WorldBuilding: Making Fictional Technology

Another part of world building deals with technology. Knowing the technology your characters had access to, is crucial. It’s always better to have a handle on it before you begin writing the piece. There are questions you need to ask yourself about the technology in your story.

The first is one of the most important. What level is the technology? Do your characters hunt with spears? Or do they have the bow and arrow? How do they do things? Do they have the wheel? The answer to these questions is important. Another aspect of the level of technology involves transportation. We cover distances in hours what Medieval people who spent days travelling. Keep that in mind. Roads were more dirt tracks or paths in those days. Travel technology is another aspect of things you need to know.

Another thing to keep in mind is how your people group themselves. Does the technology lend itself to trade unions or guilds? Guilds are more structured and authoritarian than trade unions. Trade unions give members more of a voice, but guilds control who can do what. It’s a continuum. What you need to do is determine which would be best for your story. Remember, trade unions didn’t exist in Medieval times. I won’t say guild don’t exist today, but I don’t know of any. I do know they are not prominent any more.

Does your world have factories? What industries are present? Do they have steel or are a group of blacksmiths the only metal workers around? Are there computers? This all ties in with the idea of what your characters do for a living. What jobs are available to them. For that matter, it can also dictate what their working conditions are. These are points you need to consider when developing industries in your new world. It’s important for the believability of your characters, and their world.

What rules and regulations does your technology have? Are there any? How do people get into the occupations they do? Guilds had more rules than trade unions, so think about that. Are there any rules governing which people can do what jobs? Then there are government regulations. Are there any? Do they regulate worker safety? These questions will help you shape the technological part of your world. Remember, farming has a certain element of technology. Don’t think you only need to make your characters into farmers and let it go at that. Your readers will call you on it.

Answering these questions on technology will help you make your story more realistic. The work you do here will make things more realistic. That is the goal of world building. Things in your fictional world must make sense. Yes, world building can be tedious, but if you don’t do it first, you will be struggling if you try to do it later. so don’t scrimp on it. Your story will be the stronger for it. Good luck and don’t stop writing.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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