If you’re writing fiction, chances are a legal thread runs through your story. On screen or on the page, legal issues are often central to plots and backstory.
In mysteries and thrillers, past crimes may surface with present ramifications. Law enforcement officers and P.I.s need to know what’s legal and what isn’t. Amateur sleuths—the chef, gardener, or librarian—may start digging because they fear police won’t investigate or will nab the wrong suspect.
The law figures in mainstream and literary novels, too. And legal plots don’t require a crime. With a good storyteller, civil law can be gripping. Think of the possibilities in adoption (Jacquelyn Mitchard’s A Theory of Relativity; Ann Patchett’s Run), inheritance (Dickens’ Bleak House), even insurance (Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder’s movie based on James M. Cain’s novella).
But the law can be confusing, too. It changes constantly, and varies from state to state. Information and misinformation abound. Plus most of us, thank goodness, live happy lives without facing serious legal trouble. What follows is one lawyer-novelist’s list of common mistakes—and tips on avoiding them.
Everyone is invited to join us on May 28 to hear Leslie Budewitz explain the mistakes authors make when writing about the law. Join us for a short social time at 9 am central time, followed by a brief business meeting at 9:30 am. Our speaker starts about 10 am.
DARA meetings are held the fourth Saturday of each month from January to October. We're currently meeting on Zoom -- to get an invite to the Zoom room, please contact our Membership Chair, Priya Ardis, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Leslie Budewitz
Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series, the Spice Shop mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries, set in NW Montana. She’ll make her suspense debut with BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman, in April 2021. A three-time Agatha-Award winner (2011, Best Nonfiction; 2013, Best First Novel; 2018, Best Short Story), she is a past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America. She lives and cooks in NW Montana.
Suspense Magazine calls her books “pure enjoyment.” Library Journal reviewer Lesa Holstine calls them “a treat for the senses.”
Discover how to loosen up that inner vixen and write a great character-based love scene at our March 26 meeting featuring Naima Simone.
Many authors find writing those scenes—the love scenes—intimidating or frustrating to write. The fear or hesitation can originate from embarrassment and the “Oh no, I can’t write that!” voice inside their heads. Or the belief they cannot write a believable, passionate love scene. These scenes involve choreography, intense emotion and capturing the reader’s imagination with all the senses, which can be difficult to accomplish. Whether the bedroom door is closed, cracked or thrown wide open, love scenes are important not only to the story and romance, but also to the relationship between the hero and heroine, and most times the characters’ personal growth and arc. How our characters make love is as much a part of their characterization as their back story. The purpose of this program is to offer the author an alternate way of approaching love scenes that may make writing them more fun and a little easier.
About Naima Simone
Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”
She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.
Amanda Arista will be our guest speaker at the February 26 DARA meeting, teaching us about Down and Dirty Character Development.
Why spend months developing a character only to find that its the wrong character for the story you want to tell? Using this boiled-down amalgamation of three top screenwriting teachers, Amanda Arista will show you how to create a character that will leap off the page with their own backstory, voice, and deep connection to the story you want to tell.
Our February meeting will be held on Zoom. Social time starts at 9 am, followed by a brief business meeting at 9:30. Amanda will begin about 10 am. (Click here or on the Zoom image below to go to the meeting link.)
Invite your fellow authors to join us! Please contact email@example.com for an official invite with Zoom link (needed only so we can keep track of who attends). Guests are welcome to attend one meeting for free, and additional meetings without joining will be $5 each. Free meetings are one of the many benefits of DARA membership!
About Amanda Arista
Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel.
During the summer after second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, much to the surprise of the local librarian. So she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.
She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. She recently added a tiny human to the mix who is following in her mother’s footsteps of storytelling.
Along with her BA in English & Psychology and her MA in Education, Amanda is a graduate of the SMU Creative Writing Program and now teaches other aspiring authors. She has delivered lectures at several writer conferences and loves discussing craft, character, and structure. Her current favorite: Stirring up Trouble with Romantic Subplots.
She is represented by Kimberly Brower, of Brower Literary & Management.
Visit Amanda on her website: Amanda Arista.