Fiction writers (and readers) know fiction takes place in a made-up world and that world may or may not reflect the real one. Add that some fiction takes place in standalone work and some becomes part of a series. This makes the decision on whether to use real places or not even more complicated.
Here are some tips to help you decide when to use real places in your fiction.
- Consider legal implications. I am not a lawyer, so am not offering any legal advice or insights–only common sense. You wouldn’t want anyone saying something negative or libelous about your establishment or business, so don’t do that to anyone else.
- Think about how involved your character is with the establishment. If the character owns it, you might want to avoid using a real-life business since the character is so connected to it.
- Decide how important it is that your reader connect with the establishment. Readers recognize real-life business names and connect with them, but does the world in your fiction have to mirror the reader’s or simply be one he or she can envision?
- Determine location consistency. If you’re writing a series, this becomes very important. No one would appreciate Sherlock Holmes’ address changing from 221B Baker Street. Neither will your series reader appreciate your establishment moving from location to location between books.
- Be aware real establishments move or go out of business. Establishments can move or go out of business over time and books are in print a long time. Creating a fictional establishment keeps you in control of where things happen in your book or story.
Since you’re creating the world around your fiction story, you get to decide when to use real places and names. I hope these tips help you. Happy writing!