I'm writing a book that takes place in the Tequila Age. That's because you need to drink a lot of Tequila to keep all the details straight. Other people write books in the Regency period or the Victorian era--times when there are actual written documents they can check and paintings they can look at.
Me? I've got nothin'. Fortunately, mine is a fantasy in the truest sense of the word. The Tuatha dé Danann are either old pre-Irish gods or they're the forerunners of the Fae. Or...they could be pretty much whatever you can convince someone else they are.
My difficulty was settling on a technology level for the story--and not only this story but three more in the set. Do they use iron? Or bronze? If they use bronze, where do they obtain the copper and other metals to serve as alloys? If it's an iron technology how difficult is it to obtain iron ore? What if I want to use a bit of both?
Here is my conclusion: In order for a village/clan to be self sustaining, there must be enough clan members to support craftsmen and/or craftswomen. This means the village/clan must have an area to garden on a grand scale and also a grazing area to raise domesticated animals for substantial food resources. Substantial resources will free up clan members to learn and practice what we would call a trade. Metal workers, potters, textiles, woodcraft, building, the list is endless.
Ultimately, my decision, my choice of clan or village size will rest on the technology level I settle on. And the number of inhabitants will depend on the total area they can devote to food production. Number of people the clan can feed=the number of craftsmen the clan can support=the technology level they can sustain.
This is an important concept. Two thirds of the current world population is living somewhere in the Tequila Age because they cannot feed enough people to move to the next stage. If we who are living in the computer/industrial age do not find a way, many of us will backslide to the Tequila Age. Heck. Many of us will regress all the way back to the stone age.
The stone age is not a funny Flintstone cartoon life. It's subsistence living as the most minimal level. In our cushy lives we have a hard time imagining what life at that level can be like. No sanitation arrangements. No water. No food unless you hunt it down and kill it. No shelter. No clothing.
As we've seen, revolution and catastrophic natural disasters are all around us. It doesn't take much to move from a position of comfort to a life where all is lost. We live in a fragile world where survival is not guaranteed.
My characters in the space of ten minutes went from the industrial/computer age to the Tequila Age. Now I must show the reader the reality of their lives and how they change and adjust or adapt to that level of technology.
To that end, at each step I consider: What would I do? How would I solve this problem? How can I use the resources I have?
Welcome to the Tequila Age.