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We are writing a fictious story and are using fictious characters but want to know if you can use actual towns, cities, places, etc. or do they have to be fictious as well. We welcome your answer. Thanks, LIL

Hello Lil,

You CAN use real towns and cities; but not actual companies and businesses. That would be liable.

You can use trademarks such as McDonald's when referring to a character getting a hamburger, as long as it's in a favorable light and not negative. You can use these trademarks integrating them into the character's daily life while NOT denoting any negatives toward that trademark.

Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz both use real towns and cities. King is New England- Maine, and Koontz is California.

Be sure to research your characters "names" within the town and cities you base him in-- you wouldn't want a real "Joe Blow" to live there.

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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

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