In 2008 Suzzane Collins created a dystopian book The Hunger Games, which practically flew off the shelves with younger readers. But has anyone wondered what elements (besides the overwhelming plot and teenage love triangle) made the story so successful?

First, examine the world Katniss presides in and leaves. Readers were immersed by  distinctive societies or districts that had their own fashion, culture, and values. Altogether these elements create a more immersive background for The Hunger Games world and reflects how diversified our own world is. And just like the societies of today, these districts and the Capital are founded on their own rules.

It’s important to remember how the rules and values of a world may motivate character interactions or motivations. Check out the video below before reading more about how Collins enforces the rules and tones of The Hunger Games world.

Suzzane Collins has a terrific gift for indirect flashbacks, which she uses to incorporate the rules or tones of the different districts. My favorite instance is when Katniss is eating fancy food in the Capitol and she recalls how much work it would take to make a meal similar to it back home. Small tidbits like that really capture how naturally a mind wanders, and how realistically a character’s mind can wonder.

So as you’re writing your manuscript or creating your fictional world, consider what unspoken rule or life fact can be reset into a flashback. Flashbacks can be set off by sensory outputs such as taste, or comparing things like finery of everyday goods. Either way, it’s a great tool to further immerse your reader into a fictional setting.