Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Writing Prompt – A Day In Court

Judge's GavelSo…

Things have been pretty quiet around the blog lately. I’ve been baking lots of cookies, and working more than I want to at the day job, but it’s been hard to concentrate on the writing stuff — mostly — because I was being sued and had to go to court.

In short: I was leaving a parking lot nearly three (3!) years ago when a man backed out of a parking space and struck my car. He brought suit against me this July. He claimed it was my fault, and he sought recompense for doctor’s bills, pain and suffering, damage to his car, etc.

The amount he sued me for elevated the case out of the lower court and we had to go to trial.

My lawyer successfully defended me, so all is well. (Now, maybe I can get back to the writing.)

A funny part of the story: I learned I was being sued by advertising. I received three letters in the mail, all from attorneys offering to represent me, before I’d even been served.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Involve one of your characters with the law: have them be sued (or sue someone) and need to go to trial. Or, have them witness an event at which they have to testify. Worse, have him or her be held up at gunpoint, or be standing at the register when someone comes in to rob the establishment. Tell what happens.
  • Create a fictional legal system to use in a short story or novel. Design the laws (and the reasons for them), how they are broken, and what the punishments are. If the punishment includes working off the debt, define how this is accomplished. If lawbreakers are punished with incarceration, design the jail system and holding cells. If punishment includes banishment, include information on where people are banished to (the living conditions, the environment, what they’re provided with, etc.). What other ways are people held accountable for their deeds in your world?
  • Imagine a world where no laws exist. How does the world function? Is it a good or bad place to live in? How do people protect themselves against (human) predators? How could a legal system evolve? Would people want it to?
  • Define our legal system as you would to a child.
  • Write about the time you broke the law: Have you broken the speed limit? Ignored a ‘Do Not Litter’ sign? Walked off the path in a public park? Were you caught? What happened? Did you talk your way out of the situation? Did you have to pay a fine? Did you go to jail?
  • Imagine being arrested for a crime you didn’t commit. The evidence against you looks bad. It’s so bad, that if you didn’t know you hadn’t done it, you would have thought you’d done it. Does the jury find for you or against you? Write how the trial proceeds.
  • Imagine you are an attorney when “the case of the century” is handed to you to prosecute or defend. You know the outcome of the trail will change the world as you know it. What is this case? What is your argument as the prosecutor or defender? What will happen if you win or lose the trial?