Choosing a fictional place name can be done by borrowing from real places, adding unique characteristics.

While many books are based in real-life locations, others are based in fictional towns or cities.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a fictional town, and it really depends on what you want. If there is enough detail, readers will be transported to wherever you want them to be.

Fictional towns will offer you a blank canvas. In a real town, you are limited by existing landmarks, buildings, and locales. By creating a fictional town, you have complete control over everything from the cityscape to the people who live there.

Create a town or city that perfectly suits the story you’re trying to tell, which means you don’t have to worry about offending anyone with your portrayal of their hometown. When your story is set in a made-up town, it’s important that this setting feels like a real place with its own history, traditions, and quirks. Otherwise, your readers will be pulled out of the story and won’t be able to fully immerse themselves in your fictional world.

Tips for creating fictional towns

1. Choose a name that fits your story

Get creative and play around with various combinations until you find something you like. If you don’t know where to start, there are several fictional town name generators available online that you can use. Google is your best friend here.

A good rule of thumb is to use names that are sensible and easy to pronounce. You want your readers to be able to easily remember the name of the town without having to struggle over it every time they come across it in the story.

2. Base your town on a real place

Basing a fictional town on a real place can help you create a more believable setting for your story. It also eliminates the need to start from scratch. You can take certain aspects of a real place and alter them to suit you and your story. By taking this route, you also give readers a sense of familiarity.

Pay attention to details: the way the houses are built, the types of businesses, and how the people interact with each other.

3. Incorporate real-life issues

Your fictional town should also deal with real-life issues that your readers can relate to. Whether it’s crime, poverty, addiction, or something else entirely, make sure that your town feels like a real place with real problems. This will help your readers see it as more than just a backdrop for your story; it will help them see it as a living, breathing place filled with people who are just like them.

4. Use the weather to your advantage

The weather can play an essential role in your story, especially if your characters spend a lot of time outdoors. Being familiar with the weather and how it relates to the story can really help you set the scene. A summer storm can be the perfect setting for a murder. The weather can also be an important tool for characterization because it can affect how your character feels and acts.

5. Get to know the people

Fictional towns are made up of people from all different backgrounds. Create characters that live in the town and give them jobs, hobbies, and families. Focus on the sheriff and town lawyer, or you can have a few minor characters that appear for a short time. Having memorable characters is key to making the story more believable. Readers want to know what the people are like and if they can relate to them. What do they do for a living? Are they affluent, or do they struggle to make ends meet? How does this impact the story? For example, if the people of a town live in poverty, this could impact how they deal with a crime or an accident.

6. Give the town a unique quality or trait

Set it apart from other towns. It may be the unique way the houses are built or how the people speak. Adding interesting events to the town, such as a parade or an annual festival, can also make it come alive.

7 Create a map of your town

Now that you have a name and some information about the town, you can start thinking about the layout. It’s a good idea to make a map of your town so you can keep track of places as you develop your story. Maybe there’s an old haunted house or a house that has a black widow living in it. How about a well on the edge of town that locals think has skeletons at the bottom? Landmarks are a great way to help readers visualize the fictional town and give them something familiar to hold onto.

Include the most important elements of a town, like a post office, a school, a church, a grocery store, etc. You can make your map as simple or as detailed as you like, depending on the level of detail you feel is necessary for your story. Keep track of the town’s history, inhabitants, and details about the various locations.

8. Write detailed descriptions

When you’re describing your fictional town, it’s important to be as detailed as possible. This means painting a picture with words so that your readers can visualize the setting. Include all five senses in your descriptions so that your readers can smell, taste, feel, see, and hear the town come to life on the page.

With the above tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating believable fictional towns for your novel. Remember to do your research, create realistic characters, write detailed descriptions, and use sensible names when naming your town. With a little effort, you’ll be able to transport your readers into a whole other world that feels just as real as their own!

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.” 

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