Tim Sorrensen on Writing Part 3

Welcome back.

Once again, I begin by putting the story parts in order. With reference to the initial outline, you may have noticed that I make changes as I write, if they fit. Scene one and two have combined and it looks okay. So, scene three will become scene two. How much time between the new scenes one and two? I chose about a week.

Sinclair is now from London and sounds like a good antagonist, but he doesn’t just bump into Isabel at the funeral. He’s made a tentative appointment on the phone. He’s on a mission now to convince Isabel to write the next series of books. How many books? How old will Isabel’s son be when she dies, and he takes over? Twenty-nine is a nice and creepy odd number, and it would also give her son a bit of maturity.

S2 Cont.          “Jack told me he was retiring the Detective Lucas Martel series,” Sinclair said, sipping his coffee. “He felt twenty-nine novels was enough. He wanted to try his hand at a new series of thrillers.”

 Isabel looked at Sinclair over her cup. “He never told me about it.”

 “Understandable. It is a pretty big deal. I know you were the first to read most of his drafts, and you edited the manuscripts before I ever saw them.”

“That’s true.”

“So, I propose you take over where Jack left off.”

 “I’m not a writer.”

 “Oh, come-come my dear, everyone’s a writer. You write—therefore you are. All I’m asking is that you give it a shot. Talent runs deep in your family.”

“I suppose I could try.”

Sinclair took a notebook from his pocket. “Here’s Jack’s outline for the first novel of the new Nicholas Slater series . . .”


Scene two is looking reasonable, and I’m hoping this is making sense.

I take my time writing stories, slowly fixing typos and considering word choices as I go. This story took about two weeks and nine drafts to complete. Here’s a summary of my notes:

Keep repeating the number twenty-nine; Have Sinclair call Isabel to enquire about her latest book (she hasn’t even started it); Sinclair gets pissed off with her; she checks the contract and realises her dilemma; When she calls Sinclair a subordinate answers, telling her Sinclair is unavailable and reads her history to her (backstory); Incorporate writer’s fears and a cancelled cheque from the Agency; Her computer finishes her final book all by itself: Isabel dies.

Final scene. Black umbrellas in the rain with her son playing her role almost verbatim.

And that’s all there is to it. Blank screen to completed story.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

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