So you want to write a science fiction, fantasy, horror, or other speculative fiction story. This means that your story will deviate from the real world in that it has gadgets, magic, monsters, a dystopian society, aliens, or whatever else you plan on bringing in. This is not to be taken lightly. Any significant differences that your story has from the real world need to be fully examined. Go down this list and answer one question every day to develop your speculative fiction element to its fullest.
Day 1) What fuels your speculative fiction element? Magic has to come from somewhere, creatures have to eat, and inventions need energy to run. Every society needs to get its food from somewhere. Does your element need a special type of energy or can it be powered by means that already exist?
Day 2) Where is your speculative fiction element located? Most science fiction inventions are pretty much ubiquitous, but societies and monsters will have very specific locations. Entire magical species will probably have specific habitats, because it’s unlikely that unicorns could survive both in swamps and in deserts. Aliens will have home worlds and specific places where they meet people.
Day 3) When and how did it start? Has the land always had magic in it, or did something happen that created magic? When did your society start? When did the haunted house become haunted?
Day 4) How does it impact the environment? Just saying that your speculative fiction element is “bad” for the environment without giving details or explaining why is a cop-out, by the way.
Day 5) Who has the most control over it? Of the people who don’t have any power over it, which people are trying to get more power? If something exists, there will be people who want to own it. Remember that these people aren’t always bad.
Day 6) How does it impact the economy?
Day 7) What is the stance of the government that your protagonists live under on your speculative fiction element? What are the stances of other governments?
Day 8) What do major religions think of it? Remember that all people of the same religion will not think the same way.
Day 9) Does it impact people’s day-to-day lives? If so, then how? If not, then why?
Day 10) If it were shown to a normal person from present-day Earth, what would their initial reaction be?
Day 11) Can it/one of it be killed or destroyed? If so, then how?
Day 12) If there is an afterlife in your story, how does the use of your speculative fiction element impact where people go?
Day 13) How can it benefit people’s lives? How can it harm them? Even the most evil or the most lovely things have the potential to do both.
Day 14) What does it look like?
Day 15) What would a broken/defective/mutant version do? (This question might not apply.)
Day 16) Are there any rumors or legends about it? Are there any rumors or legends that involve it?
Day 17) Do the lower class, the middle class, and the upper class have different reactions to it?
Day 18) Similarly, how expensive is it to own, to meet, or to live in? What problems does that cost cause?
Day 19) How large is it?
Day 20) Are there any people who don’t know about it? If so, who and why?
Day 21) If somebody owns/interacts with/lives in your speculative fiction element for an extended period, what are the long-term effects?
Day 22) Is there a black market that sells it or parts of it? If your speculative fiction element is a society, does it contain a black market?
Day 23) Do parents allow their children to play with/in it? What restrictions do they place?
Day 24) Is it possible for it to kill somebody? If so, then how? If not, then why not?
Day 25) Does it cause or heighten any divisions between people? Does it bring people together?
Day 26) People are stupid. This is a known fact. What are the stupidest things that people could do with your speculative fiction element?
Day 27) Is there anybody well-known for being associated with it (the leader of the society, the slayer of the monster, the inventor of the gadget, the best gryphon rider, etc.)?
Day 28) How commonplace is your speculative fiction element? Is there only one of it?
Day 29) If your speculative fiction element were taken away, how would your world react?
Day 30) Is it possible to commit crimes with/in your speculative fiction element?
The follower of the day is meganrulestheworld.
EDIT: Please send me an ask if you actually do this, because I would love to see!
Bonus day 31) What are the views of the general public on your element?
Bonus day 32) What are the views of the lunatics and conspiracy theorists on your element?