Home Forums Fiction Writing General Writing Discussions Writing Letters Within a Book

This topic contains 24 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Emma Flournoy 2 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #53929

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 695

    Hey Everyone! So I am currently working on a story, and I need some advice. In the story, my MC, who is working on the gold fields of California, is receiving letters from his family back home. These letters are from his siblings and mother. I’m having trouble figuring out how to write and structure the letters. What should they talk about? There isn’t any really important news so what should be the topic(s) of the letters? I don’t receive very many letters myself, so I’m trying to figure out what people, who have no other way of communicating, talk about through the mail. Any suggestions?

    @daeus, @that_writer_girl_99, @salome01w4g, @epicaddie2, @ingridrd, @daughteroftheking, @aratrea, @ethryndal, @dragon-snapper, @kate-flournoy, @anyone_else_with_advice

    MBTI: ENTP
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    #53930

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 695

    @seekjustice, forgot to tag you. See above.

    MBTI: ENTP
    Dreamer, singer, & avid reader

    #53932

    Dekreel
    @dekreel
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @shannon I like writing my friends and relatives a lot, so if someone close to me went working in a gold mine, I’d ask him (or her, I’m just gonna say him ๐Ÿ™‚ ) how he’s doing, and that I miss him. I’d ask him what the people there are like, and if he has made new friends. Also I’d ask how the weather is, and how it differs from where he used to live. After that I’d tell him how I’m doing, and anything new, big or small, that has happened since he left.

    The letters don’t ALL have to ask and sayย everything that I just said. You can even add more things to it! Letters can containย anything.

    Also, if more than one person is sending your character letters, be sure the different personalities show through them! You wouldn’t want three letters from three different people that all sound the same, right?

    That’s the best advice I can give you. Let me you if you have questions! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  Dekreel.

    Pronounced DEE-kreel. Daydreamer, Expert Whovian, ENFP-T.
    Writing a KeePer Adventure!

    #53934

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @dekreel, Thank you! Especially the part about the personalities is really helpful!

    MBTI: ENTP
    Dreamer, singer, & avid reader

    #53936

    Dekreel
    @dekreel
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @shannon My pleasure!! I love writing letters ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Pronounced DEE-kreel. Daydreamer, Expert Whovian, ENFP-T.
    Writing a KeePer Adventure!

    #53943

    Sam Kowal
    @sam-kowal
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
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    @shannon Historically, moving mail was kind of a long process. People had to trek it a long ways to get to its destination, without a fast means of transportation. Plus, a lot of the poorer people couldn’t afford to send a lot of letters. In a rural area (like the gold fields of California would have been early on) it could be kind of tricky to get mail. So, people didn’t get letters a lot- which made them special. Probably you wouldn’t have seen you relatives for a really long time, so they’d be asking you how you were in the letter, and what your fortunes were. In the gold mines, they’d be asking you how much gold you’d obtained, and whether you’d secured some good housing and a food supply. Even if there wasn’t a lot of important news from home, you’d probably miss your family a lot. So they’d just tell you about the little things that had happened, and how they were doing. A lot of rural communities were close-knit, and so if your relatives sent you a letter hey’d probably include tidbits and hellos from your friends or people you had known back home.
    Usually, letters in books are pretty short, at least the books I’ve read. Longer letters, like the one in Pride and Prejudice, usually have a specific point or element that moves the story along, but if the letters are just to say hi, I don’t think you have to make them overly long.

    #53947

    Alia
    @alia
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
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    @shannon, I would add more but I thinkย @sam-kowal pretty much covered it

    A KP Ranger and Sister of the Herons
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    mirakrin.wordpress.com

    #53978

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 695

    @sam-kowal That is extremely helpful! Thank you so much!

    @alia Thanks for your input!

    MBTI: ENTP
    Dreamer, singer, & avid reader

    #53980

    Louise Fowler
    @perfectfifths
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    I don’t usually put letters in books, because I haven’t had the need to. ๐Ÿ˜› But I would think that, if the letter wasn’t of much significant importance to the plot, then you might not even need to write out the letter in the story. You can tell in the narrative the character got a letter that day, maybe summarise the general basics of what it said, and leave it at that.

    If there is an important plot point, say, it’s telling how a relative dies, and the MC begins to wonder if he should return home, then you would probably put that part, if not all of the letter in.

    Another thing you could do is have your character read it to his friends, if he wants to share. For example, his sister writes how she’s had a baby, and he wants to share the great news with his friends that he’s an uncle. Or maybe his brother got married. That would be something you would want to share out loud, and if you did that, there would be no need to write out the actual letter.

    Hope this was helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo

    #54014

    Silverclaw Bonnetfolly
    @silverclaw-bonnetfolly
    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
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    Going along with what @sam-kowal said, if letters took forever to get somewhere they might also write the letter for a week or so just to get everything into the letter as they aren’t going to write another one for a while.

    #54019

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 695

    @silverclaw-bonnetfolly Yes, that is a good point. Can you imagine not hearing from your family for 6 months or more?

    MBTI: ENTP
    Dreamer, singer, & avid reader

    #54020

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 695

    @perfectfifths Oh yes, that is a good point also. There are some things in the letters that are pretty important to the plot. Having him read it to a friend, hmm. Ooh, that might help a lot! Thanks!

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  Shannon.

    MBTI: ENTP
    Dreamer, singer, & avid reader

    #54030

    Dragon Snapper
    @dragon-snapper
    • Rank: Chosen One
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    @shannon I am a little late, but I hope not by too much. ๐Ÿ˜€

    So…letters eh? Um… With some of my letters I like to talk about what I’ve been working on recently. If your characters are Christians, they can talk a bit about God too. Also, big events, even if its something that only in the news. Coal mine news is certainly interesting. There cold be some corruption among the mine owners that your miner writer could be annoyed about. That is, if he replies.

    Also, they could share music, personal accomplishments, and stories of when they were young. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I hope this helps!

    *melts chair*

    #54033

    Shannon
    @shannon
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 695

    @dragon-snapper That is very helpful! Especially the personal accomplishments part. That will help a ton. Thanks so much!

    MBTI: ENTP
    Dreamer, singer, & avid reader

    #54052

    SeekJustice
    @seekjustice
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @shannon sorry I’ve been meaning to reply to this for ages. I write to a lot of people all over the place, usually they live a couple pf hours to weeks away. I ask how they are, how they’re family is. If they mentioned something in an earlier letter (like they were having an exam or something) i try to ask how that went. I ask what books or movies they have seen or read lately. I answer their questions. I mention things I did or am going to do. Mention prayer points or ask if they have any. That’s the sort of thing I put in my letters.

    Since even today the post is slow (much slower than email ) and back then it would take weeks or even months to arrive,there would be a lot of things to mention and news wouldn’t travel fast. I hope that helps a bit!

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