World Building: Ordinary World & Special World
Here’s a trick of detailing and revealing your protagonist, and of world-building as well!
It’s really effective to put some serious creative thought into detailing your Hero/ine’s Ordinary World and the — hopefully! — contrasting Special World that the Hero/ine will be entering, inhabiting, exploring, journeying through, or maybe even fleeing, during the course of your story.
Into the Special World is one of the most important scenes or moments of your story to get right. One technique filmmakers use to really make it special, and get the audience’s adrenaline spiking, is CONTRAST. Drama loves contrast, and this is one of the easiest ways I know of to provide it, as well as creating a sense of adventure, revealing character, developing character arc, and working the themes of your story.
I always think it’s useful to look first at the Ordinary World and Special World as depicted in fantasies like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz to see this dynamic at work in more blatant examples, then try your hand at recognizing the more subtle variations.