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Using the Law to Enhance Your Sci Fi, Fantasy and Romance Story

You have to build a whole new world if you’re writing sci fi, fantasy or horror. That world will necessarily have laws. And you’re the one who decides what those laws are. Thinking about the law and how it applies to your world will open up possibilities, provide inspiration, and make your story more believable.

If you think about it, you’ll realize the law touches everything your characters do, especially in sci fi. Their alarm clock went through customs and is regulated. Does your sci fi protag buy an experimental alarm clock that runs on nuclear fusion? Their cereal box has legal requirements about how contents are listed and what claims it can make. Does your horror or fantasy hero change into something non-human after he eats cereal contaminated with a mysterious chemical?

Pharmaceutical companies have to test their drugs extensively before your characters can take them. Companies handling hazardous materials must dispose of them in particular ways. Your characters might lose a friend or relative if someone doesn’t follow the law. Or maybe the whole world changes because something deadly was set loose.

Anything that can go wrong for your characters might end up in court, or have already been there. You think the law doesn’t affect your sci fi character? Think again. Here are some ways sci fi, fantasy and horror stories are affected by the law.

Civil Rights: --more--  Read More 
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Using the Law to Enhance Your Romance Story

Romance writers frequently tell me the law doesn’t apply to their stories. Yet the law is everywhere in romance. If you start thinking about the law when you write, it can be used to enhance your story, flesh out your characters, get you unstuck, or even inspire you.

Let’s talk about some ways the law might impact your romance novel.

Background/characterization: Your characters come from a background that affects the way they view romantic relationships. If the characters’ parents are divorced, the nature of the divorce could color their view of romance. Was the divorce contested or amicable? Traditional or collaborative? Juno is the first time I’ve ever seen collaborative law used in a story, and it was used correctly. Collaborative law is the hottest trend in family law, so it might apply to your romance story.

Current lifestyle: If your characters are divorced, do they have custody or visitation? Is it still in court? The terms of divorce determine how much money they have to live on, when they have the kids, what property they own. It’s important to think about how the terms of divorce affect your characters’ daily lives. If it’s still in court, do they . . . more  Read More 
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10/9/10 Writing and Publishing News

Which lawsuits are killing books? Which comic strip was banned for the punchline "Where's Muhammed?" Are picture books going the way of the dinosaur? Is it plagiarism or your perfect mate? These and other writing and publishing headlines are in this week's Write Report.
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9/20/10 Writing and Publishing News

How did Google post an embargoed book? Why can’t you get library books on the Kindle? Why free speech isn’t free when you pull a crazy Koran burning stunt. Plus, the real reasons why you were rejected. And 12 people who are changing publishing. These and other writing and publishing headlines are up at The Write Report.  Read More 
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9/6/10 Writing and Publishing News

Why is S&S accused of violating campaign finance laws? Which writer's fan got him horrid publicity? Why is the bankruptcy clause in your contract worthless? Is an author-formed collective a good idea? These and other headlines are in this week's Write Report.
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8/22/10 Writing And Publishing News

Which vanity publisher is being sued by 16 authors for deceptive practices? Will ignorance of copyright law be a defense? The libel tourism bill becomes a law. Plus, whose secret identity are BBC lawyers trying to hide? And what Macmillan authors need to do when they get that little contract amendment about e-rights in the mail. These and other writing and publishing headlines are in this week's Write ReportRead More 
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7/20/10 Writing and Publishing News

Big busy week for me, even though I’m on vacation. Ha!

My interview on work life balance on Women Lawyers Online is up. You can listen here

I did an article for Women On Writing titled, “Using the Law in Your Story: Character, Plot and Professions.” You can read it here.

Another article I wrote on using the law in writing is up at Selling Books

Lots of news. Which bookseller is defending a poison pill? Who's suing JK Rowling this week? Who dropped their suit against Scribd? Why did Janet Evanovich leave her publisher? These and other writing and publishing news stories are on this week's Write Report.  Read More 
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6/6/10 Writing and Publishing News

This week on Litopia’s podcast The Debriefer, Peter and I talked about the universal e-book format, why it matters that we don’t have one yet, and what authors can put in their contracts to make sure their books appear in all the major e-formats. This headline, plus more of the latest writing and publishing news are in this week’s Write Report.

The Write Report has been named an Awesome Blog by Writing World, the very first blog chosen for this honor. Thanks so much. What an incredible honor. Writing-World.com is an awesome website for writers. Read More 
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Guest Post on So You Killed Off the Parents In Your YA/Middle Grade Book? C’mon, You Know You Did It. Eight Ways the Law Affects Teen and Children’s Stories

My guest post this week talks about why you need the law even when writing children's and teen books. Because the parents are so often absent due to death or divorce, your characters deal with custody, inheritance and all types of issues.

If you haven't seen LM Preston's blog, it's worth a visit for YA and sci fi writers. She covers all types of issues on genre writing. Read More 
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5/18/10 Writing and Publishing News

Which literary agent got busted for stealing from his clients? Which author is dealing directly with Amazon for traditional book publishing? Which book got halted after a libel threat letter went out to everyone connected with it? Is the agency model iPad uses for e-books going to run into antitrust problems in the UK? These and other stories are in this edition of The Write ReportRead More 
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