Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Input Please

I'll admit it. I'm at the point where I realize I need to quit fighting and accept who I am.

I am an attorney. I am also an attorney. Hence, I should write legal thriller type books.

I've fought it. Tried to make myself somebody I'm not. You see, I hate being forced in a box. There is something in me that rebels against the idea that someone else can tell me what to do and make me do it.

So as I'm plotting and praying how to take my characters and the town I've created and change the plot (you see Hayden was already an attorney, now I just have to embrace that part of her -- Do I sound like Dr. Phil to anyone?), I'd like your help. Do you read legal fiction? Think James Scott Bell, John Grisham, Perri O'Shaunesy, etc. If so, why? What do you like about them? What keeps you coming back? And what makes you throw a book against the wall in frustration?

Now that I've come to see the light, I'm excited. I really am. I just have to find the what if scenario that works for my character -- and works for me as a writer.


Crystal said...


I LOVE legal fiction. In fact if I were an attorney (ok, secret wish here,)I'D write legal thrillers. ha I love reading them. My favorite fictional character is an attorney--Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Someone once told me I couldn't write "this" and then told me I couldn't write "that," so I understand what you're saying. (It still haunts me.) I could easily see you writing historicals (oh, wait, you have!) and I can see you writing, well, honestly? Anything you want to!

Finish the novels you have contracts for, then make the next novel a book of your heart and see what happens.

(And you can help me with a legal thriller...ha)

Rel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rel said...

Cara - thanks for your post! Well, from one lawyer to another.....I love Grisham, James Scott Bell, Robert Whitlow, Randy Singer and Don Brown (he writes military legal fiction). It is easy to do the good v. evil with legal books but I think seeing the "good" lawyer's weaknesses is important. My non-legal friends have enjoyed the books by the above authors but found some of the more technical legal interaction hard to follow so enabling lay readers to understand is important. I love how Randy Singer weaves a complex ethical dilemma into his books that people identify with and uses the legal process to tease that out. Hope this helps!

Jonah said...

The only legal fiction I've read was listening to The Pelican Brief on tape (and it was probably abridged... that was a long road trip ago). The book was great, and when I watched the movie, I was quite disappointed, even if it did have Julia Roberts in it (and did they make her change her hair color throughout? no...).

That said, I've enjoyed all of the other Grisham books I've watched in movie form. The field of law is this mysterious otherworld to therestofus, one we find fascinating and fearful all at once. Why else is Law & Order a perennial favorite? Justice and loopholes are two of Americans' favorite topics.

But you've either got to be a lawyer or know darn sure what you're talking about if you're going to write legal fiction. I hate it when someone writes about something they no nothing about and I, who am an expert in nothing, catch their bullspit. It makes me feel like they're not even trying.

Pam Meyers said...

Hi Cara!
I love legal thrillers. I love John Grisham. I've read almost everything he's written in that genre. The last one I read was "The Last Juror"...I think that's the title. It's about a small town newspaper owner in the south, a wild family who has "owned" the town for years, and an African American lady who is picked as a juror. Grisham is at his best in this story and describes the black woman's food with such skill my mouth was watering through the whole scene. I even wanted some okra!

I also enjoy James Scott Bell's stories.

It's important to me that the author know what he/she is talking about and if they're an attorney it gives them credibility like no one else.

I've always been fascinated with legal stuff. I watched Court TV when they used to run video of the court cases they covered during the day at night. Now they have forensic files (which is great for mystery/thriller writers too)Cops (good for police procedure), etc. I remember watching a Texas murder trial where the victim was pushed down a flight of stairs, a San Diego trial that was made into a TV movie. The women tried for killing her ex-husband and his new wife while they slept in their beds was convicted. And, then, of course, there was the O.J. trial.

Anyway, I say go for it. I'll be right there reading it and, I'm sure, enjoying it.

Pam Meyers

GIMD said...

There's a lot of scope in what you do as a profession for inspiration in writing, but I think that doesn't mean you have to take your experiences and use them in the genre people expect.

Attoneys fall in love, have families, break the law themselves. Perhaps law can just be a base for your writing.


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