How do authors design fictional cultures and customs?
It’s called world building and it’s taught in classes, plus there are books on the subject. But possibly the best and most fun way to design a fictional universe is done when writers simply close their eyes and let their imagination soar.
What kind of world should exist for a specific story? Lovely? Ugly? Desperate? Pre-historic? A water world? Utopia? Dystopia? Magical?
Writers who use this method, after they have dreamed up an imaginary world, open their eyes and come up with the details of that world that work for that particular culture because any tiny detail that clashes with the culture itself can ruin the story for readers.
Try it some time. It’s an interesting experience.
Have a fictional universe in your imagination? Tell me about it.