Thursday, 25 February 2016

'E' is for The Epistolary Form

I genuinely struggled to think of something for the letter 'E'. 

(She's not joking. We almost ended up going with enemies.)

And what's wrong with that?

(Let me count the ways. One. It's generic. Two. It's ridiculously broad. Three -)

I get it already!

The epistolary form is far harder to pronounce than it is to understand. Epistolary is basically just what we call stories that incorporate newspaper articles, diary entries, letters, emails, text messages, blog posts and the like into them. 

Sometimes with the epistolary form, the reader is not treated as the primary audience of the story. Instead, the protagonist is addressing another fictional character through letters, shared diary entries, etc. This can lead to the protagonist being an unreliable narrator if they have something to hide from the recipient.

The epistolary form in literature -
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is essentially one long letter from Robert Walton to his sister.
  • All of Karen McCombie's Ally's World and Stella Etc. novels. Ally was writing letters for her missing mother to read when she finally came home, whilst Stella was sending emails to her friend, Frankie. 
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple is apparently made up of everything from emails to secret letters.