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  1. #1
    A J
    Guest

    Question about Names etc

    Is it ok to set a novel in a real city/state, but then make up road names, schools and neighborhoods in that city?

    For example, is it ok to use Chicago, Illinois, but then use fictional road names such as Fake Avenue.

    It may be a stupid question, but i am here to make all of you seem that much smarter.

    =)

  2. #2
    Rachael Elg
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    It's fine.

    "There are no stupid questions, just stupid times to ask them" Someone I don't remember

  3. #3
    Misti Wolanski
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    You probably can do it, but consider what would happen to your readers who know Chicago. They would be considerably put-off by your obvious carelessness about getting your setting right.

    You should do the research to get the details right. How would you feel if someone set a story in your hometown and couldn't even name a local supermarket? (Assuming the supermarket was used in the story.)

    -Misti

  4. #4
    A J
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    Its not about research, since i lived in the town for 15 years, but its about not using real names for the purpose of not offending anyone or shedding a bad light on someplace.

  5. #5
    Amy K
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    Its not about research, since i lived in the town for 15 years, but its about not using real names for the purpose of not offending anyone or shedding a bad light on someplace.

    AJ, if this is the case, could you not address it in a short forward to your novel?

    I may be wrong but I think that if it is a problem with a pulisher you can easily change the names in a rewrite.

    Happy Writing,
    Amy

  6. #6
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    Actually, a lot of writers do what you are proposing. Lawrence Block sets all of his books in a fictional neighborhood in New York City. The major cross streets exist; the ambiance is very real; but the neighborhood (with its addresses and side streets) is a creation of his imagination. If you get the important details of setting right (climate, landmarks, the people, lifestyle, etc.), I doubt that your readers would object.

    This approach frees the writer to create a very real world that is not locked in by facts of time and place. If you do this well enough, you may even have readers who go searching for your neighborhood on the map!

    Jeanne

  7. #7
    A J
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    I was wondering if i could make up the neighborhoods. For example, i'm setting it in a realistic private school that i attended, but am changing the same since i dont want that private school to get angry. I am also creating a fictional neighborhood based off of my old one.
    Thanks, Jeanne, i just needed a reassurance.

  8. #8
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    Try to keep the big details dead-on accurate. As you get more & more obscure, you can have some fun. Then again, you could also get yourself a map from any number of sources, & mess with the heads of locals.

    I was setting a story in St. Paul (Minnesota). For some reason, I wanted to put some of the action in a house on Easy Street -- I just liked the name of it. I had to do some digging, but I finally found an Easy Street waaaaay off in a dim corner of the city. I later found out that the only house there was condemned years ago, but the street's a dead end off a dead end off a dead end -- how's that for added irony in the name, eh? -- & it'd simply never been torn down.

    And local readers were enchanted by this. I get kudos for verisimilitude just because I wanted an alliterative name. Do the same, earn the same!

  9. #9
    Prince Louis Richard de la Pau
    Guest

    Re: Question about Names etc

    If I were you, I'd just change the name of the school - or not even mention the actual name of the school - and set it on a road where you know there isn't one. Try Washtenaw - I lived on the corner of it and discovered it goes the n/s length of the city.
    I had the same dilemma as you. My book also deals with a private school, but out in the countryside, so I just named the nearest big town, and didn't actually call the school by any particular name except The Boys' School. It works.

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