Articles

How to write a letter

Hey guys. How are you guys doing? Sorry for the delay. From now on, I’ll try to be more frequent. Anyways I hope you like this How-To.

Well starting off, I’m going to outline the basic format of a Letter. I will be more focused on the form of a Formal letter but will also talk about Informal Letters. I will ofcourse have an example letter down below, which I advise you to take inspiration from but not copy or reuse.

Here’s a small idea of what a formal letter should have:

  • will adopt a consistently formal register
  • will adopt a suitably serious and respectful tone
  • will clearly identify the recipient (by name, and/or address, and/or role/title etc.)
  • will have a date (and sender’s address)
  • will have opening and closing salutations

As you can see, the Letter is more serious and straight to the point rather than relaxed and open, which is generally the difference between a Formal and an Informal Letter.

However, ofcourse, the main structure of the Letter is generally the same as shown down below:

LETTER FEATURES
Date
Salutations (Opening & Closing)
Identify the recipient
Direct Address
Register (Formal or Informal)
Thoughts and Feelings
Sensory Description
Tone (Formal, relaxed, intimate)
Sender’s Address

*Credits to my English Teacher for that ^

You can compare those more specific features to the general characteristics of any text type English has:

General Structural Features (SIMMER)
Start
In/Out Focus
Middle
Movement and/or Major Change
Emotive Language (or Emotional Response)
Repetition (of themes, ideas, motifs or words)
ADDITIONAL FEATURES: (Features of Introduction, Middle and End of a Story, Chekhov’s Gun, In Medias Res, etc.)

As you can probably see, the Letter features are more focused on the Letter form while the general features describe the main idea of how the text should be formed and how it should flow.

A tip to writing a good letter is to plan it out first, like point out the things the Letter should contain and then add them in as you write the Letter. It is advised to get straight to the point in Formal Letters or introduce yourself first if the person you’re writing to doesn’t know you, but ofcourse if they know you better to cut to the chase and tell them precisely the reason behind the Letter.

The features that I put above for the Letter are generally better to use for Story writing rather than actual work, but ofcourse you can alter it to fit your needs since most of the features can be used for emails too.

Here’s my Example. Its a mix of informal and formal and I’ve italicized where the different features are used.

I’ve also included a small planning excerpt to give you an idea of how to plan your Letter.
Note: This Letter is purely from my imagination and should only be used for inspiration.

Letter Planning

From: Natalia
Who is the person sending it: Scientist forced to become a zombie because they couldn’t say that a woman came up with a zombie cure.
To: Anyone who finds it
Why: To tell about the injustice against her (gender inequality)
Sci-fi element: zombies through serum/cure
When: the future
From Where: Germany
Importance: forced zombie conversion (Process is very slow, so the person is sane for at least one month, the serum slowly corrodes the brain and body)

~Letter~

Natalia Kühn
Helmholtz Zentrum München (Sender’s Address)
4th September 2050 (date)

Dear reader: (IDENTIFY THE RECIPIENT)
I hope you are being treated better than I was.(SALUTATIONS) I know you (DIRECT ADDRESS) might be feeling distraught as if there is no hope for you living. However, I believe you are probably better off than I was, and you will live a great life and fulfill your dreams, every single one. If you are wondering who I am and how I know about your situation. My name is Natalia Kühn, for years the earth was plagued with zombies, and only five people were working on the cure. I was the only woman working on the cure, and even though we worked together, I was working on another version of the cure in my own time, and I was far ahead of everyone else. I was struggling too, but somehow I managed to come up with the right combination of chemicals which perfected the serum which had been working on for a year now. When I informed about this discovery to my colleagues, who as I mentioned were all males, all I got back for my hard work, were angry glances and stares.

As I write this Letter, I can still remember what conspired over the few days, after I told about my discovery. (THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS) They all started to ignore me and would talk in whispers while I continued to perfect the serum and try it on some of the test subjects we had. Although the serum was not perfect, it worked indefinitely, but the problem was that it only lasted for a few hours or a few days at the very most. After working on it for several days, I couldn’t figure out what to do. Disgruntled, mad and tired – how do these words make you feel? That’s how I felt after I had told about my discovery. It was absolutely crushing that even though we were in 2050, gender equality was still not a thing that everyone respected or cared about. A few weeks went by like this, my colleagues ignoring me and the fact that I had an almost perfect cure for a problem that had been looking over us for over five years now. The cure was a pinkish blue colour with a hint of gold (Sensory Description) here and there, and that was because I used crushed gold as it had something chemicals and properties which improved the cure and made it work more effectively. The workings of the cure were simple, all you had to take was one shot with 0.5ml of the cure in it, and the effects would be visible within 10 minutes. I know what you must be thinking. Why am I telling all of this to you? This is because I hid five 0.5ml bottles of the cure in this room, although I don’t remember where because I’m turning into a zombie, precisely what I wanted to prevent. I want you to find these bottles and assemble four other people who can recreate this cure and save humanity if it hasn’t died already. Ending, yes that’s what’s happening to the world, and I am sorry you have to be there to witness it, but you have to save it. Then you can have everything you want but to do that you have to save the world, even though it has done nothing but harm you.

Some people may think I’m crazy; others will classify me stressed out, but you have to believe me. Life is unfair, but if you have the will to move, you can do amazing things, and I want you to believe in yourself and save the world before it’s late to do nothing. I believe in you, so should you. Truth, Justice and Forgiveness- Will you promise me that you will save the world keeping these in mind?

I hope you save yourself and the world (SALUTATIONS)
I trust you
Natalia

I hope you learnt something from this How-To. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below. And if you like it, don’t forget to like, comment and share.

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