Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Letters (hand-written!)

When is the last time you received a letter from a friend? A long, handwritten letter with lots of fun, juicy news. I used to write letters all the time and had quite a relationship with my mailbox.

I’ve also written a letter of resignation when I quit a job and a letter of recommendation for a boss. There are also welcome letters, letters of appreciation, letters of apology , collection letters, letters of invitation, marketing letters, letters of rejection (all writers know about those), letters of inquiry, and poison pen letters.

When I’m beginning a new manuscript and need to write a synopsis or outline for my own benefit, I’ll write it in letter form, as if I’m telling my story to a friend. It might go like this:

Dear Lynn, I’m working on a story about Laura Majors, a women who is agoraphobic. She got that way because she witnessed her best friend being attacked outside her apartment in the parking lot. Laura grabbed a plant stand and ran outside to beat the guy off her friend. Now she won’t leave her apartment and her heart pounds every time she peeks out her window. When the newspaper reports another attack, Laura always wonders if it’s the same guy.
Yes, I’m working on this story.
Sometimes I'll write letters from a character's point of view telling me things I don't know about him or her. You might be surprised the things that come from your characters in letter form.
I love getting letters and didn’t realize how much I miss writing them until I met Lynn O. by visiting her blog. Now, Lynn and I handwrite letters to each other. She’s a born letter-writer! Explore her blog here: 

Do you write letters? Want to write me one?



Alison Miller said...

Great post! I'm a huge emailer, but I do enjoy looking back at letters I've received from friends years ago and wish sometimes that people would still do more of that.

Nice to meet you through A-Z!

Lynn said...

Awww, thanks Jess. I did receive your letter (just been busy so I haven't written back yet although it's only been a few days, however, I usually like to write back the day I get the letter). As you know, I always hand write letters as I absolutely LOVE it.

Sylvia Ney said...

Oooh - a letter FROM your character could be fun. I need to try this. You always have such great ideas!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I think that is a very effective way to get a story started. When you can't get going, you just pretend you are telling it to a friend. It works! And I LOVE handwritten letters and notes -what a lost art. When I find old letters written by family members, they mean so much more. Personality is conveyed through handwriting too. I try to write handwritten letters when it's a really meaningful situation especially.

Pat Carroll Marcantel said...

I just received a letter from a dear friend who moved away several years ago--"all" the way to New Orleans. Her letter was such a pleasant surprise. Yes, letters are special and your idea here is special too.

Cherie Reich said...

I don't write letters often, but it's more to do with the fact that I can type faster than I can write by hand. My mom writes letters all the time, though.

I love your idea to write a letter for what your book is about. :)

Kathy said...

I love getting letters, too. Maybe that's why at Christmas, when the older aunts and sibling still sent Christmas cards, it's so much fun.

You have an amazing blog and I somehow don't think you'll be making jewellrey anytime soon.

I did't realize gene Hackman was also an author. My husband likes westerns and mysteries...maybe I'll get one of his books for him.

I too have long been looking into our own family tree. So nice to meet you.
You might like my'M' post.
Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

Inger said...

My handwriting has gotten so bad over the years that I think it best to type my letters. My friends and I write little cards to each other often. It always touches my heart when I get a handwritten note card from a friend. Thanks for deciding to follow my blog, I am so glad you did. And I'm now following yours.

Editor and Publisher Shelly Burke said...

I love getting handwritten letters! This year I've been trying to send encouraging letters--anonymously--once a week or so. Since I don't sign them I don't know if the people who get them, enjoy them...but I enjoy doing it.

I type faster than I write so if I have more than a few sentences to write, I usually do that.

I like your blog! I've found a lot of good ones on the A to Z Challenge.

James R Tate said...

Jess, I can't even read my own handwriting. I can picture you calling me on the phone so I could translate the letter. If it wasn't for WORD programs I would never have written a book. Sorry, but it's better this way. Trust me!

Misha Gericke said...

Hahahaha I don't think I've ever hand-written a letter for anyone. Except this one chain letter. And all I did was add my name to the bottom. :-P

Might be a nice thing to try.

jnana said...

I miss hand-written letters. When I was young, my father used to live in a different country and we corresponded through the post. Humanity is losing alot more than they think with emailing: there is nothing that can replace the touch of the same paper your sender touched, the handwriting, the envelope and stamp, the wait in anticipation for a reply..