How Letter Writing Can Help Novelists

By Jason Boog Comment

Last month, writers around the world took the Month of Letters Challenge, a month-long letter writing marathon created by novelist Mary Robinette Kowal.

We interviewed Kowal on the Morning Media Menu podcast today, finding out how she wrote more than 300 letters in February. The author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass shared how a month of writing letters influenced work on her novels.

Kowal explained: “I said that people could write to Jane, the main character of my novels and I would answer using an actual quill. She’s been getting one or two letters a day. I’m glad she isn’t getting the volume I’ve been getting. It’s been a great exercise, people will ask me questions about the world that I haven’t thought about … it gives me an opportunity to let my character think of things that are outside the plot of my novel.”

She concluded with this advice for aspiring letter writers: “Writing developed to record spoken conversation. A letter is just a conversation. Don’t stress out about writing something momentous. Write about your walk to the post office or anything really that you are interested in that moment. If you go back and look at the letters of Jane Austen, she’s writing about trimming her dresses or a ball she went to. These aren’t deep, momentous letters, but we are so interested in them–because they tell us about the person who wrote them.”

Here are five more letter writing resources:

How to Find a Mailbox for Your Letter

How To Save Your Letters Online

Join the Letter Writers Alliance

Letter Writing Mix on Spotify

How Letter Writing Can Change Your Life