I’ve been debating whether to use a real city or whether to make one up for what feels like years. Since I can be really wishy-washy, I thought I might back and forth over which was best indefinitely. Then, I thought about recent years in that city and decided: I’m going to make one up.
See, if I use the real city, I’d have to include some aspects of real life in that city. Right now, that means…
- Political changes, and
To make the story realistic at all, I’d need to mention those things. At least in passing.
I mean, think about it. When was the last time you went anywhere or hung out with anyone without some aspect of these topics coming up? Even pre-covid, you couldn’t talk to anyone without something about presidential elections or political tension being involved. So I don’t feel like I could set the story in a real city without at least mentioning some of those things.
And I don’t want to.
I read romance novels to escape. And those topics are exactly the kinds of things I’m trying to escape. Topics that are stressful and that make me feel helpless. Things I can’t fix.
Honestly, if I started reading a romance novel, and it mentioned any of those things, I’d probably close it and read something else.
I know, I’m writing about a magical version of our world. So, yeah, I could change the history of the city and still use a real city. But that feels weird to me – it loses the advantages of using a real city in the first place.
So I’m going to use a made-up city (preferably one worth escaping to).