Ok... so, I jumped a little ahead of myself. I have some characters named, but before I get into sculpting them into people, they will need a place to live. It's one thing to develop a good universe, but what about the city, town or burg they live in. That's gotta be real too... And really, my life was shaped and altered by where I grew up, so BEFORE I start getting into character details, and delving into their personalities, I should probably know where they grew up, what school they went to, who did they hang out with and where? That kinda of thing...
So, after doing a bit of research I have found some wonderful Ghost Towns that used to exist, but are no more that plaques on rough stone markers in farmer's fields. Because these old towns lived and died they come with a bit of history, and with a bit of fidgeting, creative license, and complete fiction you have your very own small town to build upon.
I gave the description to my girlfriend and she had 2 reactions... 1st, she wondered why I was sending her tourist information for a small town in Ontario. The next thing, she asked if we could move there. So I guess I'm on the right track.
Along with setting the scene as far as the town goes, I think you really need to create it like another character. I mean, each city I've ever been to has its own personality, so why not approach this like you would any other character?
I wrote and re-wrote and wrote some more and I think I've come up with a pretty likable, believable place. NOW its time to start creating some characters and giving them a purpose.