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55: Wheels of Progress - Shape Your World (4)
Episode 5526th April 2023 • Writing Pursuits • Kathrese McKee
00:00:00 00:17:14

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Today, iwe discuss everything from transportation and communication to architecture, construction, technology, and medical knowledge that goes into creating a believable, immersive world.

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The question of the week is: What are your favorite books and movies where these topics played a pivotal role. Share your favorites in the comments?

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Transcripts

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Today in Part Four of this world building series, we'll be

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discussing everything from transportation and communication

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to architecture, construction, and technology that goes into

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creating a believable, immersive world. Fasten your seat belts

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hold on tight, and let us explore the wheels of progress

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and learn how to shape our own worlds. A writing precedes

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authors. Welcome back to the podcast. To those of you who are

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new, I want to extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese.

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McKee. And I'm glad you're here. If you are a writer seeking

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encouragement, information and inspiration, this podcast is for

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you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing precedes authors.

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Welcome back to the show to those of you who are new, I want

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to extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese McKee. And I'm

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glad you're here. I call this episode wheels of progress, an

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umbrella term for things like transportation, communication,

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construction and architecture, technology and medical

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knowledge. I would love to know your favorite books, and movies,

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where these topics played a pivotal role. Share your

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favorites in the comments, let's get to it. world building is a

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huge topic so much so that I've broken it into six parts. You

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cannot overestimate the importance of world building and

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creating a believable and immersive fictional world. Even

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if you're writing historical or contemporary fiction, you still

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need a handle on all the topics I am discussing in this series.

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So far. So far, we have discussed building believable

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worlds and why it matters. Nature's realm set the stage

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society's rules, bend them, break them. And today as wheels

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of progress, shape your world. And then in the coming weeks we

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will talk about past and present, explore history's

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legacy, and magic myth and man wield supernatural power. And

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I'm really looking forward to those. It's difficult to choose

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which piece of wheels of progress to cover first, but

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since I brought up wheels in the title, let's start with

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transportation. Here are some questions to ask yourself when

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you're in the midst of world building, what mode of

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transportation? Or what modes of transportation are available in

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your world? For example, if it's an ice world, how to the people

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or the beings, whatever they might be your main characters?

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How do they get around in order to find food and trade amongst

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themselves? Have the civilizations in your series or

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books develop technologies for flight? Or underwater

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transportation? How do they manufacture their

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transportation? Do your characters rely on beasts of

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burden? mechanical means of transportation, global

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navigation? Or is everyone on foot? Are their modes of

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transportation only available available to the very wealthy?

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Like say yachts? Is there ubiquitously public

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transportation that will take a citizen almost anywhere? Is

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there like public transportation everywhere? What are the

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limitations and advantages of each mode of transportation in

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your world? How affordable is it? For the average person? Are

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there any unique modes of transportation that exists only

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in your world? So your imagination is the limit here?

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How long does it take to travel between different locations in

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your world? So sometimes I've seen stories where it seems

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improbable that they could have covered the distance in the

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amount of time, you know, that was allotted by the author. So

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pay attention to realistic distances? How safe is the

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transportation in this world? Not everything is always safe,

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no matter how you're getting there. But I mean, if you're

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traveling by dinosaur, aren't you taking the chance that

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you're gonna get eaten? That's just you know, throwing it out

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there? Are there any transportation related conflicts

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or tensions between different groups in this world? And how

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does transportation impact the economy and the politics of your

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world? Finally, how does transportation impact the

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environment of your world? So these are all questions you

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might ask yourself that are about transportation. The next

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thing I wanted to talk about was communication. One measure of

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civilization sophistication, is its means of communication like

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on Earth, some of these systems have been lost. However, there

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are many examples of ancient systems of keeping records and

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preserving history, including cave paintings, clay tablets,

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Papyrus, hieroglyphics, and wall carvings to celebrate a monarchs

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prowess and battle all these things.

