When we got one of our older computers (longer ago than I care to remember!), it came with a fun program called "Sim Town." Using this game program, I could build little towns with schools, fire stations, police departments, roads, houses, shops, parks, and all kinds of neat things. I miss having it to play with.
However, as writers, we can invent as many towns and cities as we like. For my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) book of 2007, I revisited a small town I'd invented for a script back a while and never forgotten. Set in the southeast corner of Arizona, not too far from Benson, Tombstone, etc., it's in an area where we have spent a lot of time, so I was already familiar with the topography, climate, flora & fauna.
So, if you write, what do you do when you're inventing a town? Do you write about something that could fit into the area where you live, or into a place where you've taken lots of vacations? Do you put it someplace impossibly romantic, like Ruritania or Lissenberg, fictional European countries?
Over the next few blog posts, I'm going to recount a little of what I've been doing to help me create continuity, so that when I write more than one book set in the area (I'm already writing another one), I won't make any serious mistakes, like giving the heroine's best friend black hair when she's a blonde, putting the diner across the street from the gas station when it's closer to the hardware store and marshal's office, or forgetting which direction from the main part of town you have to go to reach the school and the airstrip. Hope you enjoy!