PROJECT TWO: EPISTOLARY FICTION
WHAT IS IT?
For this assignment, you will write a two-page (12 point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced) story in the form of a letter. The connection between the recipient and purpose in writing the letter should be composed with care and alluded to within the story in a way that serves the plot.
IN GREATER DETAIL:
Epistolary fiction, or stories written in the form of letters, are one of the oldest forms of storytelling. Perhaps this is because the letter-writer is always making clear choices about composition—which details to include and how to arrange them to achieve the desired response from the recipient. In epistolary fiction, the letter- writer and the recipient are characters in the story. Figuring out what their relationship is like, what the letter-writer hopes to accomplish and what the letter-writer expects the letter’s recipient to do is part of the fun of reading this kind of fiction. Writing a story like this can help you learn about the subtler nuances of how letter-writing works. It is no mere coincidence that epistolary fiction often contains secrets, hidden meanings, or detective plots. Consider the fact that Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was written as a series of letters and diary entries! Use the assigned readings by Vladimir Nabokov and George Saunders to gain a clearer understanding of how epistolary fiction works. If you get stuck and have a hard time figuring out what to write about, you could always draft a response to the either of their stories, as if you were the recipient of the letters contained in “That in Aleppo Once…” and “Love Letter.” You might also consider using the letter you discovered and wrote to a classmate about last week for Letter 5 as the inspiration for a fictional letter, either drafting a fictional version of that letter or drafting a response. Another idea would be to write a fictional letter to Benjamin Rush or Adelaide Brent.
FURTHER SUGGESTIONS: Be imaginative! Pay attention to voice! This is creative work, but it is also one that will benefit from putting some thought into the structure: keep in mind that most short stories are about something that happens, or someone that changes between the beginning and end of the story. What happens in your story? Why did you choose to write in this particular voice, to this particular person and not in a different voice to someone else? What does the narrator hope to accomplish with their letter, and what is the best way to frame what they want to do so that the recipient of the letter will understand?
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET A GOOD GRADE?