Tags:
  1. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    19

    A simple one

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Philliggi, Sep 17, 2018.

    Simple question that most of the experienced writers will probably answer in a heartbeat.

    Real place names. What exactly is ok to use, and what should be adjusted with a fictitious name?

    So my story is based in a real town in England. It has real businesses mentioned, real parks, real street names etc. Which are ok to use and which should I edit in my second draft?

    Town names?
    Supermarkets?
    Shopping centres?
    Parks?
    Suburbs?

    There are probably more but that's just off The top of my head. I ask the question A. Because I don't want to break any legislation prohibiting me using it, and B. I don't want to effect the fluidity of the story
     
  2. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2017
    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    711
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Whether real is okay to use depends on what you say about it. If the action you write is what normally happens in those places, then place names are not only all right, but good publicity for those places. If there is something sinister going on in your story, then people who live there/work there/own property there might feel that you're tarnishing their reputation.
    Fine, as long as your geography and demographics are accurate, should be okay.
    If all your characters do there is shop, meet or kill one another, no problem. But don't say a particular business is a money-laundering operation or drug depot.
    Also fine, as long as everything you say happens is the kind of thing that normally happens there.

    I have a client with this issue right now. The story takes place in the future and the setting is California. So, as I edit each chapter, I keep a google map of the district open to check whether there is bridge, or orchard or college or highway junction where he says. It's great for the novel to have local colour and verisimilitude in the physical detail, but it means you have to pay close attention to accuracy.
    Somebody who lives in California might actually read it one day!
     
  3. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    19
    You see that's where it gets cloudy. It's a post apocalyptic world, so although it is set in the real world, nothing that happens in it is what you would expect. It's a world surrounded by death and survival. Although nothing is ever said to the detriment of the businesses, I have filled the shop with dead bodies
     
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    4,626
    Likes Received:
    4,238
    Real names of places are completely fair game in fiction. Novels and books use them all the time. I've sold fiction with the real names of things and none of the editors I've worked with have ever said it's a problem or there are any restrictions. It's completely fine. I don't care what anyone else says about it because I am 100 percent confident that I know how this works in publishing. And you can just look at novels and movies that do this all the time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  5. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    418
    Don't offend anybody who can sue you :D
     
  6. lonelystar

    lonelystar Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    59
    I have no publishing experience only reader knowledge.

    Town/city names are ok but business names can be a bit more risky (as far as I can tell it's usually business names that are made up) as it's them who can sue you. And some will.

    My advice is change business names or if you really want to be safe just say the park near the river, the pharmacy, the supermarket, convenience store. Basically generic terms that we all understand without naming names.

    If it's set in modern times in a real place whatever you do make sure you do your research. It really really annoys me when I read something that I know is factually wrong. Especially when it's something that takes seconds on Google to find out.
    Recently the book I was reading told me a ferry went from place A to place B. Unfortunately actually the ferry goes from place A to place C. There has never been a ferry between A and B. Not only was I able to verify this in about a minute on the internet, but I knew it was wrong as I have been on this particular ferry several times.
     
  7. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    3,964
    I write contemporary Romance and use real place names all the time - cities/towns, restaurants, retail stores, recording studios, hotels, etc. Unless what you're writing could be considered defamatory I can't imagine why anyone would take the time, effort or money to attempt litigation.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice