Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye | @No Wasted Ink

I was recently invited over to Wendy Van Camp’s writing blog- Nowastedink, to share an article on writing. As I have been comtemplating writing my next book (now in very rough draft) in Epistolary writing style, I thought that would be the perfect topic to write about.

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Hi Wendy, thanks so much for inviting me over again to your blog. Today I want to talk about writing in Epistolary style. What is epistolary writing? As a nonfiction/memoir writer I’ve been exploring this form of writing for a book I’ve been drafting about grief. I am seriously considering presenting the book in this form.

Epistolary writing is a style that addresses the reader through a diary format (think Bridget Jones’ Diary) or in journal or letter format. In this era of digital life, epistolary writing can also include email and blog post entries, police reports, newspaper articles and transcripts. This style involves the writer speaking directly to another person, expressing the bond in a particular relationship through the content being written, which gives the reader an intimate peek into the writer’s private self and thoughts regarding the person she is writing to, and an inside scoop into that relationship between the writer and the character being spoken to. Journal and diary entries are more contemplative writings, but there is also the method of writing strictly in dialogue. Epistolary writing is in essence writing dialogue from one’s self. It is important that the writer let the reader know to whom they are writing to. Epistolary stories can involve one or more characters the writing conversation is being directed toward.

Often, in this form of writing, the focus is more on evoking emotion, more so than a dialogue driven story. Epistolary writing is also classified as a sort of confessional-like writing, also known as monophonic point of view, letters to one specific character. It is referred as ‘dialogic’ if two people are writing letters, or, ‘polyphonic’ with three or more characters writing and receiving the letters. It is ultimately, a first-person point of view that allows the reader to get inside the writer’s thoughts. It’s a correspondence between characters or to a character. This form is a different take from third person POV where the usual plots and characters are the driving force of the storyline. Instead, the reader gets to understand the character’s interactions through what is implied by the writer.

The word -Epistolary, is derived from the noun – Epistle, which is the Greek word meaning ‘letter’. This is an actual literary genre that pertains to letters written for delivering story through personal messages from the writer to her subject(s). This format can be used as context for a relationship, friendship or even a business relationship between the writer and receiver.

Because this method of writing is a person telling, it can be written in multiple tenses. For example, the writer might go back in time with an entry and bring it up to present to invite in some tension. In most stories in other points of view writing, they are written in the classic, ‘show more, tell less’. This could be challenging to write in epistolary form because there is no narrator building a scene. But description that paints a picture to the reader can still be done. The more ‘real’ a story feels to the reader, the more they will engage in the emotion. Epistolary stories can be written in both fiction or nonfiction. . . Please continue reading at Nowastedink

Source: Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye | No Wasted Ink

©DGKaye2022

22 thoughts on “Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye | @No Wasted Ink

  1. I read the original post, Debby. Excellent. And, funnily enough, I’ve just finished reading an epistolary novel, “inspired” by Dracula…

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    1. Thanks Olga. And yes, I appreciate you saw the post before I even did! And yes, Dracula, the original, was considered written in epistolary form as well. ❤

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  2. I’ve incorporated about six letters in my current WIP, so the timing of this is fortuitous and interesting! And I’m intrigued by your project, Debby. I’m heading over to read the rest.

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  3. Hi Debby – I’ve no idea if I write this way … but my whole blog is of ‘positive letters’ – which I wouldn’t say were letters – but certainly it’s why my blog is called that … I wrote out to friends and family about my mother’s illness – people replied said they were so positive – easy thus to name the blog! But you write so well and engage us when you write – I’ll be over to continue reading … cheers Hilary

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