Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Guest Post: Two Brothers Metz talk about being Lawyers and Reading Wills
Hi Aubrie! Thanks so much for inviting the Two Brothers Metz (Lafe and Rhett) to share your blog for the day :)
We’re in the process of plotting the follow up to Gypsy Knights, and it feels like GKII (as we refer to it) occupies our whole lives. So, we thought we’d share our daily madness with you and your readers.
Up this week in our book writing lives is a dastardly Last Will and Testament.
It’s a funny thing: both Lafe and I (I being Rhett, who is at the helm for this blog) are attorneys (sadly, writing doesn’t pay the bills…yet!). In fact, we work at the same firm (Yes, Lafe could be my boss if he wanted to be. Fortunately for me, he leaves that to others). But despite six collective years of law school and over a decade of legal practice between us, neither of us knows much about wills.
But, they’re such great fodder for fiction! Who doesn’t love a good ‘reading of the will’ scene?
We had no choice but to consult the Great Barrister – our Dad!
So GKII’s by line is quickly becoming something more like “The Metzes” than Two Brothers Metz.
What we’ve learned is both disappointing and door opening. Turns out, there is absolutely no legal requirement that a will be read aloud to its potential beneficiaries. No ancient, dignified attorney presides. No monocle wearing fat cats listen in. No gold digging trophy husbands/wives await eagerly. No alcoholic divorcee in oversized sunglasses and a giant hat sips on a bloody Mary in a lavishly appointed office.
Which of course begs the question: what’s left for the writer? Well, accuracy for one. On aspect we particularly fret over in the Gypsy Knights series is the blending of real world accuracy with fantasy. For us, it’s more immediate if the book is realistic, with splashes of fantasy so the leaps the reader must take are shorter.
One element of a will that particularly lends itself to a great piece of plotting is a will’s potential to be challenged. There are a number of technical legal challenges a slighted, would be beneficiary can bring, but the substantive, factual challenges are the juiciest: fraud, undue influence and mental state immediately jump out. Additionally, if the will uses general terms, such as, “I leave all my worldly possessions along with the rest, residue and remainder to my lawful heir(s) at law…” then anyone who can prove they are a lawful heir might win a challenge.
And there you have it. That’s how we dream up and research a plot element. While we might change our minds once we get it on paper, for the time being GKII includes a wild Will and a challenger for our hero – Durriken Brishen.
Thanks for writing this post today!
You can buy Gypsy Knights at these locations:
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