Writing About Real Places in Fiction


  1. Julie Luek
    Julie Luek November 6, 2013 at 8:15 am .

    I love our area and the rich setting and character opportunity it can provide. Mountain towns can be unique fodder! (Living in Gunnison, I’m quite sure the “Buttians” didn’t mind at all. They take pride in their eclectic setting!)

  2. Patricia Stoltey
    Patricia Stoltey November 6, 2013 at 8:31 am .

    Thanks for being our guest today, Cindi. I like to use real places as my settings, too. In my first, I renamed my Illinois home town. My friends and relatives recognized it anyway. In my second, I used real places because they’re touristy locations and no one would mind the publicity. I did not use real names for the hotel and gold mine where bodies were found because few businesses want that kind of attention. I like reading novels where settings are important to the story and almost become one of the characters.

  3. Tracy Brisendine
    Tracy Brisendine November 6, 2013 at 9:41 am .

    Great post, Cindi ;) You’ve given me some great ideas to work with in the future. Thanks!

  4. Dean K Miller
    Dean K Miller November 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm .

    I wrestled with this question (real town, real place vs. real place made-up-town) for a while in my WIP. Decided to use places but fictionalized names and some businesses, local college, etc. But used a historical event/happening that is real to kick off the story. Sometimes I think locals will still try to decipher who-is-who, etc., but I didn’t want it to be historical fiction and miss certain details.

  5. JP McKinney
    JP McKinney November 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm .

    Thanks. Waumeka, Wisconsin is the fictional setting in my novel, “Charlie’s Angle.” Somewhere I thought I had read that it’s dangerous to use real places (I think it was Stephen King who said that – not sure). Anyhow, Waumeka is a combination of several towns I know well in WI. I have a map of Chippewa Falls on my bulletin board and used the general street layout of the town but changed street names, etc. I hardly know Chippewa Falls, so it really isn’t there, except for the general layout. It seems to have worked. Several readers in Wisconsin have identified with various aspects of Waumeka. Thanks for the post. Wish I had read it a few years ago. :)

  6. Julie Kazimer
    Julie Kazimer November 7, 2013 at 12:39 am .

    Great post, Cindi. I love using a real town, but fictionalizing it. It helps me stay grounded. I also like researching places I’ve never been.

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