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have come down to us through history. But don't don't think

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that those are not available to you in your books. On Earth,

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there are a few events we can point to that shook our world

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and our means of communicate communication. Number one was

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the printing press, invented in the mid 15th century by Johann

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Gutenberg, and it allowed for the mass production of written

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materials and help spread knowledge and ideas across

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Europe and the rest of the world. The telegraph was

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invented in the 18th century, and it allowed for rapid

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communication across long distances, and help connect

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people around the world. So that was another big jump in

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communications. Another example is the internet developed in the

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late 20th century, which transformed communication,

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commerce, and access to information on a global scale.

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It also opened up a can of worms. But there you are. So

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questions you might ask yourself when you're building your

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fictional worlds communication systems are, what forms of

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communication exist in this world. And remember, there's

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nonverbal and verbal, so keep that open, you know, something

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to think about? How reliable are these forms of communication? Is

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there censorship? Or surveillance? Is there

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information that is off limits? Or top secret? Are there any

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unique forms of communication that exists only in your world?

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And how easy is it to access different forms of

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communication? How do and I should have said, how easy is it

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to access different forms of communication? How do different

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groups within your world use communication to achieve their

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goals? Are there any communication related conflicts

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or tensions between different groups in this world? Just think

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about the slang between different groups of people? And

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how sometimes that's a barrier to communication? I mean, they

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say English is a common language that divides to people when

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we're talking about British English and American English. So

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you can definitely make plot points and and cause conflict

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through this misunderstandings that are caused by language. How

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does communication impact the economy or the politics of the

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world? And how does communication impact the culture

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and social norms? So those are some general questions are so

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many more that we could come up with, but that's to get you

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started, after climate, and flora and fauna, as we discussed

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in Part Two called nature's realm, about your physical

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world, the next thing you're likely to think about is shelter

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for your characters. And that leads us to architecture and

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construction methods. Architecture depends on culture,

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know how in engineering, available materials and

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mechanical advantage, that is machinery and manpower to build

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shelters and other structures, like palaces and government

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buildings, places of worship, and public spaces. If you are

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building your own world, be sure to consider our world history to

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find ideas of amazing architecture we no longer use,

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like the cliff dwellings any of the Anasazi of the Four Corners

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area in the American Southwest, or Machu Picchu in the Andes

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Mountains, a true marvel of engineering. That thing had

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amazing water handling systems and drainage built in from the

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ground up. Look into the terraced gardens in Ethiopia,

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and the floating gardens of the Aztecs called chinampas. So

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there's all kinds of things you can go back and use for your

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fiction, especially if you're writing fantasy or science

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fiction. Okay, this is a special favorite me, please consider

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making your fantasy settings. Less Eurocentric. Can I say that

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there are other continents to choose from Western culture may

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be all you know, but Eastern culture is at least as rich, be

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open to some new ideas for your settings, and your world

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building. Also, if you let set your stories in series and

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space, you've got all kinds of consideration. That's pretty

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much why don't write hard science fiction. It's like too

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much engineering. So questions authors might ask when they're

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building a fictional worlds architecture and construction,

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and they're thinking about how things are built is what are the

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materials that are available for construction in your world? What

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is the technology level in your world? And how does that impact

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the construction methods? Do the people work with natural

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materials? Like metal stone, wood, sand, clay or plant fibers

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or animal pelts? Or do they create synthetic fabrics and

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materials? Do they farm on open plains, terraced gardens

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or in hydroponic greenhouses. So those are, you know, you lead

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into architecture there. What are the architectural styles and

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traditions in your world? Are there any unique construction

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methods that exist only in your world? Also, how does the

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environment impact construction? Because the chief reason for

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having buildings is shelter, right, and places to meet, but

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shelter comes first. So you have to think about the environment.

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Are there any cultural or social factors that impact traction in

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your world? Are there any construction related conflicts?

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Are tensions between different groups and how does it impact

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its culture and social norms? Also, do beliefs, especially

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spiritual ones, inspire societies to build certain kinds

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of architecture? And is land available for purchase? Or is it

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all owned by the government or the crown or the church? Those

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are things to ask yourself when you're thinking about

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architecture and construction.

