Continued writing

Most epistolary writing has some kind of foreword, preface or prologue from the editor, or similar (for increased suspension of disbelief).

This is the preface to Song of Kali by Dan Simmons:

Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist. Some cities are too wicked to be suffered. Calcutta is such a place. Before Calcutta I would have laughed at such an idea. Before Calcutta I did not believe in evil — certainly not as a force separate from the actions of men. Before Calcutta I was a fool.

After the Romans had conquered the city of Carthage, they killed the men, sold the women and children into slavery, pulled down the great buildings, broke up the stones, burned the rubble, and salted the earth so that nothing would ever grow there again. That is not enough for Calcutta. Calcuttashould be expunged.

Before Calcutta I took part in marches against nuclear weapons. Now I dream of nuclear mushroom clouds rising above a city. I see buildings melting into lakes of glass. I see paved streets flowing like rivers of lava and real rivers boiling away in great gouts of steam. I see human figures dancing like burning insects, like obscene praying mantises sputtering and bursting against a fiery red background of total destruction.

The city is Calcutta. The dreams are not unpleasant.

Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist.


”Today everything happens in Calcutta . . .
Who should I blame?”

— Sankha Ghosh

”Don’t go, Bobby,” said my friend. ”It’s not worth it.”

It was June of 1977, and I had come down to New York from New Hampshire in order to finalize the details of the  Calcutta trip with my editor at Harper’s. Afterward I decided to drop in to see my friend Abe Bronstein. The modest uptown office building that housed our little literary magazine, Other Voices, looked less than impressive after several hours of looking down on Madison Avenue from the rarefied heights of the suites at Harper’s.
Abe was in his cluttered office, alone, working on the autumn issue of Voices. The windows were open, but the air in the room was as stale and moist as the dead cigar that Abe was chewing on. ”Don’t go to Calcutta, Bobby,” Abe said again. ”Let someone else do it.”


Task 1

Write a preface to your epistolary short story.

After 20 minutes. Read aloud.


Task 2

Increase drama. New entry in your epistolary novel. We jump to the yellow


Byronic hero

Split hero. Good and bad in one. Moody. Mixed emotion in reader toward character.

Storytelling terminology

Frame story


Analepsis: ”flashing back” to an earlier point in the story

Prolepsis: flash forward or hinting at something in the future. A clip giving examples.


Gothic elements include the following:

1. Setting in a castle, ruin, asylum, church yard, bell tower, museum, tomb, mosque, church, wind mill, wild nature
2. An atmosphere of mystery and suspense.The work is pervaded by a threatening feeling, a fear enhanced by the unknown.
4. Omens, portents, visions.
5. Supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events.
7. Women in distress.
8. Women threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male.

Imagery of the Gothic

wind, especially howling rain, especially blowing
doors grating on rusty hinges sighs, moans, howls, eerie sounds
footsteps approaching clanking chains
lights in abandoned rooms gusts of wind blowing out lights
characters trapped in a room doors suddenly slamming shut
ruins of buildings baying of distant dogs (or wolves?)
thunder and lightning crazed laughter

Vocabulary of the Gothic

diabolical, enchantment, ghost, goblins, haunted, infernal, magic, magician, miracle, necromancer, omens, ominous, portent, preternatural, prodigy, prophecy, secret, sorcerer, spectre, spirits, strangeness, talisman, vision
Fear, Terror, or Sorrow
afflicted, affliction, agony, anguish, apprehensions, apprehensive, commiseration, concern, despair, dismal, dismay, dread, dreaded, dreading, fearing, frantic, fright, frightened, grief, hopeless, horrid, horror, lamentable, melancholy, miserable, mournfully, panic, sadly, scared, shrieks, sorrow, sympathy, tears, terrible, terrified, terror, unhappy, wretched
alarm, amazement, astonished, astonishment, shocking, staring, surprise, surprised, thunderstruck, wonder
anxious, breathless, flight, frantic, hastened, hastily, impatience, impatient, impatiently, impetuosity, precipitately, running, sudden, suddenly
anger, angrily, choler, enraged, furious, fury, incense, incensed, provoked, rage, raving, resentment, temper, wrath, wrathful, wrathfully
enormous, gigantic, giant, large, tremendous, vast
Darkness dark, darkness, dismal, shaded, black, night


2 reaktioner till “Continued writing”

  1. Preface

    Transcription of interrogation conducted at Monroe-police station.
    Due to severe burns and open wounds the interview was postponed by three days in relation to the other survivors.

    Victim: Alexandra Clarke, 18

    Clarke: “Where do you want me to start?”

    Investigator Charlene Blake: “Can you tell us what happened up on the mountain?”

    Clarke: “(Sigh) Could you be more specific? It was a long night.”

    (Shuffling of papers)

    Blake: “These documents say that ten people were involved on the 20th. Yet two of them, including classmate Emily Davis, remain missing. Witness Charlie Lahey places you as the last person in contact with her. I suppose I want you to start there.”


  2. Disloyal husband
    It was about 10 pm on 14 February, on 2013. David says “I´m gonna buy some cigarettes darling” to his wife. She says “okey babe come back home soon, I´ll miss you” he says “I´ll be home as soon as possible” it takes more than one and half hour and Sara getting worried she text David he doesn’t answer, she thinks that the buss was late or something like that, she scrolls her Facebook and sees that David carried a woman. Now she gets so worried and become very angry and she thinks that David was disloyal to her. But when David coming home so he tells the true story and says the woman get injured in a car incident and he helped her to the hospital and someone maybe saw them and takes a picture. She believes David and they go to the sleep together.



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