1. AshynNicole
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    AshynNicole New Member

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    Journal format question

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AshynNicole, Dec 29, 2011.

    I'm attempting to write my first novel, and I had it all in my head and everything was great, so I started writing and I came across a bit of a problem. The book is in first person and the MC is in a mental hospital and is writing in a journal that a doctor gave her as somewhat of a "healing" tool. So she's writing about her time there right now, but I plan on having her tell the story of why she is in there to begin with, which will be what most of the book is about. It'll then end with her in the mental hospital again. The problem is I don't understand how the story part would work as a journal, because I don't want there to be day breaks in the story. I want her to be basically reliving it. If that makes sense? For instance I don't want her to be mid-story about how she killed her boyfriend, and then all of the sudden "oops, time for bed at the mental hospital! Write more tomorrow!" I'm just trying to make it as realistic as possible, but maintain the journal aspect of it as well. I almost thought about her stealing some type of drug from her doctor that made her stay up for days (if there is such a thing?) so that she could tell the full story. It would make sense because the MC is crazy (obviously) and she has motive because her whole plan is that this journal is going to be found after she dies and she'll be "famous." But is that idea, for lack of a better word, lame? Is there a better way of going about it?

    Thanks in advance for any help! :)
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that you may be overthinking this. There's no need for her to date her journal, or insert day-to-day events in her present life unless she has some particular reason to. She could just as likely pick up the journal and resume the story that she's telling.

    If you do decide to weave the present and past together more tightly, I think that there should be a plot reason that's important in both the present and past. (Like, say her present therapist hired the murderer that drove her crazy in the past, or something, and so the plot is continuing into the present. Or your MC is doing research to confirm or deny her memories. Or something.) But I don't think that you _need_ any plot reason at all; it's sufficient to say that she just chose to focus entirely on the past when she wrote her journal.
     
  3. iabanon
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    iabanon Member

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    Try reading books that have journals like Bridget Jones' Diary. Look around there are plenty more.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes!... it's foolish to try to write such a complex type of novel if you haven't read and studied how the best of them were done... so stop writing for now and spend a good amount of time reading the best examples of this genre, before you go any further with your own... i guarantee you'll agree it was time well spent, in the end...
     
  5. Kashif
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    Kashif New Member

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    Go for it! I think the idea you have is brilliant. I don't know how well you can write, but if you're good, the idea you have is simple enough and can work.

    I think reading other books is a great idea to stimulate your own ideas, if you do it before you plan your novel. But if you're going to read with the sole purpose of bettering your own story that's fully developed in your mind, you'll risk stealing ideas. For example, if you want your child to become a great artist, you never give them coloring books. Drawing inside of lines stops them from developing their own creativity. In other words, if you read a book with similar ideas, you'll lose your own creativity.

    Looking for drugs to keep her up, look no further than adrenaline. That'll make her conditions worse and it's something she could easily get in a hospital.

    Now, there are ways to make your story more complex. Beware of doing this: But as her story progresses, her writing should become more manic. Without sleep, she won't be able to remember the story properly and will fabricate certain things. You can read some psych studies on what happens on staying up too late and side effects of adrenaline.

    Again, I love this story idea and I hope you're a great writer because this sounds amazing.
     

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