1. AHewlett
    Offline

    AHewlett Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Moreton, Wirral, United Kingdom, United Kingdom

    Plotting a story in a diary format

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AHewlett, Oct 9, 2012.

    I was watching some videos on YouTube while trying tow rite my actress story and I came across a video of the Princess Diaries, which inspired me to turn my actress story into a diary story.

    It got me wondering though, how would you plot it out? Would you write dates out with a small summary of the entry then write? Or map out major events and write the entries to travel to these points?
     
  2. Rose Hunt
    Offline

    Rose Hunt Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ohio
    I would say that it depends on how you write naturally. I can write an outline, but I never stick with it. The characters seem to force it to change. I write outlines for college essays, and that helps alot to keep my facts straight and in place, but working with living characters are totally different for me.
    In my second chapter, my main character read a journal. THe journal I was using as a way to introduce the time period of change and how the change came about. For it, I fleshed out how many days I needed it to cover, and came up with the events I needed to happen on each day. Still, it was less than 1,000 words so it wasn't very much of the story.
    Hope this helps, but I doubt it will. You know, perhaps take a good look at Ann Franks diary. Or any other books written in that way.
    Rose
     
  3. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I tried writing a novel in diary format and wouldn't recommend it - it can limit your point of view, action and conversations
    as people generally won't write passages of conversations in a diary. But Rose Hunt is correct that you should read and
    research this technique if you're going to choose it. Reading actual diaries can be helpful too, even if most printed diaries
    are mainly kept from authors or political figures. Most diary pages don't exceed past two pages and unless your story covers a
    wide span of time - 100 days could equal 100 to 200 pages this technique might belly-flop.

    Another way of doing a diary style is to have passages of the diary
    contrast with actual scenes. That way you don't have to limit your viewpoint.
     
  4. AHewlett
    Offline

    AHewlett Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Moreton, Wirral, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    I know it would limit the point of view, action and conversations but that's the problem with first person POV. I would love to write this, maybe with prompts or just as a general novel. It's just wondering how to plot it.
     
  5. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Just like any story I suppose. My diary formatted story - was from the pov of a teacher spanning one school year -
    the diary started in September because the plot culminated in a warped friendship with a student
    and ended in June as summer parted them.

    Decide when your story will start and make a linear play out of events covering a certain time frame
    leading up to the end.

    Like any plot there still has to be challenges along the way and a goal to achieve.
    the good thing is the diary entries can be like mini chapters ending on a note of tension
    to what tomorrow might bring.
     
  6. AHewlett
    Offline

    AHewlett Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Moreton, Wirral, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    I was also wondering if some prompts would help?
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm not a fan o the epistolary form. It tends to be too detached from the actual action.

    But for a classic example, read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    meaning what?
     
  9. Mikewritesfic
    Offline

    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    I am working on a manuscript that is done in journal form. Just playing with it off and on. I posted the first chapter in the Novel section if you'd like to take a look and see what I'm doing right and wrong. Maybe it can help you. The thread is called The Final Days Of America

    Regards,

    Mike
     
  10. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I find the whole "diary" format terribly dull because to make it realistic, you necessarily have to use quite stupid language sometimes and bad sentences, and even worse, you have to talk about mundane daily things - or at least that's how the ones I've come across do it. There was one that opened with "Sun cream, check. Passport, check. It took me so long to find this holiday villa...!" etc etc etc and it was just the DULLEST thing. No one wants to read that stuff, but hey they get published anyway...

    I dunno, call me a snob but I tend to think books like that tend to be geared towards the mindless readers, or perhaps quite mindful readers who just want some mindless fun. Unfortunately for me, the whole ordeal is just mindless, minus the fun.

    IMO it's pretty hard to do this well :)
     
  11. AHewlett
    Offline

    AHewlett Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Moreton, Wirral, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Using prompts as journal entries, though I've skipped that idea at the moment.

    I realise some readers may find it dull and boring but some of these books have also been best sellers. Though, none of this is really answering my question as to how to plot one of these stories but I'm going to go with the idea that it's best to plot it as a novel and write whatever comes to mind, whether I follow the plot or not.

    Thanks to everyone who replied.
     

Share This Page