Check out this informative piece by Christina Kaye, readers:
Writing Legal Fiction: 4 Research Tips
On television crime dramas, DNA comes back in three minutes, crimes are solved in less than forty-two minutes, and defendants always confess to everything right there on the stand in front of judge and jury. While I can see the entertainment value in this type of show, I often want to hurl my remote at the television. Why? Because none of it is an accurate portrayal of the judicial system and how it works. As someone who’s worked in the legal field for over two decades, it’s beyond frustrating.
What Is Legal Fiction?
Before we talk about the how-tos of writing legal fiction, let’s first define the genre.
Legal fiction is a genre that revolves around the legal system in one way or another. While protagonists don’t necessarily have to be lawyers, they should somehow be involved in the justice system. For example, they could be judges, bailiffs, court reporters, or paralegals.
In my award-winning novel Like Father, Like Daughter the protagonist is a paralegal. Working in the legal field for many years gave me all the tools and information needed to write a compelling and realistic legal suspense. Likewise, it gave my protagonist all the information and tools needed to investigate and solve the crime in question.
Legal novels are typically set (at least in part) in a courthouse or other peripheral locations central to the justice system, such as jails, lawyers’ offices, etc.
The most popular type of legal fiction comes in the form of mysteries, suspense, and thrillers.
If you’re wondering if there’s a market for legal fiction, I have a prime case study which proves legal fiction can make a killing (pun intended): John Grisham has sold over 250 million books, makes an average of $50 million per year, and his net worth is a whopping $350 million.