Monday, July 1, 2019

Don’t Underestimate a Good Epistle

By Rachel Fordham, author of Yours Truly, Thomas

My upcoming release Yours Truly, Thomas allowed me to explore a new type of writing and I have to admit I loved it. Letters are exchanged periodically throughout this story and I want to share some things I learned and came to appreciate about utilizing this form of storytelling.

Letters allow the writer to switch from third person point of view to first. A character that sits down and writes a letter changes the narrative and can add variety for the reader. The experience can go from somewhat distant- watching the action- to being right there in the characters head. It can get so deep as them penning exactly how something made them feel. The anguish or joy they are feeling can come across in a personal and profound way.

Letters allow us to move time along quickly. There are times when we as the author need to hit some important events but don’t want to bog the story down by writing about the mundane daily happenings of our characters. By utilizing letter writing we can skip ahead in time in natural ways.
Letters can be swoon worthy in a way that’s unique for the reader. Done right it can almost feel as though the words were just for them. Love letters have been around as long there’s been the written word including them in our writing can make not only your characters heart flutter but your readers as well!

Letters can naturally weave in backstory in a fresh way. A character writing to his mother or friend might include something about their shared past. By using the letter format it’s possible to quickly show not only what happened but how it made them feel since the letter would be written in a first person deep and sometimes vulnerable point of view.

Letters can be a unique way of throwing two people together or tearing them apart. A lost letter, a letter falling in the wrong hands, an old letter full of troublesome information etc. There are countless ways to include the use of letters to add variety to a story or to propel it in whatever direction you need it to go.

I recognize that epistles do not fit in every story. Forcing a character to write a love letter when he doesn’t read or write or have access to paper is absurd. But if you have a character that does have paper handy and you feel something is missing in your writing don’t be afraid to explore the possibility of them writing to someone. After all, who doesn’t love getting mail?
Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. Finally she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing, and she hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington. Her Social Media:

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