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The Writing of "Jefferson’s Masterpiece" has begun

Retyping the unpublished Thomas Jefferson Writes the Declaration of Independence, written in 1972 for children, was a good exercise. Even though I’ve read the story several times over the past two months, I was able to get a better look at every aspect of the story by retyping the manuscript word-for-word. While I was typing, I took the opportunity to edit and add new copy as I went along.

If you’ll please forgive me for boasting, but I am pleased how well the story was written. There’s a lot of good information and dialogue. It’s going to provide a better foundation for Jefferson’s Masterpiece than I expected.

I prefer to read novels that begin with action, instead of reading a long setup of the scene or characters. That’s the way I wrote Nick & Sadie, and I plan to do the same thing with Jefferson’s Masterpiece.

My 1972 short story begins at the point in the Declaration narrative where I plan to start the new book. Unless I change my mind later, I’m going to begin the new story with the same opening dialogue from the short story, with the edits and new material I’ve added. Here’s how I plan to begin Jefferson’s Masterpiece:

“The time has come for the American colonies to declare their independence!” exclaimed Benjamin Franklin in a louder voice than he normally speaks. “Congress has no other choice but to approve the Virginia Resolution proclaiming our freedom. When that is done, we can get on with the important business of winning the war and our right to govern ourselves.” Franklin sat reclined in his favorite chair with his foot resting on a cushioned stool. Keeping his foot elevated helped to relieve the pain from the gout he has suffered with for many years. He invited the Committee of Five to hold their first meeting in his three-story brick home that was located only a few blocks from the Pennsylvania State House.

“You are absolutely right, and we all agree with you,” John Adams said to Dr. Franklin and to the three other men sitting in Franklin’s parlor that warm June afternoon. “I hope we can convince the delegates who still do not support independence to vote with us. And it is the job of this committee to have a statement ready that clearly sets forth our reasons for breaking our ties with Great Britain.”

“We were given an important job,” added Franklin. “We must select the right man to write our declaration of independence.”

“There is only one man on this committee or in this Congress who can write the kind of statement we need,” answered Adams as his eyes settled on Thomas Jefferson. “That man is you, Thomas.” He turned in his chair so he directly faced Jefferson, who felt uncomfortable by his friend’s action. “We all know that he is an experienced and able writer.” He paused for a brief moment and then continued, “Gentlemen, I nominate Thomas for this important job.”

Next week I’ll report on how much progress I’ve made.

Thanks for reading this journal,


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