Most people know what world building is. Some authors go farther than others in creating their worlds. Some things you might wish to include are history, political and economic systems, culture, geography, types of flora and fauna, sentient beings… it can go on and on. And so could I. This could become a tome on building worlds, but I’m going to limit myself to some very basic advice.
World building can be wonderful. Letting one’s imagination soar free, trying to come up with things that are new and different. Or different yet familiar, so your readers don’t feel totally lost. How far does one go? Is it enough or too much? Valid questions. Ones only you can answer. Granted critique partners might be helpful—although you can get such varied responses, you might be more confused than ever—but you must give the final answer as to what will be in your world. Well, you and eventually your editor one day.
One frustrating point is thinking you’ve been unique only to find something similar exists in our world or worse, another author already used what you’d thought to be singular. Ah well. Thus is the life of the writer.
It’s not just the big things either. Oftentimes it’s the little things which can keep a world from seeming its own, apart from ours—like current trends in idioms and vocabulary. For example, we don’t have problems anymore, we have “issues.” Would the beings on your world have “issues”? And again, a critique partner or two can often catch the simple things which might be under your radar.
Above all, go for consistency. Your readers will appreciate it.
Need in-depth help? Try this list of questions by Patricia C. Wrede: Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions