I have jury duty today. I’ve been called for it more since we moved here than I ever had in my home town, but I’ve served less. In Bryan, every time I was called, I had to serve. Not so here, so maybe this will be a one-day inconvenience.
But even if I do serve, I think jury duty is fun. For a writer, it’s a great place to find character idiosyncracies, settings, plots–you name it. The what-if questions fly at you like mosquitos in a swamp and you find yourself thinking of anything other than the legalese being spoken by pompous attorneys and self-important judges. (Okay, perhaps that was harsh. But not much.)
By the time we reach trial, on the occasions I have reached the trial stage, listening to the evidence is a must. I do my best not to be distracted by the writer in my head who thinks of better ways to word the questions, more dramatic answers, and powerful, emotional responses in which someone jumps up and yells Liar!
No, I try to listen to the case–and succeed, because I’m genuinely interested.
The jury room is different. It’s another place where personality traits grow like fertilized roses–or in some cases like fruits and nuts–and my writer’s mind kicks in again, mixing and matching characters for stories that are developing in my mind. If this one met that one in a dark alley, who’d win? Probably the first, because she’d talk him to death. But if this other were involved, the first would be a goner: I’ve never seen a shut-up! look quite as effective as that one.
Once the deliberations begin, things can really get hot, and I quickly lose the writer in me to the debate. But what fun I can have with the story once the whole ordeal is over!
My readers will never know about the case in my stories, but they’ll see a lot of the characters involved. The shut-up queen could land in any of my novels; the courtroom dramatics can be reenacted in a household fight. Everything is fair game for use in a novel.
I’m so looking forward to this!