You are here:

Writing Books/Setting -- Using a real place


I've been writing on again and off again for years.  I keep coming back to stories that take place where I grew up.  Its a really small town.  The novel has nothing to do with the people there, but I love the setting and the history.  I'd like to incorporate the setting in a novel of suspense with a little history thrown in.  Every time I start to write the book I get bogged down worrying about setting this in a place I know so well.  This also a place I am passionate about.  I just love the history and I'm proud of being from there.  

The streets that I will be using in the book do exist.  The background history of the town will be as accurate as I can make it.   The houses that I mention are fictional, the businesses with be fictional, as will the people.  The only thing I will be doing is using the location.  

I guess my question is:  Is it okay to set a fictional story in a place that really exists that not a large, anonymous city?

A lot of authors write the location that they are from. This is okay. but IF you by accident pick a fictional name for a person, and that person really exists, he can sue for liable.

It is more practical and more safe to create a fictional town in that location, using the real history from the real town. That way, you don't risk a real name existing.

Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

Past/Present Clients
I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]