Part of what makes every story interesting is the world in which it takes place, even if that world is just the ordinary world that you and I live in everyday. The reason you want to make your story’s world interesting is because it helps the characters interact with each other and by showing something new, it keeps the audience’s interest up at the same time.
The simplest examples are science fiction or fantasy stories. “Star Wars” isn’t just about blowing up the Death Star. It’s about Sand People who live in the desert and threaten anyone who wanders into their territory. It’s about desert scavengers who collect robots and fix them up to sell them to others. It’s about a dangerous bar in a space port, frequented by shady characters. It’s about an evil empire trying to take over the galaxy. We don’t know any of this at the beginning, but by learning this gradually, the story becomes richer and more interesting.
In “Avatar,” we’re introduced to an exotic world where natives worship nature and happen to live on a planet that contains a mineral that the humans want and mine. We gradually get to know how an avatar body works and how the humans and aliens have interacted with each other in the past. The scientists have been trying to talk and learn from the natives while the military has been trying to wipe them out.
In the Harry Potter movies, we’re introduced to a world of schools where they teach magic. In “Toy Story” and “Cars,” we’re introduced to a world of talking toys and how they interact with humans, and talking cars and how they live.
On a much simpler level in the everyday world, look at “John Wick” or “Baby Driver.” In “John Wick,” the hero is an assassin, but we’re introduced to the underground world of assassins who help each other and even stay and socialize in a resort that only caters to assassins. The only rule is that no killing can take place on that property so every assassin can feel safe, even if they’re trying to kill each other outside of that assassin resort.
In “Baby Driver,” we know about a shady underground world where a villain assembles shady characters to pull off robberies around the city. This villain has the power to learn about the hidden background of these shady characters and also has contacts that will sell him illegal guns. Even though this world takes place in our ordinary world, it’s anything but ordinary and is interesting because it shows us a new world (organized crime) that we normally never get to see.
Every movies introduces us to a new world of some kind. In “Big,” we’re introduced to what it’s like to work in a toy company and how they make decisions on designing the new toys. In “La La Land,” we’re introduced the the tough world of auditioning for parts as an actress, and the world of jazz. In historical based movies, we’re introduced to what life was like in the best such as in “12 Years a Slave” or “Gladiator.”
Your story world cannot be generic any more than your hero and villain can be generic. Make your story world interesting and show the audience something new that they never saw before. An interesting story world will go a long way towards making an interesting story.