Blackwood Correspondence: A Letter from Rigel Rinkenbach to Pixie Sinclaire, On the Occasion of Her 25th Birthday

I’ve spent the last week doing some light editing of what I plan to be my next novel, The Adventures of Pixie Sinclaire. In it, Pixie finds Rigel Rinkenbach’s lab, which is covered with scraps of paper full of encrypted writings. She reflects on his birthday cards to her, which were also encrypted. This set me thinking about what kind of a birthday card a man like Rigel Rinkenbach would give. What follows is a bit of a character building exercise:


My dearest Miss Sinclaire:

Your hair is Red

Your eyes are Blue

Absinthe is Greene

I like it.

Apologies for drinking your birthday present, my dear!


Sir Rigel Rinkenbach


Pixie’s response:


My eyes are green. And my birthday was two months ago. To be completely fair, it took me a month to decode your poem, but you were still late. This is the second time you’ve done this, and you know what they say about fooling someone twice. Or maybe you don’t…I can rarely tell with you.

Goodbye, Rigel.




My Lovely Miss Sinclaire:

Does this mean next Tuesday just opened up?


Sir Rigel Rinkenbach


Mr. Rinkenbach:

Yes. Though I figure “Next Tuesday” is now “Last Tuesday”.

Pixie Sinclaire


My Wonderful Miss Sinclaire:

Huzzah! The rate at which you cracked my previous cipher was most impressive! Are you entirely positive you want to end things now?


Sir Rigel Rinkenbach


Pixie never wrote back. Rigel considered this fact as something of a victory, figuring he’d finally come up with an encryption no one could break. He then sent a sensitive wire using this encryption. It was intercepted, broken within a month, and led to a third party appropriating the plans for his newest invention. Luckily, once this third party built the thing, they had no idea what it was. Had they figured it out, however, the result would have been disastrous.

Writing challenge: Write a series of letters between two (or several) characters in a story you’ve written. Stay in character. Don’t engage in exposition. Have them discuss things in a manner as people who are already familiar with a subject, and let the reader fill in the gaps. Let their thoughts on the subject and each other come through in their tone and attitude, rather than outright expression. Consider how their character comes through in the way they open and close a letter (are they formal, or casual? Is the character uneducated? In writing a letter, would they misspell anything (make it apparent that this is the case, and an intentional decision on your part as an author)? Post the results to your blog, and let me know! I’d love to read them!

Blackwood Correspondence: A Letter from Rigel Rinkenbach to Pixie Sinclaire, On the Occasion of Her 25th Birthday

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