Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Real and the Imagined

With all works of fiction the people are not real and any resemblance to real people living or dead is purely coincidental. But what about places and businesses. Some of the locations in my soon to be released new novel Tracking a Shadow are real, like Boone's which is a sports bar near Denver University. I've been there before, eaten their food and drank their drinks. I even went there years ago when it was called Fagan's. A friend owned it at that time and we often stopped by after our softball games for chicken wings and refreshments. Is there a standard rule of thumb of when to use real places and when to use fictional ones?

In my stories I try to use real locations as much as possible from the Denver metro area. Streets, neighborhoods, houses and businesses. It's where I live and adds a genuine flair to the narrative. I use made up locations when it houses the bad guys, or when Jarvis has negative connotations to blab on about, or if horrible events happen like murder. I keep it as real as possible, but then the imagined fills out the story. In the next novel I'm working on there is "The Hustle" in Greeley Colorado, a gentleman's club, and "Eddie's Bar" that is a run down watering hole in South Denver. Neither are real, as both are run by criminal elements needed for the plot. Using real businesses in those settings wouldn't work. An established business would take offense if I stated a shady loan shark owned it and used it for his illegal doings.

So for the writers out there when do you use the Real and when do you use the Imagined?