Queer Stories Told in Letters, Diary entries, Text Messages, etc.


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Queer Stories Told in Letters, Diary entries, Text Messages, etc.

Edited: Jul 20, 2020, 7:12 pm

An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. Have you read any LGBTQ fiction where the protagonists write letters as a means of coming out? Or someone writes in a diary or sends emails or text messages?

A couple off the top of my head are:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertali
This story alternates between day-to-day life and Simon's secret flirtations emails with "Blue," the only person that Simon has come out to.

True Letters From a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

James writes letters that he never intends to send and keeps them locked in a desk drawer. These letters are a sort of diary where he reveals his feelings towards certain people and imagines coming out to them and how they might react. A lot of the letters deal with things his friends and family say or do during the course of a day that are forms of homophobic microagressions. No one knows James is gay, so they say things around him that they probably wouldn't say in front of an out gay person, but James internalizes these things and then sometimes puts down on paper what he wishes he could have responded or how he could have spoken up in that moment if he wasn't so afraid of coming out.

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Lesbian/Victorian fiction writer Sarah Waters delivers another gem of gothic writing. This one is about a wealthy spinster who spends her days visiting a women's prison. She develops an attraction to one of the prisoners, a psychic who communes with the dead. The story alternates as a series of diary entries written by both main characters.

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

A YA novel about three friends and one year in their life during high school. It is told in alternating perspectives using a series of journal entries, emails, instant messages, quotes lists, letters, etc.

Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger

Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who's wondered what ever happened to that first great love.

Totally Joe by James Howe

Middle grade book told in a year-long homework assignment to write an "alpha-biography." Each journal entry starts with a different letter from A-Z and tells more about Joe's year including his crush, his friends, and his family.

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment.

I Hate Everyone But You and Please Send Help by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We're still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other.

Not classified as LGBTQ fiction, but with queer themes/characters:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Color Purple
Push by Sapphire
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Jul 20, 2020, 7:22 pm

Oh, fun! I know of one LGBTQ epistolary novel.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them.

Jul 20, 2020, 7:36 pm

>2 aspirit: I just realized I could search two tags and found a list of about 80 novels that have been tagged with both "epistolary" and "LGBTQ." In my post, I just included the ones that I've read, but I did see the book you posted in that list! It sounds interesting.

Jul 20, 2020, 11:09 pm

>3 originalslicey: a thread with cover images and book descriptions is nice, anyway.

This Is How You Lose the Time War won a Nebula Award and a Locus Award! I had thought I would check it out last season, but my local libraries aren't safe in the corona pandemic. Some day....

Jul 27, 2020, 5:23 am

Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen is a book of letters, diary entries, text messages, running thoughts and more. I highly recommend it. It follows 4 young Greenlanders, whose stories are different, intertwined. It is about finding ones sexuality, acceptance, falling in love, falling apart, gender and more.

How do you post a picture?

Edited: Jul 27, 2020, 5:30 pm

to post a picture you can use standard html code:

{img height=110 src="insert url of image here"}

but replace the { } in the above code the angle brackets

the height can be any number, but 110, 120, or 130 is good.
the src=" " will have the url of the image between the " "

images from library thing book covers will often break - they might show up at first, but will eventually break because they are usually imported from amazon and the code isn't great.
I've never had any issue using the url of book cover images from goodreads. or sometimes I will just google the book cover image. Just don't use amazon or LT images.

Jul 27, 2020, 5:33 pm

>6 originalslicey:

Why wouldn't you use an LT image? They're usually fine.

Jul 27, 2020, 5:39 pm

For instance, I navigate to goodreads and find the book I want.
Right-click on the book cover image and copy image address

Then I paste that url into this code using the proper angle brackets at the ends:

{img height=110 src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1559859786l/39834234._SY475_.jpg"}

and it looks like this:

Edited: Jul 27, 2020, 5:45 pm

>7 lilithcat: They end up breaking.

There's a librarything thread where they recommend not using LT images because often the cover images are imported from Amazon and they will eventually break.

It might be different now, so if it works for you then LT images would be easier to use.
Definitely can't use images from amazon urls, though.

Edited: Jul 27, 2020, 6:12 pm

>9 originalslicey:

So don't use the Amazon images. Use the member-uploaded images.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but when you are selecting a cover image for your book, rather than choosing an Amazon cover that shows on the work page, you can use "save image location" to grab it, paste that into the "grab image from the web" box, and that eliminates the problem.

Jul 27, 2020, 6:58 pm

>10 lilithcat: Well, I generally don't select/edit the cover image for a book since the correct cover is always already there when I upload my books to LT using the app.

So when posting images in the forums I tend to use goodreads images since I know they always work and that's personally faster for me than figuring out which LT image to use.
But thanks for the tip, and to each his/her own. Whatever method works best for you.

Feb 8, 2021, 5:27 pm

>1 originalslicey: The above touchstone for Steve Kluger's Almost Like Being in Love goes to a different novel. Here's a new attempt to link to the correct work.