1. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    A question for you english folk (and another italics one - sorry)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Viridian, Aug 11, 2015.

    Hi guys. I have two questions. My MC has just been handed a journal/diary that was her late mother's. My first question is, would it be called a journal or a diary? MC is english and the story is set in southern england. I'm from northern england but have been away for 10 years so feel a little out of touch. When I was younger it would definitely have been a diary (I would think of a journal as more American?). But, I also know people didn't have baby showers back then but they do now.

    My second question is this. My MC is going to read excerpts of the diary/journal throughout the book. This is my way if introducing to the story events that happened to her mother before she died. I will put the diary excerpts into a paragraph of their own but should they be italicized? I think I remember seeing this done in a book I read but as I recall the italicized paragraphs were the MC reading a letter, but I suppose that amounts to pretty much the same thing. Any thoughts would be most welcome/helpful.

    Thanks in advance.

    V.
     
  2. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Hmmm, seems there may be more to the diary vs journal thing. I just read this.....

    A diary is mainly used to write things you would like to remember - daily activities, how the day was spent, what was done, the daily routine and anything that needs to get done. A personal journal is a record of significant experiences. It is much more personal than a diary. It contains feelings, emotions, problems, and self-assurances and can be used to evaluate one’s life. For a journal, one does not just record one's experiences but also thoughts, feelings and reflections. Diary writing is a daily activity but one can write in a journal whenever there is a desire to write about significant experiences.

    I think the journal is more what I'm after. Perhaps answered my own question :oops:
     
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  3. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Usually a diary has a feminine connotation. Women write in diaries, men write in journals. I would recommend double indenting the margins on each side of the entry. As far as italics go, I've seen it both way, you'll have to decide what you like.
     
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  4. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Yeah, i just read that too, about the men vs women, but i've never thought of it that way before.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would use block quotes, without italics.
     
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  6. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    From my perspective, "journal" is becoming more widely used and it's a familiar term but growing up, it wasn't. We'd use diary regardless of who was writing in it and, other than small children who don't know any better, anyone who admitted to having one would be mocked mercilessly for having 'feelings' ;)

    I'd go with italicising but it boils down to personal preference, methinks.
     
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  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anyone young enough to have a baby shower would probably have succumbed to the creeping Americanisation of the English language and write in a journal.

    Anyone born before (say) 1970 would probably refer to it as a diary.

    As for the man/diary, woman/journal...I think that it's a difference in emphasis...a man would diarise business meetings, dentist's appointments. A woman would write "Dear diary, I had a strange dream last night...I wonder if it means that I'm planning an affair with the dentist?" It's still a diary!
     
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think I would assume a journal is more purposeful, and more focused on a particular aspect of my activities. I might keep a daily journal of my writing habits, for example. Or a daily journal of my weight loss experiences. Something of that nature.

    If I wrote a diary, I would expect it to contain a mention of all the significant happenings of any given day/month/year. I might record what I ate, what I wrote, who visited my house, what I saw on TV, whether I'd caught a cold, what the neighbour said to me over the fence, where I traveled to on the bus, etc.

    A journal will probably eventually reach a thematic conclusion. A diary will end, but only when you stop writing it.
     
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  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    My gut feel was diary was something you wrote in daily / at the end of the day -- ie it had a date associated with the entry.
    Journal is just something you write in, whenever, wherever.
    Is she reading them out loud or in her head?

    If out loud then yes, inverted commas.

    If in her head, italics works really well for me to indicate thought.
     
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  10. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Hmmm tricky tricky.

    I haven't completely decided on the MC's age yet. Its ranging from between 27 to 33, so if I go for the middle and say she's 30, and her mother wrote in the diary/journal only for the last year or two before she died (which is when the MC is 6 years old), then she would be writing in it around the 1990 mark. So perhaps calling it a journal would work. I certainly prefer the sound of journal rather than diary, it sounds more..... grown up?

    Its not to record daily happenings but significant things that are happening over the course of a year or two. She is sick (dying) and wants to record certain things (don't want to give away too much) that are going on (besides her illness) for her daughter to read when she's old enough/ready to deal with/understand. So yeah, I think i'm probably gonna go with the journal.

    In her head, she may read a little out loud but it will only be a sentence or two and I believe that can be inserted into the current paragraph (and probably in italics?).

    I just wondered if there was a specific way it should be done rather that than something that's preferred. I'll try each of the suggestions on here and decide which I think works best.

    Thanks for your help :supercool:
     
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  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    She's writing it around the 1990s, when she's in her thirties...so she was born around 1960, so well before there was a fashion to use the word "journal".

    If you research "Hitler Diaries", you'll get a date around 1983; "Journal" would be just wrong for anybody who would have been an adult at that date.
     
  12. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    No, I think I didn't explain it very well. The MC's mother wrote in the journal when the MC was around 5 to 6 years old. The MC was born around 1985 (making her 30 now) which means the mother would have been writing in it around 1990. The dates/ages aren't set in stone yet, but that's a rough idea.

    EDIT: Ah I see what you mean. I just re-read your post. I see your point. Maybe i'm focusing too much on what the MC would call it and should be thinking more what the mother would call it.
     
  13. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    And another point. The person giving the diary to the MC is her Nana, so I guess she definitely wouldn't refer to it as a journal.
     
  14. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Her Nana? Her grandmother? Who'd now be around 90/100, having outlived her daughter by 30-odd years? I hope the MC's mother didn't die of a hereditary condition!
     
  15. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    If you need a voice to imagine while writing the diary, I highly recommend ze frank.

     
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  16. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Ha ha, no, the MC's mother died at a young age. Though I must admit, I hadn't given too much thought about the Nana's age. I'm thinking she's a good age though.

    Nana born 1940 (so age 75), mother born 1960, had MC 1985, died 1991(ish) (age 31 ish) - making the MC 30
     
  17. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Ha ha, @Aaron DC, that was brilliant. I will definitely consider using :p
     

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