I’ve reached a point with this new story where I need to decide if the setting will be an actual (real) location or one I make up. For my Crow books (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, and Eat Crow and Die), I used an imaginary town (Zenith) which was based loosely on a real location, but I had P.J. Benson travel to real, nearby cities. The same was true for A Killer Past (there is no Rivershore in Michigan), but Echoes of Terror is set in a real location (Skagway, Alaska).
Now, do I use Venice, Florida as my setting for this new story, or do I come up with a fictitious name and location (that basically would be Venice or some place nearby)? If I use Venice, I need to visit the Venice Police Department and probably the Sarasota Sheriff’s Department, and I need to make sure all information I put in the story relating to the city, is accurate. It means a lot more research—which isn’t bad, it’s just time consuming.
The positive aspect of using a real location is I can include historical information and readers may relate to or learn from descriptions of the town and its surroundings. The negative is if I get anything wrong, someone will be sure to point that out, and there’s always the danger of getting so involved with relating the history or describing a location, I forget the story and lose the pacing.
Even if I create a fictitious town, I could get so involved with creating the setting (in my attempt to make it sound real) that I neglect the pacing and tell too much.
Ah, the decisions a writer must make.