Epistolary Novels and What’s Up with this Blog?!

19 Feb

I haven’t been posting to the Chimney much, recently.  Partly, I haven’t found any topics I found myself passionate enough and knowledgeable enough about to post on.  Partly I’ve just been busy with other things than literature, and I haven’t had the chance to read much lately.

But!  While I still don’t have much time for reading and really thinking about the state of literature, I am going to be posting here more often and more regularly.

What do I mean by that?

Well, literature posts will still be few and far between, but I am going to be posting excerpts from a work in progress for your delectation or frothing ridicule.  Normally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to post work publicly online that one hopes to someday maybe get published.  However, events have conspired to throw me in a new direction in my writing, and that direction meshes wonderfully with the blog format.

I’m talking about epistolary novels, people: my favorite new non-standard format for stories.  I think they are awesome and that we should have more of them.  So I’m going to write one (or a few), and share them with the whole internet in a serial format.  There’s going to be smoke coming out of this chimney again, and hopefully a roaring blaze of a novel to generate it for me.

Once a week–or more often if I feel like it, I am going to post a letter(chapter) from my current WIP, most brilliantly and creatively entitled: “Love Letters”.  It’s a secondary-world,  pseudo-historical, steampunk coming-of-age/YA novel with a complicated political backdrop written entirely as an exchange of letters between two male cousins of no great importance, separated by a war and an imperialist occupation, and containing no particular focus on romance.  First letter will probably be posted sometime before next Sunday.  I’m really curious to see how it pans out.

For research, I pulled together this list of the 25 best modern epistolary novels everyone should read:

1. The White Tiger
2. Love, Rosie/Where Rainbows End
3. Nothing but the Truth
4. So Long a Letter
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
6. House of Leaves
7. Up the Down Staircase
8. Last Days of Summer
9. Almost Like Being in Love
10. Eleven
11. Letters from the Inside
12. Letters of Insurgents
13. Super Sad True Love Story
14. The Key
15. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
16. Upstate
17. The Communist’s Daughter
18. Sorcery and Cecilia
19. The Nobodies Album
20. Which Brings Me To You
21. The Boy Next Door
22. Dear Everybody
23. Freedom and Necessity
24. Purple and Black

25. Voices of a Distant Star*

The last one is technically an animated short film, but it was the only real science fiction example I could find, and is also brilliant, especially for being created independently on a home computer.

Epistolary novels are those told all or in part as a series of documents, most commonly letters but also e-mails, news clippings, internal memos, IMs, social networking posts and message board threads, and many more.  They were most popular in the 1800s and have since died back, but this list tells me they are not dead yet, and I hope they never are.

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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Love Letters


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