1. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    Do you prefer basing your stories in the real world, or your own world?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by VirtuallyRealistic, Apr 23, 2015.

    Personally, I prefer the world's of my stories to be entirely fictional. I find trying to base it in the real world (In a city like London, New York, Paris, etc) limits my imagination, and causes me to spend more time researching that city than I do writing the story. When I create my own world, I can make the world wrap around the story. I can invent things as I go instead of having to stop and go look up real world places to base a specific scene in.

    How do you feel about this topic? Do you prefer real world locations, or fictional locations created by yourself?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My story takes place in a fictional world.
     
  3. Kingtype
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    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Hmmm

    Both

    Just depends, I don't really have a preference, at least atm.
     
  4. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    If you're willing to share, what genre does your book fall into? Is it taking place in a realistic setting, or more of a fantasy setting? I'm curious because I find when people are writing about realistic settings they tend to lean towards real-world places. It seems rare that I see realistic settings take place in fictional worlds, but I may just be reading the wrong things.
     
  5. neuropsychopharm
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    neuropsychopharm Active Member

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    I tend to write real world and demphasize or generalize setting, unless something about it is key to the story. Picked my last setting, for example, because of wanting a place that had public schools with selective entry and public transit reliable enough for a teenager to get around a lot on her own. Struck out New York because people like the stories set there to speak of the city a lot, it seems.
     
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  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My stories always take place in a fictional world. Either it's futuristic sci-fi (sometimes on imaginary planets) or it's in an alternative-history version of Earth. I love futuristic stories or distant-past stories - anything other than the here and now. I get enough of the here and now every time I turn on the TV news or open the front door. The here and now bores me. I want to write about - dream about - the exotic. :)
     
  7. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Both. The real world, but cities that are not real, so I can change the culture and layout as I like.
     
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  8. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I consider this a fictional world, but I may be wrong in that categorization. I wrote a YA novel a few years ago (unpublished, just had the idea so I wrote it) that took place in multiple fictional cities, but the cities were identical to real world cities. I just designed the layout, named the streets, etc. I found it to be an enjoyable exercise; designing an imaginary city.
     
  9. Lance Schukies
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    Lance Schukies Active Member

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    I like to write about real cities, part of the traveler in me. but my first book I have to change its name.
     
  10. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    Real world locations every time. My personal preference is real people in real world situations and locations. but to be fair I don't read 'fantasy' books and I'd go running for the hills at the suggestion :) I'm boring ...
     
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  11. Urban Profanity
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    Urban Profanity Member

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    Mine are always firmly grounded in the real world, but I often don't actually use place names, I just describe the settings. I use phrases like "this town", or "my town". I'm not sure why, it's just my method.
     
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  12. Slade Lucas
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    Slade Lucas Member

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    I love to create a world from my imagination and I think this might be my strength. I can invent the whole landscape, the features of the world, the creatures that linger in it... however, I also like to take the characters from such worlds and, on odd occasions, allow them to go to the real world just so that I can show their reactions. Real and imaginary can merge and be quite cool.
     
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  13. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    I wish I could do this, Slade. That is a real skill! My imagination centres round poetry.
     
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  14. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My most recent stories have taken place on present-day Earth, but in unnamed locations (that are pretty much made up). These stories don't have a grand setting or anything so they could be happening in real places.

    When it comes to deeper fantasy or sci-fi I tend to be more imaginative and create whole worlds. However, the books that I love the most all take place on present-day Earth, with imaginary elements, in real or imaginary places. :)
     
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  15. Fantasy100
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    Fantasy100 New Member

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    I'm just a beginner but i will always choose a fictional world. Because i can shape it by my own rules, invent the world from zero and i always liked reading fantasy books that takes place in a fictional world.
     
  16. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    If an author creates a fictional world from their own mind, wouldn't that be fantasy? The author is fantasizing a world that is not real to anyone one but himself/herself. To write of a location, only those in that particular location will know whether or not that location description is accurate or not.

    Mind you, being a believer in research for accuracy may be biasing my opinion.

    With that being said, how does one separate fiction from fantasy. Both overlap each other.
     
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  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I like a mix. Although I create towns for my novels they usually bare a striking resemblance to my childhood hometown. Especially the way it looked in the 80's - very small town vintage. But I will never call it by my hometown - too limiting and it would be hard to keep track of the changes. I could wax nostalgic about a store that in six months might be closing, or have my characters play in an empty lot that by the time the book is done is now a suburb. By keeping the town fictional I can keep all the things I like - the unchangeable memories and add to them things I need for the story.
     
  18. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I've always found, "fantasy," as a genre name odd. Literally everything that is written can be described as a fantasy, unless it's non-fiction.
     
  19. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I've done this, too. In the YA novel I mentioned in an earlier comment, the city has many similarities to my hometown. Mostly only certain street names, but I also based the layout of a subdivision on a subdivision in my town.
     
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  20. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not really answering the OP's question but personally I prefer stories based on real world places. If I am familiar with the location then I can relate to some parts of the story, if they are unknown to me I feel like I am getting some exposure to them. I also think that creating your own world can lead to a deus ex machina situation where you simply create a setting to solve a particular situation.
     
  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, the past is a foreign country, isn't it? My stories take place in 'real' settings, but in the past. I use real cities and as many real details as I need (which I meticulously research for the time period) but I set the day-to-day events in imaginary small towns, etc. That way I can 'create' a setting, but within frameworks that exist. And while you can fictionalise events in a large city like NY or Boston, you can't do that so easily in a 'real' small town. Invent a street, and people will know you're making it up. Use a real street, and somebody who used to live there will tell you that address couldn't have existed, or the people who lived there were named something else, or whatever. Better to give myself some creative leeway!

    Lots of people think doing research cramps their style, but in fact, it opens so many doors. If you don't research, the only stuff you've got is what's already in your head. If you do research, you'll learn a lot more, and you'll have much more to work with. If you run into a 'snag' that means you can't do what you wanted to do with a particular aspect of your story because it couldn't actually happen, then the part of you that needs to solve 'story problems' will kick into gear. All good. Makes you come up with a lot better story than you had at the start of the process, in my opinion anyway.
     
  22. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Actually I don't use street names too much. If I use a specific street it's more for use of the details - the road that humps over the stream that cuts through the town like a vein. It's curbless and tree lined with more squirrel traffic than car traffic. I could simply say Regent street but only the residents would get that image in their head. Plus if I need something to be on Regent street that isn't there I can add it without thinking about it.

    I agree but I think this is due more to the writer not understanding how important the setting is. I've seen romance writers treat setting the same way. Real places that suddenly become as phony as any Doug McClure movie set.

    Exactly! As much as I love my hometown my memory isn't the greatest and things changed so quickly. There would always be someone who could point out that some date is off.
     
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  23. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I give the details of the street alongside the street name so that if/when I return to that street I can just use the name, and hope my reader's proficiency is high enough to remember the street name. Otherwise I'd find myself repeating the same details in an attempt to show the reader where my character is.
     
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  24. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Setting serves plot. I have more freedom to tailor a made-up setting to the plot than to fit the plot into a real setting.
    By my definition, fantasy is a scale. Zero on this scale is nonfiction. A fictional town that resembles real towns, and follows the laws of reality, is low on the scale. An alien planet with life forms and cultures incomprehensible to us humans is high on the scale.
     
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  25. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I make my own world, but I try and stick to the reality I know just as much as I try and make it fantastical in nature. A concept which I can compare my stylistic structure, yet still doesn't feel exactly correct, but I can't think of a better word for it... Contemporary. I try as hard as I can to make it feel and sound as real as possible, no matter how crazy things get. I use the idea of creating my own world so that I can make things go crazier in new and interesting ways that make the reader consider things under new lights, perspectives, and with nuances that I hope get carried into others works in the future. Yeah for Fantasy Realism! Wait. lol wut?
     
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