Writing a story is more than just throwing some characters into a situation and seeing what happens. A good writer builds a whole world around the story of the characters.
This is more than setting: it’s also the soundtrack, the slang people use, the color palette of the rooms, the social hierarchy hinted at…
Spend Some Time Painting A Realistic World Around The Edges of Today’s Story
The most obvious place to find examples of this ‘world-building’ is in science-fiction (especially futuristic or space stories) and fantasy. Each of these genres has to define everything for the reader from social structures to the shape of the vehicles, to the way gravity works in this world (think Harry Potter’s wizarding world and its unconventional public transport, or Star Wars vs. Firefly in how they handled the sound of space ships.)
But every story needs a certain amount of ‘world-building’. In a Hercule Poirot story we are in a world of drawing-rooms and exotic locales, and a certain class strata. In 50 Shades of Grey, we are introduced to a world where certain people define the shape of their relationship with detailed contracts.
Pay attention to the details of your world today.