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Using names of real places in fiction

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Hi everyone

Is there a rule about using the real names of places, e.g.: schools and streets etc. in a work of fiction???

Ann Marie Meyers
www.annmarie-meyers.com
#1 - February 21, 2014, 12:49 PM

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Short answer: no. :)

(Longer answer: just be sure that you don't turn a real ballet studio around the corner from you into evil murderers--they might see it more as libel and less as fiction. Avoid defamation of character, that sort of thing. :) )
#2 - February 21, 2014, 02:04 PM

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Thanks Olmue

The story is set on a small island so no matter what name I give the place it will be known
Hmm - now I have something to think about and how I'll handle it

Ann Marie
www.annmarie-meyers.com
#3 - February 22, 2014, 09:13 PM

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There is no rule, but I would change the names and some of the details, even the island's name.
#4 - February 23, 2014, 11:41 AM
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As an editor, want to know more. You said, "The story is set on a small island so no matter what name I give the place it will be known." How is that? It must be a very distinctive place in one way or another, and aspects of that distinctiveness must feature in the story.

But in general, unless it's a VERY small island--with only one family living on it, for example--I think you could go either way. I could imagine stories set on Martha's Vinyard, for example, that used the name, or changed it....
#5 - February 23, 2014, 03:43 PM
Harold Underdown

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I used Spokane WA as the setting of my recent middle grade. My editor suggested I use real street names and real places like Manito Park where an important scene took place.  But I used a fictional hospital and animal shelter. So it seems to be okay to mix and match somewhat. Of course, Spokane is a pretty big city. In your situation you may have an easier time giving the island a fictional name which would allow you more freedom.  :flower
#6 - February 23, 2014, 04:17 PM
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I used a real city as my setting and included several specific locations within that city, but I changed all of the names and moved the whole thing to a different part of the state so that it's nowhere near the actual place it's based on.  This way I can use real places as the settings but I can still fictionalize locations and change things.  (Minor things like taking out a Quaker Oats plant and replacing it with a university, that sort of thing.)  Anyone from this area will recognize the setting, yes, but it's still a fictional setting.
#7 - February 24, 2014, 08:07 AM

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Thanks for your responses everyone!
I've been MIA here for a while but I will take note of your suggestions
 
Much appreciated
Ann Marie
www.annmarie-meyers.com
#8 - September 03, 2014, 10:59 AM

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Usually there is not a problem using real names of states, cities, parks, streets, etc., as long as you think it through in terms of any problems. I would not use the real name of a school, for example, or a church, or someplace that would be easy to identify and could cause some embarrassment, or harassment, etc.  In historical fiction, there has to be some real places, but local places can be vague.
#9 - September 04, 2014, 08:39 AM
Wendy C. Kasten

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