Writing an epistolary novel

Monologic narratives present the correspondence of one character; dialogic narratives present the correspondence between two characters; and polylogic narratives present the correspondence among three or more characters. Recently, writers also use electronic documents like emails, blogs, radio broadcast, and recordings.

Though the usual format of epistolary is letters, writers sometimes use other forms of writing an epistolary novel such as newspaper clippings and diary entries.


Although Jane Austen tried her hand at the epistolary in juvenile writings and her novella Lady Susanshe abandoned this structure for her later work. A mailed letter might take days or weeks to reach a destination while plot points continue to evolvewhile an email might be instantly accessed or caught in a spam filter.

Click to share on Pocket Opens in new window In the current world of electronic communication, epistolary looks more like an online weapons outlet than its much tamer true self.

How to Write an Effective Epistolary Narrative

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot is a series of ten novels written in the form of diary entries. It is less generally realized that his Letters to Malcolm: However, in the film adaptation of this novel, these letters echoed through the monologues of characters.

How to Write an Epistolary Novel

The letters she sends into the ether are a balm, her only hope of expressing everything in her heart and mind to the people in her life who are just as distant and silent as God.

Additionally, the actual form of the correspondence can add its own form of tension: Although we see the dialogic form in a lot romance novels it works for any two characters involved in a complicated relationship. What better method is there than the letter, which offers a pure freedom of unjudged expression, an unleashing of the loop of thoughts in our minds, since no one will read these words unless the letter-writer is willing.

Love them or hate them, please share your thoughts in the comments.

In Praise of the Epistolary Novel

This is an unusual element, as most epistolary novels present the documents without questions about how they were gathered.

It goes without saying that the more characters that an epistolary narrative has, the more complicated it becomes for the writer to create proper tension in the story arc, without confusing the reader.

6 Tips for Writing an Epistolary Novel

Most epistolary novels feature one voice monologic such as with a diary based narrative. As emails, tweets and Facebook pages expand our social networks and redefine our friendships, we should expect the epistolary novel to infiltrate literature in new and exciting ways.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article. Build Tension Tension is important in all stories, but is much more difficult for the writer to construct in dialogic and polylogic narratives.

In this novel, Pamela attempts to run away from her lecherous master, Mr. Letters also work great if the person communicating to your protagonist is from the past. Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin Desperation is certainly at the heart of the epistolary communication written by a wife to her husband in the wake of the horrendous crime carried out by their son.

An epistolary novel still needs to have a narrative arc, and like a chapter, each letter must advance the plot in some way. The narrators of this novel are protagonists, who supplement it with newspaper clippings to relate different events.

Epistolary novel

In the late 19th century, Bram Stoker released one of the most widely recognized and successful novels in the epistolary form to date, Dracula. Writing the epistolary novel takes planning, and a great timeline.

True this is not totally realistic — every day we all move from email, to Twitter, to Instagram, and back again without getting lost — but varying the formats opens the door to confusion. It is also important in polylogic narration because the reader will not otherwise know which character is writing to whom.

However, it can also make the narrative seem disjointed if the writer uses too many different perspectives without properly introducing and connecting them. In all cases the voice is critical. More posts you might like.From Samuel Richardson’s Pamela to Jerry Spinelli’s Love, Stargirl, the epistolary format continues to be popular in literature.

Having just finished reading Spinelli’s novel, I thought that I might share six tips for successfully writing an epistolary novel.

While the word 'epistolary' is an adjective meaning 'of or related to letters', epistolary writing uses forms like letters, diary and journal entries, and other types of documents, to tell a story. Epistolary novel: Epistolary novel, a novel told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters.

Originating with Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (), the story of a servant girl’s victorious struggle against her master’s attempts to seduce her, it was one of the earliest.

In the current world of electronic communication, epistolary looks more like an online weapons outlet than its much tamer true self. Then again, poisoned letters are at the heart of many great works of literature, and letters in general have had the power to upset, alter and even ruin lives, the.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, penned by American novelist Stephen Chbosky, is a good example of a modern monologic epistolary novel, because it consists entirely of the main character’s letters to an anonymous recipient. An epistolary narrative uses a series of documents such as diary entries, letters, blog entries or emails to tell a particular story.

The story unfolds in the documents, giving the reader an intimate glimpse into the private lives of its characters. Epistolary writing was a popular technique used by numerous 18th and.

Writing an epistolary novel
Rated 3/5 based on 78 review