Dear Rachelle, I have a question about fiction. I would like to use the name of a real university in my story, to make the story feel more realistic. There is nothing negative about the university in my story, and all of the characters are fiction. So, should I contact a representative at the university before engaging with a publisher? Thanks in advance.
Congratulations on finding a most ingenious way to avoid writing your book! Here’s my advice:
1. Use the university’s real name. Don’t waste time contacting them.
2. Stop worrying about side issues and simply write your book. The name of the university is an unimportant consideration, and like most writers, you’re allowing yourself to get distracted by anything and everything besides the actual writing. Stop it! Get back to work!
The name you use is irrelevant and will have no bearing on whether your book is good, whether you’ll get an agent, or whether you’ll get a publishing deal. When you’ve accomplished all those things, your editor will be able to answer any questions about the names of your characters and places.
Most writers have moments when they find themselves obsessing about extraneous things. I constantly get emails from people wondering about rules of formatting or whether to capitalize “Mom.” Just notice you’re doing it and pull your focus back.
Do the work!
What are some ways you distract yourself from the task at hand?