An example of some of the amazing concepts out there are things like: Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files, the story is about a Wizard private investigator and moves along in certain ways like a typical detective story, but with cool magical creatures and magic stuff to move the story along. Patricia Briggs and the Mercy Thompson series have the heroine starting out as a mechanic that happens to be a shape shifter. The story takes off from there as all of these other magical creatures come into the story while the heroine tries to make a living being a mechanic. P.S. Powers and his infected series, that has superheroes as infected people with a special power and a terrible personality trait that goes with it. His people work as federal agents for the government helping to protect society from the bad infected humans. Richard Raley whose King Henry series have people with special powers that function as mages in his world. The main hero spends his life trying to make a living by creating magical devices and selling to make a living and free himself from being controlled by others.
In the examples I’m using above, these are all Urban Fantasy stories. A concept layered over our current world with a twist, which seems to be quite popular. Not just popular now, but in many ways forever popular. Think of Orson Wells and the Time Machine or Dracula or Frankenstein, it’s all just a twist put over the real world. For me, whether it’s done by science or magic or some pathogen, it’s really all the same. It’s just a twist on reality.
Another part that people make way to complex is coming up with unique abilities for their heroes and heroines. In many ways, this is just as difficult as the coming up with your unique character. Although in many ways it’s one and of the same and most of the stories around us are based off of old Dungeon and Dragons (wizards, clerics, monks, paladins), old mythologies of mythical creatures (vampires, demons, werewolves and such), magic (witches, wizards), superheroes or psychic phenomenon (telepathy, teleportation, telekinesis and such). It still helps to have your own twist to the concept, but if you look at most of the stories around. At their core, the concepts are in many ways the same.
These are some of the main ingredients to creating the world you want for your book, but what makes the story is the characters that you create and their adventure in this world. Hence why it’s so important to know what your character is doing, like in the above examples. It gives your characters a purpose, makes them identifiable to your readers and helps to move along the story.
A good example of this was from a critic complaining that I didn’t turn Startüm into a traveling surfer helping people around the world as he moves to each new location. I figure I can always do that in another series as I discuss Startüm’s early adventures on Earth. It was a great concept and something I can work on in the future. Things like this make a connection to your readers and give a base to tell the story from.
Anyway, I hope this helps in your own writing. Whatever it is that you come up with, go with it even if you don’t have everything figured out. Just starting your basic story opens up your mind to all kinds of things. Connections form just by the need of forming your basic concept and before you know it there is a huge story that almost is created on its own.