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Writing pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee, who has been

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trusted by fiction authors since 2014, to take their writing to a

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new level of excellence. Guthrie's is a three story

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methods certified editor who specializes in story

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diagnostics, coaching, and line editing to help you prepare your

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story for the journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

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pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now, back to the

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podcast. Technology is the next consideration and impacts

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everything else, of course, so I could have done it. First, I

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character may be able to imagine an invention, like Michelangelo,

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imagining the helicopter. But if the world doesn't have a

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technology to execute the idea, then pardon the pun, they can't

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get off the ground. So questions authors need to consider when

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building a fictional worlds technological advancements is,

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do they have the will? Are they literate enough as a society to

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pass on knowledge? Through writing? in written form? How

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much math does the average citizen know? What sources of

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power do they have? Are they an analog society or a digital

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society? Are they something else that we haven't imagined yet?

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What state has their civilization reached in

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manufacturing? Do they build everything one at a time by

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hand? Or do they mass produce items in highly specialized

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industries? How do they farm build wage war? How does

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technology impact the economy and politics? Are there any

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unique technological advances that exists only in your world?

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How easy is it to access and use different technologies? And are

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there any cultural backward to this question? Are there any

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cultural or social factors that hold back technical,

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technological development? And how do different groups within

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this world use technology to achieve their goals? Are there

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any conflicts or tensions you can build from the differences

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between groups in your world related to technology? So we had

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an example of this when we started seeing industry in

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northern England. And we had a bunch of people that didn't want

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to have that industry there and that we call them the Luddites.

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So just think about that there are examples from our past,

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where people are resistant to progress, and sometimes progress

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has its own costs. Finally, there are many topics that I

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could fit inside the topic of wills of progress. The last

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topic I'm raising in this episode is medical knowledge. So

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your characters likely will be threatened by diseases and

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illnesses and injuries. So the state of medical knowledge, the

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expertise in care and availability of that care could

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provide lots of drama and tension to your plot. So

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questions authors need to act consider about the state of

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medical knowledge are like these, what is the general level

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of medical knowledge in your world? Is it kind of basic? Is

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it advanced, or somewhere in between? For the longest time,

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doctors on Earth ignored and were hostile to the idea of hand

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washing as a basic sanitary practice? And who knows how many

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people died as a result? So for ages the idea of germs was

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unknown. Even now, though, we know to wash our hands and brush

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our teeth, people sometimes don't. And that goes for a lot

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of other medical advice. So are there any cultural or societal

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taboos around medical practices or procedures? What common

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illnesses or diseases exist in your

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World? And what are their symptoms and treatments? What

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technologies and treatments are available in your world? And how

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accessible are they to different people and segments of society?

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Are there any medical professions, such as doctors or

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healers? And what training or education do they have? Are

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there any alternative or complementary medical practice

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like herbalism? Or acupuncture? How does the availability and

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quality of health care affect different communities within

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your world? Are there any major medical breakthroughs or

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discovery discoveries happening in your world? And how do they

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impact society and individuals? How does the understanding and

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treatment of mental health differ from the present day? And

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what kinds of mental health conditions exist in your world?

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And don't forget about magic and supernatural healing? If you're

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writing fantasy fiction, so you can see that medical knowledge

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is just a has a wealth of possibilities for creating

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tension and plot points, and and exploring themes. Today we have

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discussed the wheels of progress and how they shape your world

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building for fiction, including transportation, communication,

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construction and architecture, technology and medical

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knowledge, and how these considerations can lead to

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conflict and your stories, and plot points and themes. Of

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course, I could never think of everything. But this is a good

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starting place for building a believable and immersive

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fictional world to trance your readers. I would love to know

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your favorite books and movies, where these topics play a

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pivotal role. Share your favorites in the comments.

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That's all I have for today. Until next time, keep writing my

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friends. Keep writing. Thank you for listening to the podcast

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today. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a star

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rating and follow the podcast. If you're new around here. I

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hope you will sign up for writing pursuits tips for

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authors, my newsletter that comes out most Thursdays when

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health and life permit that link and all the links mentioned in

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today's episode are in the show notes and writing pursuits.com

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Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and keep writing my

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