Civil Forfeiture as a plot device?

Sure, why not. About two months ago I discovered my ‘device’, the device that will create that One Defining Moment, aka ‘the Climax’, where everything changes for my main characters.

I’m using a legal fiction, Civil Forfeiture, as the device. I won’t get into too much detail, to avoid giving away how it works into the story, but this topic is perfect. Stunningly perfect.

I even have some personal experience with it. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier.

Now at first my Climax was simply the Chairman and Michelle selling their first starship to the government but then instead leaving the Solar System with it and having their grown kids finish off Starship #2 to sell to the gov.

Boring right? I knew that too, and wrote it out anyway. Again it was just something to start with, to get the imagination warmed up.

I have a 40 minute commute (one way), mostly highway, and I often drive in silence, just brainstorming.

Most times I’ll be running a single chapter through my head.

When I do turn on the radio I end up playing a song that might fit the tone of the chapter. This helps me to flesh out the details even further.

I was reminded of a time, in my current job, where I was called down to our marina to meet with two US Marshals. They were there to seize the yacht of one of our clients and they called just to give our company a heads up that they were removing the yacht to … wherever. (I forget)

That was an ‘in rem’ forfeiture. That means they take your stuff because your stuff is guilty, nothing at all to do with you.
How can stuff be guilty? That’s part of what makes this particular plot device so good.

In speaking with our client’s attorney it turned out that the case went poorly … for the plaintiff.

Perfect experience to build on.

I feel like I’m back in college in studying this Civil Forfeiture topic. There is so much meat available from so many different sources. It’s all really juicy stuff too.

So juicy that I am effectively re-writing the book to incorporate the process properly. FISA court, NSA, a couple of LE alphabet agencies will be involved. It’s the perfect device for my space travel story set in the near future (and then far future), just the thing I’ve been searching for.

Let’s just say that when the story is finally released you’ll wonder “How can that be real?”.

It is. It will be the only non-fiction device in my science fiction thriller lol.

_

The Blue Vase University

Ah, the Blue Vase University.

Are you a graduate?

What does it mean to graduate from the University?

It is a real thing, though not a real place. It is tangible and brings peace. And just to be clear it is not related to some insurance thing.

Then what is it?

To tell you would be to rob you, to deny you the …….. well, let’s just say that the graduate of the Blue Vase University fully understands why someone would be circumspect to explain, much less to explain it in full detail.

“So, if I’m not a graduate how do I get to be one?”

If some of you readers know the answer, don’t go posting it in the comments ūüėČ

For those who are still asking the question just look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘It Shall Be Done.’

The Humadrone

So what is a humadrone?

Our Chairman brings the concept to life. With Michelle’s programming providing the impetus the humadrone serves the Chairman and Michelle and also anticipates their needs.

Everything from doing the laundry to providing Base Security, the basic drone has a humanoid appearance. This helps it interact with the human world around it. Like negotiating stairs or flipping a light switch. Such seemingly simple and straightforward maneuvers for people.

They all share the same internals; nuclear battery, rad hard circuitry, titanium alloy skeletal systems, electric musculature, full spectrum vision, full spectrum audio, speech center and more.

The EVA humadrone is designed with armoring to protect against micrometeoroid strikes. Such orbital debris travels at double digit Mach numbers and the armor is set up accordingly.

The Base Security humadrone adds multiple layers of the same armor plating. Mobility suffers, but only slightly. They are still far more maneuverable than any human could hope to be.

These humadrones carry 12gauge magazine fed semiautomatic shotguns. Using ammunition designed in-house the Base Security drones can defend against land and air attacks from a variety of aggressors.

The Chairman does not sell or share the design with anyone. Strictly company assets.

How to format your manuscript

Ever wonder how to format a manuscript?  Ever wonder why even format it?

It’s called a baseline, a standard if you will.

My initial reason for looking into the matter involved my iPad.¬† I’ve written half a book on just my iPad Mini using Pages for iOS.¬† No external keyboard, just the soft keyboard.

And it wasn’t bad!

But back to formatting.¬† Everywhere I¬†searched I found the same answer, one inch in from the margin.¬† My one glaring question though¬†was ‘one inch in¬†from where?’.

I kept looking.¬† Did that grand committee of ‘they’ want¬†the margin¬†in from a 6×9 piece of paper such as the typical hardcover novel?¬† 8.5×11?¬† 8.5×14?

It seemed like the simplest question …. but no answer anywhere.

Well here is the answer: One inch margins in reference to an 8.5×11 page.

I suppose everyone just assumed that everyone else knew!

 

But why format at all?  My layout is majestic, a treasure trove of literary beauty, a feast for the eyes and even the soulllllllll!!

Well your soul will end up in the circular file or the electronic Recycle Bin if you neglect the format standard.

The standard makes it easy for the agent, the editor, the publisher …. everyone to read.¬† And to make notes on it.

If you make it difficult … well, the next manuscript is right underneath it.

So make it easy!

William Shunn’s straightforward 7 page¬†treatise is the best single source I’ve found concerning the whys and¬†details of how to format your¬†manuscript.

PDF download: manuscript format

 

Screenshots:

Manuscript Format 1 Manuscript Format 2 Manuscript Format 3 Manuscript Format 4 Manuscript Format 5 Manuscript Format 6 Manuscript Format 7