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Writing Books/Using real Pubs/Shops


I am nearly finished my first novel but have just have a
thought. All the way through I have placed scenes in real
locations, such as real pubs, real shops etc. Is this
allowed? I don't paint any of them in a bad light, and my
representation is accurate, but am I allowed to name them,
or should I make them more generic? I have read in some
fiction (for e.g. McDonald's often pops ups) where real
places are used but I am not sure if the authors got
permission. Thank You

Hello Craig:

You have asked an intriguing question. I think you may use any big chain name, such as McDonald's, but for the smal shops and pubs, I would choose another name. Much depends on where your story is set. If the story is set in the same location as these pubs and shops, I would think you could use them - they'd probably be glad of the publicity! But if your story is set elsewhere, of course you wouldn't use local names.

Be absolutely sure you are not defaming them in any way. The reader is less interested in the setting than what happens, so the less said about them the better.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1350+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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