If you are unsure how to drive a story forward, think of a rule that might have to be broken in your world.
I think it’s important to acknowledge how much power we have as writers, and authors. We can influence a lot. We are in charge of fictional universes – that’s a big responsibility. Now, how much detail you painstakingly ordain is up to you – but I’m here to encourage you. Are you world-building? Have you considered creating a language within your world? How about a religion
First of all, if anyone laughs at you for making up a language, just look at them and say, “Ever heard of The Lord of the Rings?” You don’t have to be as passionately obsessed with languages as J. R. R. Tolkien was, but if you are so inclined to make up some words and phrases and even grammar for a language, do it! It could really open up your mind and stretch your imagination. It involves logic, research and creativity – if you aren’t sure about creating one but your are on the fence, I’m here to tell you to at least try it. I have a few phrases in my The Hidden Jewel series, but my third book has more phrases in one of the languages of that world. I have a list of words and grammatical rules so that I can remain consistent when I bring this language up.
It’s also an interesting venture when creating a religion for your fictional world. While I avoid some of the bigger aspects in my current series, I don’t shy away from big topics (like life and death and morality). However, if you are world building, I would encourage you to think about religion and how important it is in your world. I would argue that no world is complete without some form of religion or moral system. But, how far you take it is up to you. Are there multiple gods? Is there one? It’s up to you. If it’s a fictional world, I’d say get creative. I don’t condone media that mocks religion, but that’s because I happen to be a religious person. You may be inclined to portray religion as an evil and horrible thing. However, maybe the religion in your fictional world is more of a background, something that’s not the focus of your story. Maybe it will just be mentioned. If that’s the case, it still makes your world more interesting.
Much like religion in your world-building, you will have to have some structure of moral understating, laws, and rules. Make sure they are consistent, and well explained to the reader. Even if it has nothing to do with a religious belief system, it will be what drives the world and how it operates. It’s important to construct it. Try thinking of three laws in your world, or the location within the world you’ve made. Make sure those laws are acknowledged throughout the story, and that they make sense. Try to think of origins, too. Why are those laws there? In The Hidden Jewel series, the main city has banned all magic. They allow people capable of using magic to live there, but they are not allowed to practice magic within the city. This creates the main conflict in the first book, as the main character accidentally gets a magic watch stuck on her wrist. If you are unsure how to drive a story forward, think of a rule that might have to be broken in your world. To give it an even bigger impact, what if someone broke a religious rule?
The possibilities really are endless. You are an author.