience to be able to immerse themselves in this world you made, then it HAS to be bound by a set of physical laws (like gravity or the theory of relativity….which is just a theory but it’s plausible). Or else you’ll be making something surreal. Once again if you’re using Earth then you pretty much know how to approach this one.

This also goes for any magical items or abilities that characters may have. They have to come with a set of rules or limitations that the characters discover over time.

4. Social Rules
While you may already be familiar with the law in your own world (well if you’re unsure about how a certain situation is handled now’s the best time to do some research), when creating your own society/tribe/civilisation that works DIFFERENTLY from Earth (eg. lives in an unearthly environment or a fantasy kingdom) then this is one thing you really have to take into account.
What rules have these people established to stop (or try to stop) things from getting out of hand? What is gladly accepted and what is forbidden? Have the rules changed since a certain character has come into power?

I guess what is socially appropriate and inappropriate for your people would also fit under this category.

5. History
If you’re making up your own species or society in an alternate world, then it would be best to establish some form of cultural history and reveal a little of it to your audience. How did this empire come to be? What challenges has it been through? Has it fought any great battles?

You can even go back as far as the creation of that universe (only necessary if it’s a key point in your storyline, like in Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, you meet the three fairies who created the Earth at various points in the game), and you can either be religious (there was a god and it made the planet) or scientific (like how in Spore your creature comes from a meteor and evolves into a sentient being). You can even keep this a mystery and reveal it all in the story’s climax.

6. Cultural History/Rituals
Depending on whether you’re making a story on Earth with humans, or creating your own race/species/civilisation, you’ll need to either research the cultural traditions or create your own.

You should be able to answer things like what the citizens do to attract a mate, what are their holidays and how do they celebrate them, whether they are religious and how their religion works, their traditional clothing, etc.
I hope all my college knowledge isn't going to waste. This is another thing I learnt.

How to make a believable society for your stories, because I've seen quite a few fanfics where this stuff hasn't been thought through.
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:iconmisslunarose:
MissLunaRose Featured By Owner May 1, 2011   General Artist
Thank you so much for writing this! It'll be so helpful for my book... we have two different planets here... This will be a great thing to look at while I map out this new culture. Thank you!
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:iconobliviox:
Obliviox Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
Nice I love it.
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:icondigi-fish:
Digi-fish Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks. I know there's no pretty pictures to go with it, but I still think it'll be useful for someone.
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:iconobliviox:
Obliviox Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
Its useful for me and my storie. Now I can finaly make my own orignal planet instead of useing some other one as a spring board.
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