Yesterday I was kind of amazed at how many of you have set stories in real places, and even built stories around settings. I'm impressed.
Okay, so I'm going to be very honest here. Setting a story in a real place scares me. I mean, what if I get it wrong? What if people from the place I've written about catch all of my mistakes and tell me my description sucks? What if I can't bend my story to fit around a place that's real? These are probably irrational fears (or maybe not), but they are real fears for me at least.
The setting for Underground came entirely from my imagination. It's set in a small, fictional town in the U.S. with cookie cutter neighborhoods, an abandoned steel mill, and a very small police force. I tried briefly to find an actual city that would meet the needs of the story, but I couldn't find anything that would work just right (and I was afraid of all the things I listed above).
Do any of you non-fantasy/sci-fi writers make up settings? And do those of you who write about real places let the setting dictate what can and can't be done in your story? I am so curious.