This is when Where the Hell Is Springfield? actually has an answer, and that answer is pretty nonsensical even by fiction's usual standards. It's easier to suspend disbelief for made up cities and countries, since there tend to be a lot of those and only the most hard-core geography nerds would have all existing cities or countries memorized. However, American children for instance are taught early on to know all 50 US states (and their capitals), so setting a story in a "state" called New Troy or Calisota can require a lot more co-operation from the audience, as well as leading to Fridge Logic about whether flags in this world have more than 50 stars.
These considerations have still not stopped writers as noteworthy as Sinclair Lewis, James Michener, and Thomas Wolfe from creating fictional U.S. states. If the story is interesting enough, and the setting is internally consistent, readers will overlook such details. It helps that the U.S. has 50 states (and over three thousand counties and county-equivalents), so that readers can easily accept one more; a fictional Australian state might encounter greater resistance.
Of course, this isn't necessarily restricted to US States, as it can apply to the states, provinces, and other subdivisions of other countries as well.
Fictional counties and parishes also count as examples of this trope.
- Barsetshire, a specific type of fictional location that often exists within a fictional state or county
- Expanded States of America, which simply adds new, but not necessarily fictional, states to the existing ones. Example
- Fictional Country, which — as the name says — is about a fictional country.
- Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! takes place in the United Species of America (Earth-C's United States). The nation's geography consists of various animal-pun-themed cities and states; among the states the series mentions:
- Taxes, nicknamed the "Lone Stork State." Home of several cities, including "San Antoadio" and "Hogston."
- Califurnia, where much of the series is set, as the Zoo Crew's headquarters are in southern Califurnia. Home of various cities, including "Los Antelopes," "Sandy Eggo," and state capital "Stagcramento."
- Kornsas, a state in the Midwest. Bordering the state is Kornsas City.
- When DC Comics doesn't want to bother pinpointing a real location, Gotham City is located in the state of Gotham and Metropolis is located in New Troy.
- The Disney Mouse and Duck Comics take place in the fictional state of Calisota (a portmanteau of California and Minnesota), which according to maps is located in what is really the coastal part of upstate California. This supposedly contains both Duckburg and Mouseton. Curiously, Calisota doesnt seem much like Minnesota.
- The Cars franchise has Carberator County, a fictional county.
- In the Goofy short Californy er Bust!, most states of the US that are shown have funny, possibly red-neck-inspired names: Californy, Nebrasky, Florady, Pensavaney, Wash., Organ, Idyho, Nevady. The only exception is Utah. Also the short acknowledges that Florady sucks, by moving the caravan of cowboy settlers immediately to Pensavaney as soon as it touches that dreadful state.
- Barsetshire is a fictional English county created by Anthony Trollope as a setting for The Chronicles of Barsetshire.
- The Felse Investigates series by Ellis Peters is set in Midshire, a fictional county in the West Midlands of England.
- Many of the works of Sinclair Lewis are set in the fictional state of Winnemac, which, according to Elmer Gantry, "lies between Pittsburgh and Chicago." He did it after setting Main Street in a No Communities Were Harmed parody of his childhood hometown of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, a portrayal that his former neighbors immediately recognized and found so offensive that he created an entire fictional Everytown, America state so that nobody would think he was basing his stories on their hometown in particular.
- These Words Are True and Faithful is set in the fictional state of New Wiltshire, which is based on various Mid-Atlantic states.
- Much of the action, such as it is, in Pale Fire occurs around two fictional towns in two fictional states: the college town of New Wye, Appalachia, and the high-country retreat of Cedarn, Utana. Of course, the Unreliable Narrator cannot be trusted to tell the truth even about these places.
- Many stories by William Faulkner are set in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, based on the real Lafayette County in northern Mississippi where Faulkner lived.
- The Adventures of Slim Goodbody: One miniseries implied that the whole production took place in a fictional state called "Nutrition", but used American political terms like Governor and State, implying the series still took place in the USA.
- Andi Mack is set in Shadyside, Midwest, as in the fictional town of Shadyside in the fictional U.S. state of Midwest.
- The Andy Griffith Show takes place in Mayberry County, notably home to the towns of Mayberry and Mount Pilot. The area is based on the real-life Surry County, North Carolina where Griffith grew up, including real locations Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain.
- The Dukes of Hazzard takes place in fictional Hazzard County, Georgia.
- Hee Haw was an American television variety show featuring country music and humor with the fictional rural "Kornfield Kounty" as a backdrop.
- For a British example, Midsomer Murders is set in the fictional Midsomer County.
- Stranger Things takes place in Hawkins, which is in the fictional Roane County, Indiana.
- One "Improbable Mission" game on Whose Line Is It Anyway? involves a small Canadian province called "Snackitoba".
- Borsetshire, a fictional English county, is the setting of The Archers.
- In the world of Lake Wobegon from A Prairie Home Companion, Lake Wobegon isn't just a fictional town, it's the county seat of a fictional Minnesota county called Mist County. Supposedly Mist County is what happened when the initial surveyors of Minnesota missed a chunk of land. The mapmakers didn't want to go back and redo all their work (i.e. putting Lake Wobegon on the map), so they fudged the map to ignore Mist County.
- Finian's Rainbow takes place in the fictional state of Missitucky.
- Far Cry 5 takes place in the fictional Hope County, Montana.
- Hitman 2 has the fictional Isle of Sgàil in the North Atlantic.
- This is a staple of Rockstar Games' titles:
- The Grand Theft Auto franchise:
- Liberty City (the games' stand-in for New York City) is in the fictional state of Liberty;
- Vice City, the series' stand-in for Miami (though also located in Florida);
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto V take place in the fictional state of San Andreas, which is an expy of California, which includes cities such as "Los Santos" (Los Angeles), "San Fierro" (San Francisco), and "Las Venturas" (Las Vegas, Nevada).
- Grand Theft Auto V adds North Yankton (which is an expy of North Dakota), which features in a couple of missions, although it cant be explored freely. It also expands on San Andreas and includes the Alamo Sea (expy of the Salton Sea), the Senora Desert (an expy of the Colorado Desert and the Coachella Valley), and Stab City (an expy of Slab City). Although it excludes San Fierro and Las Venturas, it makes Los Santos a very precisely accurate expy of Los Angeles, unlike in its original appearance.
- Manhunt takes place in "Carcer City," an apparent expy of a Rust Belt Dying Town such as Detroit, East St. Louis, Gary, Indiana, or Flint, Michigan.
- Red Dead Redemption has two fictional US states, New Austin, which is based on central and western Texas with some land features and vegetation thrown in from New Mexico (like Rio Bravo), Arizona (like the saguaro cactus in Cholla Springs), Louisiana and eastern Texas (Theives Landing and its surrounding area) the Sierra Nevada Foothills and Sacramento Valley in Northern California (like parts of Hennigan's Stead), and the Mojave Desert In Southern California (like Gaptooth Breach) and West Elizabeth, which is based on the Great Plains of Kansas and Nebraska (Great Plains) and the Colorado Rockies (Tall Trees), with Blackwater being a very dead accurate expy of Blackwater, Missouri, as well as a fictional Mexican border state called Nuevo Paraiso, which resembles parts of Chihuahua, Sonora, and Baja California, although Diez Coronas looks like Monument Valley in Utah.
- Red Dead Redemption II expands on West Elizabeth and adds Ambarino, New Hanover, Roanoke Ridge (based on the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, highlands in northwest Arkansas, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and southeastern Kansas), and Lemoyne (based on Louisiana, with Bayou Nwa being the bayou and Sant Denis being based on New Orleans, but also has elements of southern Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, including Georgias red clay soil.).
- The Grand Theft Auto franchise:
- WolfQuest is an Edutainment Game series set in Yellowstone that prides itself on its realism, but for some reason it includes a completely fictional Ghost Town map called Lost River.
- King of the Hill: the town of Arlen is located in fictional Heimlich County, Texas.
- Miraculous Ladybug: The fictional 21st arrondissement, where Marinette lives, should logically be on the east side of Paris near the 20th, but it seems to have been taken from a part of the 16th (near the Seine and the Eiffel Tower). The Place des Vosges has been reduced in size and relocated from the line between the 3rd and 4th to across from Marinette's home. Placement of landmarks is not consistent from episode to episode.
- Moral Orel takes place in the city of Moralton, the capitol of Statesota, the geographic center of the US. (In real life, if you're just counting the 48 contiguous states, it's just south of the Kansas-Nebraska border. Include Alaska and Hawaii, and the geographic center shifts to the western edge of South Dakota.)
- Rocky and Bullwinkle had the fictional state/province of Moosylvania, a swampy little island on the US/Canada border. (The US insisted it was a Canadian province, Canada insisted it was a US state.) Jay Ward tried once to defictionalize it as a publicity stunt; he leased a small island in Minnesota's Lake of the Woods and campaigned to make it the state of Moosyvania. The attempt fizzled after the Cuban Missile Crisis broke out.
- The Simpsons: Word of God is that the Simpsons live in North Tacoma.
- Steven Universe:
- Beach City is located in Delmarva State, named after the Delmarva Peninsula, where the states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia converge.
- In "Keystone Motel", the characters visit the state Keystone, which is the nickname of Pennsylvania, only here it's the actual name of the state. "Mr. Universe" shows there's an adjacent state called West Keystone, which is where Greg is from.
- In "Same Old World", Steven and Lapis visit Jersey, which is called New Jersey in our world.
- The show's version of New York City is called Empire City, which license plates imply is in the state of Empire.
- In the American law schools, "Franklin" is often used as a placeholder for a State.note "Blackacre" is a fictional parcel of land as well.
- In the British Army "The Loamshire Regiment" is used as a placeholder name when giving examples of army procedures. As the other wiki points out the regiment, and the fictional county for which it is named have appeared in other works.