First you must define the kind of world your story takes place in. Is it the existing world we live in now? Is it an alternate version of it or do you have to create a completely new world? Once that’s established you delve into the details of the world. The people. The Fauna. The Flora. Religion. Beliefs. If it’s Science-Fiction then the technology and how the world has been affected by it. Fantasy, then what creatures, peoples and races live in it and how has their cities, villages, and world look like.
Remember that this world serves only to house your story, and therefore must not be the story itself. Think of it as the armour around the knight, it is the knight and type of knight that will affect how the armour will move, and fight but the armour itself only works to serve the knight. So then must your world work to serve your story.
With defining the world, you also define your characters. How does their world affect their lifestyle? Their friends? Their enemies if they have? The buildings they grow up in tell as much of the story as the people growing up in them. With all of this comes the feeling of the places. The sterile glass worlds of the metropolis where the “insert evil corporation” headquarters are situated, the lush green fields and gentle sloping hills of the village nestled between the forest where the “insert magical being” resides. This is where your world comes alive. This is where your story sets its home.
Quote “I’m a sucker for world building. When creating a narrative I tend to get lost in the backstory and minutiae of everything but the actual narrative for months before the real story begins to make itself known. And when it does, it’s embedded in a context which both influences and is influenced by the events as they unfold. The same goes for the characters; their backstories have shaped who they are, their motives and morals, and how they relate to one another, and I need to have all of that figured out beforehand. Narrative Director Christofer Emgård Mirrors Edge Catalyst
Have you visualized the worlds where your stories take place?