Character Exercise 5: Write a Letter

Exercise 5: Write a Letter
From The Writer’s Craft (Exercise #10)
Write a letter from one character to another.

My Thoughts
Fun fact: I LOVE epistolary novels. I also love books full of actual letters written by actual people. My favorites are Evelina by Frances Burney and Magdalena and Balthazar: An Intimate Portrait of Life in Sixteenth Century Europe Revealed in the Letters of a Nuremberg Husband and Wife by Steven Ozment. (Got recommendations? I’d love ’em!)

Not really the point here, but just wanted to say.

Anyway, what I love about letters is the new layer they add to a novel. It’s a distinct perspective, really, since people usually write differently than they speak, even to the same person. Applying that to my WIP was a really interesting exercise. I brainstormed for a while, and though I found several possible writers and points in the novel where a letter might come into play, one stuck out as a place where a letter would act as a catalyst for a significant arc.

Drafting the letter proved its own challenge. My heroine, who’s reading the letter, is not the intended recipient. The toughest part was deciding how much more I wanted the audience to know, and how to keep her in the dark while clueing them in.

Ah! Letters are fun!

Up Next
Déjà vu
From Brian Kiteley (Exercise #2)
Write a sketch in which a character experiences something that causes him to recall a startlingly similar past experience.


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