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Geography: Reality vs Fantasy

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Sat May 21, 2011 4:24 pm
Talulahbelle says...

Hey there guys. In your opinion is it better to create your own story location or to use real places?

Want more specifics? Okay, I'm writing a story where fantasy kind of blends in with reality. (Fantasy characters interacting with normal everyday humans - secret style.) Now, this ragtag group of people are going to travel across america for details not relevant to the topic at hand. Would it be better for me to research real places or to create my own? Or maybe take America out of the equation completely... though that would be hard.

Anyhoo, what do you think?
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Sun May 22, 2011 8:52 pm
Apple says...

Definitely research America before you do anything. Making up places will not work unless it's a small little country village, otherwise if your characters are going to encounter cities then definitely research. Have you read the Percy Jackson series written by Rick Riordan (my favourite author as of late)?

What he would do with some of the places he wrote about was actually visit them. Now if you don't have a lot of money or you simply don't live in America then you don't have to see it first hand, but if you're in the area I think you should. It'll help you get a better insight. Other then that, research is your best friend. Right now I'm researching Wales with a fine tooth comb because that's where my story takes place. I've also been bugging my parents to visit there for holidays one day, you should do the same. :wink:

But to answer your question: keep America in the story, only research it so you get an understanding of its culture and habits.
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Mon May 23, 2011 8:13 pm
Dynamo says...

This is kind of like what I did for the story I'm writing right now. I'm making a medieval swords and magic type story that'll take place in the supercontinent of Pangaea around the early to mid-Jurassic era, a sort of "what if humans lived with the dinosaurs?" type situation. The first thing I did was go over to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and look at all the dinosaur skeletons, at least the ones that would have lived in the timeframe of my story, and take notes on them. Then I would take those notes home, go on wikipedia, and start researching each and every creature to get a good idea of their appearance, diet, and habbitat. Then I would think up some names that the locals would call them, because they obviously wouldn't have come up with the same names that we did, and figure out a use humans would have for them. Like the Allosaurus would be their versions of horses, and the Camptosaurus would be their versions of cattle, except without the milk. Then when it was all done and said, I started making up my own creatures to live in this world, like dragons and sand worms. It's a fantasy story, it wouldn't be very interesting if I made everything 100% historically acurrate. :D

My suggestion, research America as much as you need in order to have a solid framework for your story, then when that's done start thinking of things you can incorperate that would make the story interesting. As long as you make it fit into the world in a way that makes it believable you can do just about anything you want. Continuity is the key.
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Wed May 25, 2011 4:17 am
JabberHut says...

It's up to you! Definitely research if you're not certain. Your characters might benefit from visiting American landmarks during their travels, so just think of some off the top of your head, research their cities, and just start discovering places! When it comes to traveling around a real country, you may be better off sticking with real cities or at least a few.

There are stories that take place in fake cities such as the TV show Dukes of Hazzard, which takes place in Hazzard, Georgia (small town which doesn't exist) yet they visit real cities (i.e. Atlanta, Georgia).

If you want to make fake cities/places, that's fine. Throwing in a couple well-known cities would be fabulous though. It'll remind the reader that it really does take place in America and you're not just borrowing the country name. A mixture of fake and real would be fine for a roadtrip-type story, probably. Just remember that if you plan to use real places, you have to research those places to make the story believable. The readers who live in that real city will hate you for wrong details. ;) If you make your own places, then you have to take time to plan out what kind of places they are (even find model real places to help out).

There's work involved either way, and it's up to you in the end!
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Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:10 am
Samp says...

Personally, I love creating my own places, since I'm a huge fan of fantasy cartography. :D
About stories that blend in with reality, my opinion would be to refer to real-life places, but I'm guessing it won't hurt if you visualize the places as you like with what Apple mentioned above, 'an understanding of its culture and habits.'
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Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:23 pm
Name2533 says...

It is great to be putting reality and fantasy but jus make sure u do the research for the reality
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