Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye

Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

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.

In summation, epistolary writing should be authentic, engaging to draw the reader into the emotion of the story, and it should not include any explanations or backstory.

One famous known book written in epistolary form is:
The Diary of Anne Frank, where the young Anne wrote in her diary, Dear Kitty, through her hiding during most of WWII, and ultimately, her capture in the Holocaust.

Just a few more to mention of many more contemporary novels:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, where his story is told through letters in this coming-of-age story.

Permission by SD Chrostowska, told in a one-way correspondence consisting of anonymous emails sent from the author to a famous (ghost writer) visual artist.

The Beatrice Letter (part of the Unfortunate Events series) by Lemony Snicket, written in notes and letters.

The Screwtape Letters, a satire, originally written in 1942 by C.S. Lewis written in letters by the demon Screwtape who writes letters to his novice demon nephew Wormwood, a government worker residing in hell, directing his nephew on how to best tempt humans to be led astray.

The Color Purple, Pulitzer Prize Winner by Alice Walker, writes to her sister and Dear God diary entries by the protagonist, Celie.

Most recently, The Martian, written by Andy Weir. His character Mark Watney logs in journal form about being stranded on Mars. (Played by Matt Damon in the movie version.)

In my own book on grief, I’m planning on writing as the widow I’ve become, writing to my beloved husband who has recently passed on.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this not so common form of writing style.

©DGKaye2022

Debby Gies is a Canadian non-fiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of DG Kaye. She is born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. DG Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart, and women’s issues, hoping to empower others.

She loves to tell stories that have lessons in them and hopes to empower others by sharing her own experiences. She writes raw and honest, hoping that others can relate and find that we always have a choice to move from a negative space to a positive. We need only the courage to take the leap.

Awards
christoff-fischer best non-fiction award – Have Bags, Will Travel
Gold Star Award cover art-words we carry from thebookdesigner.com
dgkayewriter.com/awards

Links
WEBSITE
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
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AMAZON

SCIFAIKU: Take The Close Approach

A Scifaiku Poem by Wendy Van Camp

dodge radiation
humans reach for god of war
take the close approach

It is a rare and special event when a new scifaiku poetry magazine appears on the scene. I am honored to be published in the inaugural issue of “The Starlight Scifaiku Review”. The poem series of “Close Approach” came about twofold, one inspiration was an image sent back by Curiosity from the surface of Mars. Overhead was a beautiful display of the Milky Way galaxy. This combined with my Mars research about the steps to colonize the red planet. When Earth and Mars are at their closest point, their “close approach”, that is the moment when colonists should depart. It happens only once every couple of years. This is where I took the title of the series from.

This poem is a part of the scifaiku poetry series “Close Approach” that appeared in “The Starlight Scifaiku Review” in the Fall of 2021 and was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize for Poetry.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! Are you ready for more writing links from No Wasted Ink? This week I not only have great craft articles for you, but a few on the life of writers as well. I hope you enjoy them!


Finding Me: Towards Self-Actualization in Writing

Marketing Ethics: Selling Doesn’t Have to Be Sleazy (5 Real-World Examples)

10 Facts You May Not Know About Jane Austen and Her Novels

Trust the Magic

Create Your Own Writing Space at Home

Characters, Cultures, and Groups

The 6 Challenges of Writing a Second Novel

Narrative Perspectives, Which Will Serve Your Story Best?

Does My Protagonist Have to Solve the Problem?

What is Rhythmic Writing?

Dwarf Star Nomination for Poet Wendy Van Camp

I’m pleased to announce that one of my scifaiku poems from 2021 has been nominated for a Dwarf Star Award and accepted into the upcoming Dwarf Star anthology. This is the first time I’ve been nominated for this award and I’m honored to make the cut this year.

What is a Dwarf Star? It is the Rhysling equivalent for micro poetry via the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. Poems that are 10 lines and under are eligible. Since I specialize in Scifaiku and haiku astropoetry, this is the category that I usually fall under come award time. The nominated poems are published in an anthology once a year and from these poems, the ultimate winner of the Dwarf Star Awards are selected.

My nominated scifaiku is from the poem sequence “The Last Journey” which appeared in “Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry, Vol. 2” during April of 2021. The poem is about the study of the death of the universe using AI to simulate our universe and the effects of dark matter. (Something that is still waiting to be proven to be real and hence, what makes the sequence of poems science fiction.)

Eccentric Orbits 2

Eccentric Orbits 3 Available on Amazon

Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry, Vol. 3

As editor of “Eccentric Orbits 3”, I am proud to announce that our anthology is available in both paperback and ebook on Amazon. I am honored to be supported by so many distinguished speculative poets.

AMAZON

The function of speculative poetry is to engage the mind to a new understanding, not rehearse the past or the ordinary. This anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry explores new concepts, folklore, myth, and the fantastic, by some of the most exciting, speculative poets of our time. Discover the insights of these contemporary wordsmiths that are surging from the pages of science fiction into the reality of our world.

This speculative poetry anthology is perfect as a gift for poetry lovers, readers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror literature or to complete your own book collections.

Speculative Poets represented in this anthology:
JANUARY BAIN * STEWART C BAKER * ROBERT BEVERIDGE * CATHERINE BROGDON * FARUK BUZHALA * DALE CHAMPLIN * LINDA M. CRATE * BILLIE DEE * KENDALL EVANS * GARY EVERY * MARK A. FISHER * JEAN-PAUL L. GARNIER * LEE GARRATT * KEN GOUDSWARD * FIN HALL * MICHAEL HOFFMAN * DEBORAH L. KELLY * DEBORAH P. KOLODJI * DAVID C. KOPASKA-MERKEL * BLAISE LANGLOIS * GERRI LEEN * RICHARD MAGAHIZ * JACK MASSA * ALLENE NICHOLS * MICHELLE OUCHAREK-DEO * RK RUGG * RYFKAH * JUSTIN SLOANE * JOSHUA ST. CLAIRE * SEAN STUBBLEFIELD * REX SWEENY * LISA TIMPF * LAMONT TURNER * WENDY VAN CAMP * MIKE VAN HORN * RUTH E. WALKER * TD WALKER * LYNN WHITE * JEFF YOUNG

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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