Fictional Versus Real Settings in Novels

Ocelot Press author Vanessa Couchman tells us how she approaches the issue of whether to use real or fictional placenames in her novels.

Vanessa Couchman

Saint-Florent, Corsica Saint-Florent on the island of Corsica appears in my books under a different name.

A sense of place in fiction is very important to me, both in my own work and in the novels I read. Some of my favourite authors, such as Hannah Kent, Helen Dunmore and Tracy Chevalier, excel at weaving the setting seamlessly into the story. Novels are about people, of course, but they are the product of their environment and culture, so the setting is an indispensable part of the story.

But should you write about real places or make them up? There is no right answer and pros and cons exist to both of those alternatives.

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