I just finished reading and reviewing two books by Tobias S. Buckell, Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin. These are incredibly well-written books, and one of the things that impressed me the most about them is the very vivid, unusual, and natural-feeling world they take place in. Creating a whole new fictional world is tough, particularly a futuristic one with all sorts of funky technology; making it feel wholly real and natural takes talent and skill. Today, practice moving from concept to fictional reality by doing the following:
First, write down five adjectives or abstract concepts that describe your universe, or major parts of it. This can range from something as simple and vague as “frightening” to something like “humans are always on the run and scared.”
Now, for each of those abstract notions, write out five very specific examples of things in your universe that convey and prove that concept. Concepts are things that will help you to organize your thoughts when building a universe; specifics turn the universe into a coherent fictional reality.