Epistolary Voice

1. What is it?

The epistolary voice is constructing the narrative through documents and letters.

A variety of documents can be used, including letters, diaries, journals, court documents, and property deeds.

2. How is it made?

A document or letter is presented to the reader.The document reveals a major part of the story, such as love, a secret, or ownership, or the background of a character.
 Replies or additional documents may add further layers, or progress the chronology of the story.

3. Examples

May 7th,

My Dear Augustine,

I am writing to you with a sense of displeasure, not in you or your actions, but in what I have recently discovered about Madame Swann. It appears, if all that I have seen and heard is correct, that she has been keeping a deep secret from us. I believe Madame Swann is not the rightful owner of Windfield Hall.
I shall not explain everything now, for I must hurry to London to meet with the solicitor. However, this situation must be resolved before the wedding.

Yours, etc.


Dispatch log, 12 March 1984, 3.21pm

Officers sent to Hill House to investigate domestic incident. Upon arrival, no individuals were present.

Dispatch log, 13 March 1984, 0.05am

Officers sent to Hill House to investigate ‘loud screaming’. Door answered by Ms Katy Hill, who claims a misunderstanding. ‘Noise was TV’.

Dispatch log, 13 March 1984, 2.23am

Officers sent to Hill House after anonymous call. Property open. Upon entry, body of young male found. Property otherwise vacant. Full team called.

4. Task

Write a letter and a reply that build the outline of a story.