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Plot - The Letter

Updated: 1 day ago

Interior of a bookstore shot with a wide-angle lens. There are wooden shelves filled with books, a young man flipping through a text, and a bright display case facing the street.

Drama | Santiago de Chile, 2022

Main characters

Sergio Dan is an elderly bookseller who owns a small neighborhood bookstore. Years earlier Sergio lost both his wife and only son in a train wreck. He lives alone and has as his only friends books, about which he has extensive knowledge. He rarely returns to the small apartment he owns a few blocks away, preferring to live in the back of his small store.

He spends his days waiting for an end that he perhaps longs for as a deliverance. He is helped at the store by Fred a nice young man who would rather help old Sergio for little money and be among his beloved books than work in the factory like his peers. To the bookstore's few customers both are considered good, honest, kind-hearted people.

The call to adventure

During a sleepless winter night, Sergio begins reading an old used book. Inside, he discovers an envelope containing a letter that was never mailed: it was written by a young man confessing to his beloved that he has decided to leave her and move away. He states that theirs was a great love, that he will have no other, but that he could not have offered her anything without adding more.

The letter greatly impresses Sergio, who wonders what the consequences of that non-sending had been. Both the sender and the addressee are indicated on the envelope, so the search does not seem to be complex. He would like to shelve the idea but it is Fred himself who invites him to the adventure, pursuing the romantic aspect of discovery.

The conflict

Thus, through the letter Sergio rediscovers an incentive to live and get out of his workshop. However, this is not an easy feat due to both his age and his lack of habit of moving in the modern world and using technology. After Sergio's first unsuccessful attempts, Fred realizes that he must stay by the bookseller's side. Neither researching nor running the bookstore is simple, nor is agreeing on how to act.

The key

Sergio and Fred will first discover that the young author of the letter was a professor who had suddenly abandoned everything: work, acquaintances, family members. The search will lead the two to an old hospital where they will discover that the young man was seriously ill, only to die. Sergio's doubt is whether to track down the woman as well and reveal the discovery to her.

After a troubled night and an argument with Fred, Sergio decides to try. He manages to track down the woman, but unfortunately she died a few years earlier. However, he will meet her daughter, and in the confrontation they discover the misunderstanding: the mother had rebuilt her life, and the man who wrote to her was not her lover but the father who abandoned her.

Plot alternatives

This plot needs an initial misunderstanding (the letter in our case). Created the situation is easily placed in other places or other times. Even the professions of the main characters are easily changed. The important thing is to create an increasing tension that pushes the reader forward: the more difficult the task of discovering the past, the more the effect will be achieved.


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