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The Banned Narrator-Are You An Epistolary Novelist?

Do you like to write letters to those who have meant something to you? Do people like receiving your letters? Have others said they always look forward to your letters? If you answered yes to any of the above questions you could be an Epistolary Novelist. This novel approach to fiction writing is unique in that the entire novel is composed with letters written between main characters or a solitary writer. One of the classic Epistolary Novels in Christian fiction is the Screwtape Letters by C. Lewis. In this work two demons are conversing by letter to learn ways to frustrate Christians.

These letters provided unique insight into the lives of Christians and how we respond to the world around us and the frustration we sometimes feel when dealing with other Christians. One element that is totally removed from an Epistolary Novel is the narrator. Each chapter is composes specifically of a letter from of the novel's main characters and presents a perspective unique to that author. There is no tool to lead the reader in any particular direction; they are influenced only by the words of your fictional character. Another benefit of an Epistolary Novel is that you can present many unique points of view because each letter contains a prospective unique to the fictional author.

It may be difficult to think about how to manage a series of letters, you must learn how to take your plot and direction through the use of one or more voices. You have to work at keeping the characters and voices separated so each letter (chapter) bears the unique stamp of the character you have developed. It is possible to develop an Epistolary Novel using only one character. In this scenario the novel may read much like a journal with an entire series of events being passed along in a time stamped dateline. You will find there are several issues in the story that may not be resolved in subsequent letters. It may be several letters before an issue addressed in one letter is finally clarified. The intent is to present a realistic representation of the manner in which letter writing takes place. A few authors have used the Epistolary Novel approach using email correspondence instead of standard form letters, but the truth is you can set your work of fiction in virtually any time period you choose.


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