1. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Actual town name?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by DueNorth, Aug 29, 2015.

    The primary setting of my novel is a fictional town in northern Minnesota. However, the character travels to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul (population about 3 million), and then there is some action in the opposite direction to North Dakota to Fargo, which is also a relatively large town (100,000), but then I have some things taking place in an even smaller place (population about 3000). I am thinking about just making up a town rather than using the name of an actual town because I am making up a restaurant, grocery store where a character works, etc. How important is it to have actual towns vs fictional towns--guess I'm struggling with the mix of fictional towns vs actual towns I now have in this novel. Pretty much the parameter I have is that I have used real cities, but when it comes to small towns or venues like restaurants/bars in the cities, I am making them up. What have others done?

    BTW, I am just finishing reading a novel by a Minnesota author ("The Life We Bury," Allen Eskens, published 2014) which takes place largely in Minneapolis/St.Paul, but also in several small towns around Minnesota and he uses all real town names, but seems to make up names of all the bars and restaurants, etc.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    All kinds of novels are set in real cities, and the authors often make up restaurants etc. It's no big deal.
     
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  3. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Mmmmm? Think my question wasn't clear. I'm more wondering about using the name of a real town as it gets smaller, like down to 3000 people? I am comfortable using the name of a city with a large population, even as small as Fargo. But it seems like in using the real name of a small town, then making up the name of residents, businesses there even things that happen there might get a bit dicey even if it is clear that it is a work of fiction. What if one of the names I choose for a character or a business is a little bit "too close" for comfort?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Use Bangor, Maine. It's never been used before.

    Seriously do what works for you, there is no right answer to this.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, it's fine. I'm using a town of around 20,000 in one of my stories.
     
  6. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Feel odd to be quoting myself here, but I'm thinking (based on the responses) that my original question was rather unclear. I am asking about using a fictitious name vs, a real name for a small town (population about 3000) not about a big city. I have, btw, already decided that the primary setting will be a fictitious town (population about 25,000). These settings I am considering (asking opinions about) are secondary settings, but some important action occurs in these small towns and some bad actors live in these small towns. Should I use real town names or make them up? Thanks for your patience with me on this one--didn't mean for it to be so complicated.
     
  7. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm from Fargo...as much as I hate to admit it. Still after the movie of the same name came out and completely portrayed Fargo in the wrong way, The damn movie wasn't even filmed here. Point is, if you are going to use the real names of towns/cities, please use them in an accurate light. Unless its an obvious reason not to IE: futuristic setting, war, apocalyptic setting ect...

    On a side note, I just read in Stephen Kings book "Doctor Sleep" he mentions Fargo as well... even if it was in reference to a nothing of a town.
     

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