Monday, April 18, 2016

Fiction Writing Classes Being Offered at Law Schools

Image credit:
Hopefully students don't choose to go to Law School with the intention of being fiction writers. But it is impossible to deny that many famous authors got their start as lawyers. Law graduates like James Patterson and John Grisham have become famous for writing novels with legal themes. Lawyer authors are not just found in the mystery or crime genres either. New York Times bestselling Young Adult author Carrie Ryan is a University of North Carolina School of Law grad.

With many lawyers becoming authors it should come as no surprise that Law Schools are offering fiction classes to their students. The University of Iowa, famous for their writer's workshop, offers a course entitled Narrative Strategies for Lawyers. Professor Michelle Falkoff, who taught the course for the first time in 2012, said that, "Fiction writing offers good lessons to lawyers about good writing and editing." Falkoff is the author of the young adult novel Playlist for the Dead

The University of Baltimore School of Law offers a class called Fiction Writing for Law Students. The class is designed for students who wish to develop story-telling and teaches the basics of fiction writing. The University of Arkansas also offers a seminar about the Law and Literature

Yale professor Stephen Carter said that one of the reasons many lawyers write fiction may be because of the Socratic Method. It teaches lawyers to think about the "what if's". This thought process can naturally spiral in to a full-fledged novel idea.

The lawyer-turned novelist is so prevalent that the Journal of Legal Education published, for the first time in 2013, a special fiction edition. The American Bar Association - Young Lawyers Division also wrote an article about the possible ethical pitfalls that could befall a budding lawyer-novelist.

If you are a short story writer the ABA Journal is hosting the Ross Essay Contest. The contest is currently accepting entries. The entries must be no more than 5,000 words and illuminate the role of law/lawyers in modern society. Submissions close May 31, 2016 and the winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize.

Whether it is the Socratic Method turning lawyers and law grads in to authors, or that law school teaches writing skills and diligence. One thing is for sure; many lawyers have found success in the publishing world. 

No comments: