I’ve been promising a Romilegal: Downtown update for quite some time. The last month or so, possibly more—does anyone have any idea how time is measured any more—has been great for me in my writing. I have been making time on the weekends and evenings, even staying up until after 11:30 the other night, writing and editing. Usually I turn into a pumpkin by 11, at the very latest. But as any writer will agree, when the words are flowing, you don’t interrupt them!
My initial goal, which I think was a Covid goal, was to get the next draft ready for my lovely personal proof-reader by the end of the summer.
It was a lofty goal.
That I did not reach.
But … I am feeling so good about the status of things now, having gone through my outline with my writing group and chatted about Romi with my proof-reader, that I am confident I will have her the next draft by the end of the month.
Just in time to tackle National Novel Writing Month for the second time. You can read about my first experience writing 50,000 words in November of 2019 here. I have been thinking about my next next next book (which I initially planned would come after the third and final instalment in the Romi series) a lot lately and have to decide: do I continue on in the Romilegal world and jump right into the second book? Or do I switch things up and tackle the other novel, a very different story where my experiences as a mother, instead of a paralegal, will come into play?
I’ll keep you posted.
As far as a Romilegal: Downtown update is concerned, the story arc is complete, and I have two more chapters to review in the first draft before going back to fill in some gaps. The biggest change that will come for me at this point is a pretty major subplot.
During my time at the Writer’s Studio, and in my writing group that came after school, some consistent feedback that I was getting was how nice it was to learn about the ins and outs of what it’s like to work in a law firm. In my experience, the daily grind can get a bit monotonous, but I wanted to come up with an interesting file for Romi to deal with at work that would intrigue readers and help propel the story forward, while serving more than one purpose in the grand scheme of the book.
So, a little sneak peek at Romi’s first big file at the offices of PI Law (which is a completely fictitious law firm, by the way). Here, she is learning from senior paralegal, Collette, how to prepare her first medical malpractice case for review by her boss, lawyer, Elizabeth:
“Relax, Romi,” Collette said with a laugh, reaching out to rest her hand on my arm. “You’re doing great. There’s no need to be so nervous.” She took her hand back and started leafing through the binder in front of her. “When Elizabeth refers to the list, which is what she asked for by the end of the day, she wants to see what records and documents we think need to be requested on a file after our cursory review of the documents we have.”
My instincts pushed my pen along the page before my brain could tell my hand to write the words. I wanted to record every ounce of paralegal-to-paralegal wisdom Collette was willing to share and saw that she was watching me close as I wrote. She nodded approvingly and continued to speak at such a fast pace, I considered her speech a test and kept writing as fast as I could.
“Now, usually, when I review a file, I prepare the list for Elizabeth to review and automatically draft the request letters for her to sign at the same time that we review the list together. Always be prepared. But since you’re still learning, I want you to bring the list to me first until you get the hang of things. Then we’ll prepare the first letter together, I’ll show you where the EBC precedents are, and you can take it from there.”
“Yes,” I said, contemplating which of the million questions percolating in the back of my mind.
“You can do that job here and bring me the file and list when you’re done.”
Before I could ask even one question, she was gone. I looked down at the binders of documents in front of me, my jaw slack.
Nothing like jumping in the deep end to get your feet wet.
I brought the binder of medical records close with the realization that I had been left alone with this woman’s most personal records from a time in her life that was so traumatic, she had brought the details to a former law school classmate for help. How sad, to open the soul of one’s past to absolute strangers, present your private life for a judge, jury and opposing party to not only read but critique, tear apart, find breaks and try to prove that the terrible trauma you suffered isn’t as bad as you’re making it out to be. I flipped the pages, letters forming words creating heartbreak passed my eyes. Misdiagnosis. Ectopic pregnancy. Surgery. Consent. Secondary infertility. Complete Hysterectomy.
When I first decided that the subplot was going to be a medical malpractice case, I still had to think very long and hard about it. Not only is it very sensitive, serious subject matter that effects many, many people. But I distinctly remember, in my first year as a paralegal, sitting in on a call with a lawyer where he gave a client devastating news. The claim she thought she had against the doctor at a local hospital was not actually a claim at all. There are so many details that go into a medical malpractice case, and just because someone doesn’t have a legal case against the person or organization that they feel wronged them, doesn’t mean that they haven’t suffered tremendous pain from a traumatic event.
I hope I do this story justice. It’s a great catalyst for Romi in this adventure through her first book. I am taking it all very seriously and am really digging into the far recesses of my brain—thirteen years ago—to relay the heartbreak that can happen in this area of law.
Tell me, what do you think? Does this excerpt, which is a little different on the Romi-scale of things I’ve shared, pique your interest at all? Do you want to read more?
I go back and forth on sharing excerpts, but decided that I wanted to share with my blog readers as a thank you for following along! It’s not the final version, so I promise it will only get better from here.
And on that note, I have some more exciting news related to excerpts of Romilegal: Downtown coming soon. Hint: it has to do with being published (but is not that Romi is being published … as a whole novel, just yet).
Stay tuned for good news,