I had jury duty in Los Angeles, and as I sat waiting for something to happen (and using one of the provided internet-access computers), I considered how to utilize in a novel what I might experience.
Would it be an interesting mystery plot if she serves on a jury that acquits someone and, angered over what she perceives as a miscarriage of justice, she sets off to find out the truth?
Or maybe something happens to one of the jurors.
Years ago my husband was inside a courtroom (he’s a lawyer) when, in the hallway outside, a man shot and killed his divorcing wife in front of their young child over the question of a car. (Someone I worked with at the time was actually in the courthouse hallway when this happened.)
While this scenario presumably could not happen today due to the security checks upon entering the courthouse, something else might happen among the hundreds of jurors, lawyers, court officials, defendants, etc. milling around.
In fact, the elevators in this particular criminal court building are so crammed with people trying to get up and down (renovation on the elevators has limited the available number), that something easily could happen accidentally or intentionally in the elevator.
As a writer, when you step outside of yourself and look around, you realize that everyone probably has an interesting story that could possibly be used in a work of fiction.
I made friends with a woman about my age who has lived in interesting places. I started talking to her because I wanted to know what book she was reading. (Gillian Flynn’s novel GONE GIRL, borrowed from a library. And, yes, I told her if she likes to read mysteries and thrillers that I have written some of these and I gave her the link to my Amazon Author Central profile — www.ZimblerMillerbooks.com)
UPDATE: I wrote this post in the morning in the juror assembly room. The woman I met and I had lunch at the cafeteria of Disney Hall and then spent the afternoon in the assembly room and we were never called to go to a courtroom. At 4 p.m. we were released from jury duty.
P.S. If you know of a teen in high school, especially one about to enter 9th grade, and if you are a Goodreads member (or join for free today), use the Goodreads widget in the right-hand sidebar — through April 24th — to sign up for the giveaway of 10 copies of my teen nonfiction paperback HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE. (Also available for purchase in Kindle format at http://amzn.to/PdupDP)
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com