Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Very Productive Day

Well, I didn't get any writing done, but I did get some research done. I'm sure some of you have heard me brag about how flexible my job is. I basically work 80 hours every two weeks, and it doesn't matter what permutation. I just need to work 80 hours at some point during those two weeks. So I generally take a day off each week, and work 10 hour days.

Today I took the day off. And I spent it doing research. I plotting my second YA novel right now (well, kind of more a middle grade), so I decided to substitute teach today. (I used to sub while I was working on an LLM since it was easy and I could study or write while I was there and just take assignments when I felt like it.) But when I graduated from the LLM and started working full-time as an attorney again, I never cancelled myself in the sub system--I just put "do not disturb" on my telephone number so it wouldn't ever call me. But I could still technically sub whenever I wanted.

So I decided to call in yesterday and see what would be available. Turns out an 8th grade Social Studies teacher needed a sub for 2 hours today (from 10:30 to 12:30). By law, the school system has to pay me for a minimum of 4 1/2 hours, regardless of whether it was less than that. So, sure, I could easily hack 2 hours in the classroom today. And my heroines in my mystery series are in 9th grade (and the series is written to appeal to about 5th through 8th graders), so pretty close to the target age. Perfect opportunity to engage in a little observation.

Let me tell you...if you ever decide to write this age level, this is an AWESOME way to get yourself around teens. And it was so easy! And get this--the teacher was out to attend a training in the media center, but it only lasted about 45 minutes, so for the rest of my time there (the remaining hour and fifteen minutes) I just hung around the middle school library, shevling books, and taking note of all the cool "young" YA books I want to read.

Easiest $60 I ever made, plus I got to hang around the target audience and observe how they act in a classroom setting.

Then I spent the rest of the day running errands--grocery shopping, eye doctor, hair appointment. Now I'm home and I'm sitting down to brainstorm the plot of my next book.

It's another mystery. This time there's a theft at an art museum. I found this website for the FBI Art Crimes Unit: Good stuff. I think I'm going to see if I can set up an appointment with one of the investigators or the US attorneys they have attached to the unit. I'd like to pick their brains. Granted, I have a 14-year-old heroine who's going to solve this crime, but still...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 2:04 PM :: 4 comments

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