You were fortunate in having judges worth talking to. In Massachusetts, they are appointed until the age of 70 (changed from "appointed for life" when the powers began worrying about dementia and Alzheimers) and get lazy and rely on boilerplate excerpts. It also depends on who is the chief of the court. In Mass., there are two levels of appeals: the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. So on novel issues, the App. Ct. sends it on to the SJC, where many cases are decided according to political agendas. Years ago, we were able to argue at a hearing in the Appeals Court. In the early '90s, they began deciding appeals on brief, meaning there were no oral arguments. Now and then an oral argument has been allowed, but those hearings are rare. Generally a party will get 15 minutes to argue at the SJC, but if you are not politically correct or politically connected, the SJC will tell you "only 10 minutes" or "only 5 minutes." FInally, the Chief of the SJC is retiring by the end of this month, October. Maybe SJC practices will change with her gone.
I had not thought of joining NaNo. I clicked on the link in one of the CS comments. I had never heard of it. 50,000 words in a month. Probably doable, but I have two How-To books, halfway done on my back burner, and the novel I mentioned in my other comment. So, my problem is time! I suppose it would be fun IF each of us were to add a scene. Years ago, some romance novels were written by two or three co-authors in that manner. I never read them because I was not into "romance" novels, but sales, according to Publishers Weekly, seemed to make it worthwhile. So, sure, I'd be interested. Let me know how to go about this. Thanks, could be fun!
Thanks for your Friend Request! Like you, I, too, have written appeals, although I was primarily a litigator. Appellate briefs bore most people and we are lucky if not only an anonymous reads them but also a judge. Recently I was contacted by a woman on behalf of four Native American defendants, imprisoned already for 16 of their 30-year sentences, who wanted to appeal again. The first appellate panel vacated and remanded for new trial, but the lower-court judge refused to give it to them. That refusal led to a string of unsuccessful appeals. I have read redacted trial transcripts and many, many related files, but certain important parts of the record are missing. Topping that off, the entire file -- including the docket sheets -- have been sealed. Fortunately one of the defendants got a copy of the docket sheet at some point.
Rather than write another futile appeal, I recommended writing a faction novel about the men's "case."
It is that novel which is presenting the challenge I am now facing. I am writing about that challenge weekly on PRonlineNews.com in a series.
Have you thought of novelizing some of your cases?
Welcome to the NaNo craziness! You can totally do it! friend me on the website: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/85137 We'll do it together! I don't know about advice I can give, but I can tell you what I'm doing for this year... I have an idea and I'm working on making notes for it. I saw online somewhere that someone made index cards with ideas and characters and questions, plot ideas. While writing you can pull out a card and work that into the story to help get the creativity flowing. Don't worry about how messy it gets (because it will be messy) just let it flow. You can fix it later. while writing, if you end up with a big cast, make a cheat sheet. All the best! :o)
Thanks for the friendship!
When you need a break from littering the world with with provocative crime fiction check out We Can't Dance Together at A Twist of Noir.
(based on that Steely Dan song you've had stuck in your head since 1980)
Thanks for befriending this mystery author on Crimespace! I hope you'll put my books, A Real Basket Case and To Hell in a Handbasket, on your to-read list. They're both readily available in libraries. If you'd like to enter a contest for a free copy of To Hell in a Handbasket, sign up for my email newsletter at: http://bethgroundwater.com/ . Good luck with your own writing!