Choosing the style “epistolary novel” for Chalice brings some interesting responses, some positive, some negative. They may break down by age and sex and whether a reader has done any online dating.
One reader, who I respect very much, said he kept trying to read the letters as if they were dialogue and wanted to say “people don’t talk like this.”
While on the phone as we discussed this, I pointed out that his original letter to me about the book was quite well crafted. “I spent a lot of time on that,” he said, and immediately conceded that I “had him.” (He then went on to make some excellent points, with examples, of language he would change.)
Another reader, also male and my age, very much likes the direct exposure to the characters granted by using their own words and delusions to describe who they are (and are not!).
Two different women have said the early and easy intimacy is much more common and believable in the current world of electronic dating, email, etc. and they like the structure if not the characters.
It may turn out that Chalice is not for everybody, obvious a long time ago. It may require a different type of attention. I do hope it has value for readers who don’t know the story.
In the mean time, it is fascinating and rewarding to watch the direction of the final draft drop into focus.