A Whole New World - Creating A Unique Setting

We all know Tolkien was a genius at creating a setting for his books.  This place is known as Middle-earth.  Perhaps you have heard of it?  When it was written, it was unique.  Nothing like it.  Now, we see little copies everywhere with different names.  Are those copies as effective on the reader?

I don't think so.

Now I am going to move to another example of an amazing setting that has no world (or universe, really) like it.  Tales of Goldstone Wood.  This world is still in the fantasy genre, but the setting is oh so very different from Middle-earth.  More just...magical.  If you haven't read those books, read them to see what I am talking about.

So how do your setting be different from Middle-earth (if it's fantasy), or any other setting that has "been done"?

1. Make a consious effort to not use anything that has been done.  Don't try to twist it to make it your own.  Actually make something completely original.  Study up on other books in your genre and know what not to put in your storyworld.  If you write dystopian, read everything you can get your hands on and stay away from the cliches you see.

2. Know the time period your world is based on.  Every world has a little piece of earth in it.  I find it is mostly a time period that has happened in earth's history.

3. Make that time period have a twist.  If you are writing medieval fantasy, why not let them have something from another time period?  If you are writing futuristic dystopian, make them have some kind of older technology that ties them down, maybe they don't have wireless headphones.

4. Add a piece of Earth to the world.  You could make the culture based off of two Earth cultures combined.  You could have a city named after a city on Earth.

5. This one is more of a bonus.  I know that in my writing, I always like to hide a reference to my favorite books in there.  But I always give that reference a twist so that if the author reads it, they don't think I stole something from them.  Hehe.  So if I like you as an author and you are reading this, know there is most likely a reference to you in my books.  :)  What I'm mostly saying here is that if you want to reference something from another book, like a name or something, try to give it a twist.  For instance, if your favorite character's name is Justin and you want to reference him, you could name a character in your book Justice.  See, discreet.  *Grins*  That is not an example from my book.

Tally ho!  Cheery bye!  Until we next meet.  :)