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Writers, Use Real Place Names or Not? Need Opinions!

  • July 14, 2019
  • Blog

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I live in New York City. Many of the street names are well-known, and placing a character walking along Madison Avenue won’t create sudden visitors in real life tracking the route the characters have taken.

But my next novel is taking place in an area where the towns are miles apart and the population is small. I’m currently writing it with the real names of towns and streets and stores so that I know where everyone is. But in the end, should I fictionalize that part?

What do you do, and why? (And if you’re not a writer, I’d like your opinion too.)


  • Carrie • July 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I usually take a hybrid approach depending on what I consider to be privacy issues–some real place names, some not, and no real business (or similar establishment) names unless it’s a chain that could be almost anywhere.

  • J. M. Levinton • July 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    That makes a lot of sense, thanks!

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