In my research this weekend, however, I ran up against an interesting dilemma - marrying the real world with a fictional world. Obviously New York exists, and pretty much every square inch of the city (at least Manhattan) is claimed, so inserting fictional locations into what is arguably the most well-known city in the world is tricky. Do you invent an address? Take over an existing building and make it your own? Modify the purpose of said existing building?
I've run into this dilemma before with historical writing as well. As soon as you decide to write about a fictional character interacting with real people, you've got historical timeline to juggle. Do you make up a title for someone? Or choose a less well-known title and attach a made-up person to the title?
For me, it made the most sense to do a little bit of both. If I could get away with making up a location (like a warehouse or a coffee shop), I did. Where I couldn't (like dropping an entirely new building into a famous stretch of road), I used Google Street View to find the perfect building to "steal." And let me tell you, gentle readers, Google Maps and Google Street View were my best friends this weekend. I don't know how people wrote about places they'd never been before the internet. Or maybe they just didn't.
So my question goes out to all of you fiction writers today: How do you insert your characters and locations into the real world? Do you hijack existing locations for your own purposes? Or do you prefer to create new locations that don't exist on a map?