Upcoming EventsDonna loves to help writers with using the law in their work. Here some upcoming conferences where she'll be teaching writers how to use the civil justice system to enhance their novels and screenplays. She hopes they will walk away with inspiration and ideas they can use in their stories. They will learn the major faux pas lay people make when writing about the law, and how to get their stories right.
April 22, 2010, Sterling Education Fundamentals of Employment Law in Florida CLE seminar This will be great for anyone who wants to learn more about employment law. Here's what Donna will be covering.
Sexual, Racial, and Other Harassment in the Workplace
1. Recent legislation & court cases, including the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
2. Employer liability principles as they affect management of complaints
3. Liability for claims of harassment by third parties
4. Is it harassment or just obnoxious behavior?
5. Avoiding harassment claims
6. What constitutes a "hostile workplace environment"?
ADA and FMLA Update
1. Recent changes and developments with the ADA
2. Recent changes and developments with the FMLA
3. Thoughts on the interplay between the ADA and the FMLA
October 22 - 24, 2010: Florida Writers Conference Loads of great seminars and workshops at this conference! Here's the workshop Donna Ballman will be teaching.
Quilling the Lawyers - The Writer's Guide to Using The Law in Your Story
Donna Ballman, author of The Writer's Guide to the Courtroom: Let's Quill All The Lawyers, and an attorney with 23 years' experience, will help solve your manuscript problems and show you how to use the law in any story. Maybe you have a novel, story, screenplay, or other writing project that has a character involved with the court system.
When you write, sometimes you don't know where your mind will take you. Maybe there's a character in your head but you haven't decided what to do with them. Or you have a plot that's stuck. The law is a great device for writers. It can add an obstacle, a sexy twist, or a fun character to your story.
The law can also accidentally drift into your plot, and laypeople who read your books, watch your shows, or read your articles will learn what they know about the justice system from you. Everything your characters touch during their day has something to do with the law. They wake up. Their alarm clock went through customs and is regulated. Their toothpaste has ingredients the law says it can and can't have. Their cereal box has legal requirements about how contents are listed and what claims it can make.
They drive to work in a car that doesn't explode when hit from behind because of civil lawyers. The gas pump they use has a fume guard because of the law. They go to work and, because of employment laws, have to be paid wages and overtime, can't be subjected to discrimination, can't be retaliated against because they objected to illegal activity. When they get a divorce, your characters have to do it through the civil justice system. If a character dies, their will has to go through probate.
The claims characters can make in the law are almost infinite. Anything that can go wrong for them can end up in court. Whether in an accident, the workplace, a business, or in a relationship, the law can offer a slight plot twist or an entire plot.
The purpose of this workshop is to touch on some of the highlights, to give you a starting point for your research or just trigger an idea for your story. This workshop is for every writer who doesn't have a law degree, and even for those lawyer/writers who are writing outside their area of practice.
Most lawyers can't read or watch stories about law because the factual errors are too frustrating. Gross misunderstanding of how the justice system works can take away from even the best plot. There are over 1.1 million lawyers in the United States, so alienating them with mistakes that are easily corrected can affect your sales and ratings.
This is a workshop for writers whose characters end up encountering the civil legal system, and for writers who think the law has nothing to do with their stories but who are stuck somewhere in their story or need ideas and inspiration.
HERE'S WHAT THIS WORKSHOP WILL COVER
Why You Can't Ignore the Law, No Matter Your Genre
- But I write romance/paranormal/literary fiction/comedy/sci fi. The law doesn't affect my books. Does it? I'm a thriller writer, so I only need criminal law, not civil? Don't I?
- Top ten ways your character might encounter the civil justice system.
- Don't make me throw your book across the room: top ten ways you can alienate the 1.1 million lawyers who are also readers.
Five Ideas You Can Use In Your Novel
- Genre specific tips
- Thriller, romance, children's, romance, comedy, paranormal, literary fiction, sci fi writers can all benefit by learning how a little law can go a long way in your stories
Problem-Solving Part 1 - Working Out Legal Problems in Your Manuscript
Problem-Solving Part 2 - Tell Me Where You're Stuck - All Genres, AllProblems Welcome - Working Out General Problems in Your Manuscript
- Attendees should come to the workshop with any legal problems their characters and stories have. (Don't ask for personal legal advice please!)This is your opportunity to get tips on your work in progress.
- If the (civil, not criminal) law crops up in your writing, here's where to ask. So if your character is being stalked, has a car accident, gets into a landlord/tenant dispute, is subpoenaed, anything like that at all, ask about it here.
- Attendees should come to the workshop with any problem areas where they're stuck
- Need a character? Suggestions on which legal players might be good characters. Murder victims, suspects, vampires, treasure hunters, you name it, we'll suggest.
- Need plot developments? Where the law might come into your story
- Looking for a setting? What legal settings might work in your story
- Need a profession? What types of law your character type might practice, or what other job they might hold in law.
- Attendees can help brainstorm your problems.
Where The Pros Went Wrong
- Examples of where other writers got it wrong and how they could have fixed it.
Three things you will learn by attending this workshop:
1. You will learn how to use the civil justice system to enhance your novel.
2. You will walk away with inspiration and ideas you can use in your stories today.
3. You will learn the major faux pas lay people make when writing about the law, and how to get your stories right.
March 18 - 19, 2011: Tallahassee Writers Conference