Monday, February 2, 2015

Epistolary Writing

I really haven't the imagination for it, and if the author doesn't have the right combination of imagination and skill, the content could be dry or boring or just plain awful.

Back in late November or early December, I subscribed to a fic written by a skilled author. The fic is written in epistolary format and in mostly real time (the advantage of the Internet and other things) and has consistently used that tactic to brilliant advantage.

The story follows two people as they develop a friendship first via an online dating site, then via email and online chat. The kicker is, these two know each other although only one party is aware of that fact. We readers are in the know of course. We know bad things are gonna happen when the secret's out. And we can hardly wait to see it play out in Technicolor.

The author has used lack of posting (for close to two weeks once) or posting late as if she were one of the characters and the lack of response was due to whatever reason people use to miss participating including work projects, family issues, illness, etc.

This author now has hundreds of people following her story, subscribed to updates, and sqeeing or commiserating on various social media forums with each twist and turn of the tale.

Saturday was supposed to be the big, in-person meet. I, like probably every follower of this story, waited on tenterhooks all day for notification of the next chapter. We knew when the meet was supposed to happen (real time, remember), but when the hour came and went and there was nothing, many spent the day as best they could refreshing browsers, re-opening email, hoping against hope for an update that we eventually realized would come later rather than sooner. When it did come, all twenty-two words of it, the resulting reaction was like a tidal wave.

I had received an email from a fellow follower of the story at around the same time I received notification of the update (while I was sleeping). Her reaction was anger and disappointment. So much so that she unsubscribed from further notifications. Her comments gave me an impression of what had happened. However, the text itself left a lot to the imagination. My friend chose to assume the worst. I chose to assume a less violent, though no less emotionally-charged scenario. I fully expect the passage of days, at least, before the next update, while the one character deals with his emotions enough to reach out and make contact.

Only time will ultimately reveal what really happened, and the eventual resolution of the story and the relationship will be well worth the angst and the wait.

No real point to this, I guess, other than to say I'm completely invested in this story and these characters and in no small part to how the author played her hand.

To those of you writers in the group--use every tool in your writers toolbox to tell the story. This type of scenario is not limited to the fic world. There are mediums, Watt Pad for one, where you can write/post self-contained serialized stories or in conjunction with regular books in a series or box set.

Signing off until Wednesday and hoping I'll have an update before we talk again.

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