Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Freewrite of the Week: Jury Duty Gets Interesting

by Jacqueline Fauni

It takes a lot of courage to speak up and stick to your guns when you’ve got a different opinion... especially when you’re stuck in a hot, stifling room with 11 angry men.


That’s precisely the predicament that Henry Fonda faces as Juror 8 in the classic courtroom drama 12 ANGRY MEN. Fonda plays a quiet, unassuming architect who manages to turn a nearly unanimous decision to convict into a “not guilty” verdict after leading his fellow jurors through a closer examination of the case. As each eyewitness testimony and piece of evidence are called into question, so is the reasoning of the jurors themselves as their true characters and moralities are brought out through the grueling process.

Subjecting your characters to a pressurized and contained environment, and truly upping the stakes to life and death (e.g. of a defendant), are sure ways of bringing out explosive dynamics and poignant moments that capture the depth and complexity of human nature.

The prompt: Write a scene in which your main character is on jury duty. How does he/she interact with the other jurors? What role does he/she play? The voice of reason? The bigot? The guy who just wants to get out in time for the game? What’s the case and how does your character relate to it?

Have fun, and happy writing!

1 comment:

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