Fictional towns

     I have strolled the streets of many fictional towns, including Agatha Christie’s St. Mary Mead; Jan Karon’s Mitford, NC; Lillian Jackson Braun’s town of Pickaxe in Moose County, MI; Adenville UT in John Dennis Fitzgerald’s Great Brain children’s series; Carol Bova’s Chestnut Springs, and many more. Most of them are based on actual places, but names have been changed to protect… the author.

Some of these towns have a map and some don’t. I don’t find the maps particularly helpful, but that’s also true in life. My fictional town, Hull Crossing VA, is still unmapped. It looks a lot like Kilmarnock, but I moved it to the other side of the Rappahannock River. My characters needed to be closer to Tappahannock and Richmond, so I put the town in an empty spot near Dragon Run swamp.

     Not every writer sets multiple books in a single fictional town. My friend Pamela Crouch invents a different town for each of her thrillers. She also designs imaginary houses for her characters, who she describes as “my imaginary friends.”

     I have gotten too attached to Hull Crossing to attempt any other fictional towns, so when my characters go on vacation, they have to go to an actual place, which requires more research.

     How do you handle setting in your writing? Do you have a favorite fictional town? Please share in the comments below.

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