So you’re writing a book. Aside from plot and character, one of the most important things is setting. This determines the when and where of your story.
Let’s say you’re writing urban fantasy or contemporary fiction or something that takes place in the real world about, oh, now. You’ve got a couple of choices. You can pick a real place. You can twist a real place (useful for alternative realities and so forth). Or you can make up a place.
I prefer the latter for one main reason.
I was born and raised in Colorado. And, in almost every instance where I’ve read a book set in Colorado, it has manage to offend me in some manner, and I am not that easy to offend. And I live in fear that I will do that to someone else. It’s easy enough to make up a town or a city, to draw out the layout or base it on something else.
In fact, if at all possible, I don’t mention a place name. Most of the time it’s not really important, as long as your description gives enough information, and very rarely does it affect my plots.
Of course, everyone is different. What do you prefer, as a reader or as a writer? Do you like having real places, with real street names and real businesses that you can look up on a map? Or do you not really care as long as everything makes sense?