Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Verisimilitude or Cat-Vacuuming: You Be the Judge

While my sister and I were driving to Rochester, I picked her brain about the kind of law I thought my current protagonist might practice. It's not her specialty, but she had a general idea of what it entails. I had the right match between temperament and task. I had the wrong courthouse geography. Google brings me unwelcome results. If Bob litigates patent disputes, he has to work in Newark. It's actually easier to change what kind of law he practices than to change where he works or where he lives.

Alas, if he's going to handle anything more exciting than traffic violations, his law firm's office has to be in Freehold. If I were lazy, I would just declare Holmdel the county seat, or, better yet, decide to park a federal courthouse there. All we need to keep our hero litigating patent disputes is a federal courthouse in Monmouth County--is that so much to ask?

So I've spent the past half hour with my Monmouth County map, one Firefox window full of Weichert Realty searches for houses in Holmdel, and another Firefox window full of Yahoo Maps and Driving Directions, trying to shave five minutes off Bob's commute to 71 Monument Park, Freehold. Meanwhile, I've been wracking my brain trying to decide what kind of trial lawyer he is, if he's not a patent specialist.

Maybe I should mention that there is no moment in this story when Bob actually tries a case. His job is one of the things he misses while his whole life gets derailed by the death and subsequent haunting habits of his parents. The only storytelling function served by his having a job at all is that he needs to pine for it. Is Newark too far away? The federal courthouse might as well be on the moon, for all the good it does Bob.

On the one hand, if a detail is worth including, it's worth getting right. On the other hand, I think I recognize this behavior I'm engaged in. Back when I had a dissertation to write, I used to do a lot of it. I believe it was called procrastination.
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