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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Cars franchise has Carberator County, a fictional county.
- 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."
- These Words Are True and Faithful is set in the fictional state of New Wiltshire, which is based on various Mid-Atlantic states.
- For a British example, Midsomer Murders is set in the fictional Midsomer County.
- 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.
- Andi Mack is set in Shadyside, Midwest, as in the fictional town of Shadyside in the fictional U.S. state of Midwest.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 2 expands on West Elizabeth and adds Ambarino, New Hanover, Roanoke Ridge (based on the Appalachian mountain range from Northern Georgia to Tennessee and North Carolina to West Virginia and Pennsylvania), 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.).
- 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.
- The Grand Theft Auto franchise:
- Far Cry 5 takes place in the fictional Hope County, Montana.
- 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.
- King of the Hill: the town of Arlen is located in fictional Heimlich County, Texas.
- 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 Keystone State, which is the nickname of Pennsylvania, only here it's the actual name of the state.
- 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.
- 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.)
- The Simpsons: Word of God is that the Simpsons live in North Tacoma.
- In the American law schools, "Franklin" is often used as a placeholder for a State. "Blackacre" is a fictional parcel of land as well.