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  1. Arrakna
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    Arrakna New Member

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    Writing a Diary

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Arrakna, Sep 13, 2008.

    I have planned and tried to create sci-fi stories and failed, for some reason I just can't seem to keep focused when writing or doing work on them. But I have decided to start a diary, just because it seems like a good thing to do to log things which are going on and maybe even look back on them for inspiration later on.

    But I was wondering, perhaps a diary format would suit me better than a novel (for now at least, anyway), but I was wondering if you could really write a diary and put it forwards as a serious piece of literature, but I wasn't sure due to the fact that I am not famous or writing about any massive historic event in general, but I was thinking that perhaps writing about daily life can inspire thoughts and philosophies of my own which may, themselves add to the interest of reading a diary.

    I was also thinking, if this would be the case and getting people to read a diary from an essential "nobody", would there be strict rules on how I should write, if any? Or should it just depend on the mood that I am in seeing as that is part of what a diary is about.

    Thanks for reading/replying.
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I believe that there was and still is a popular novel line that is set in a diary format. Some of them are fictional stories and others I think are based on real people. Its something I've seen before and the stories were pretty good. The diary format didn't hurt them at all, and if anything maybe strengthened the stories by giving them a more personal feel.

    I would never write a fictional story in diary format and push it as "factual." that's probably the only thing that will get you in trouble. But your not writing a diary of nobody. Your writing fiction and using a diary as a means of conveying the fictional story.
     
  3. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    There have been several books published that either are diaries or were written to imitate them. I'd suggest reading one or two of them, to get a feel for how they flow.

    Personally, I think a diary from the point of view of a relative nobody could make for some fascinating storytelling, especially if you stage large-scale events in the background, mentioned in passing as the character frets about what's important to him/her. It also gives you a lot of freedom to slowly introduce world elements. Why would someone living in a scifi setting explain about the technology around them? At most, if they were a bit of a tech geek, they might talk about some new toy or gadget they had, or start throwing around technobabble.
     
  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I found the Series I was talking about: Dear America ~ Scholastic Publications

    I was wrong as it appears most of the stories are fictional save one but they do imitate diaries. There are links at the bottom to other spin off series that I'm sure you could use. It shouldn't be a daunting task to find some of these.
     
  5. Arrakna
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    Arrakna New Member

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    Do you think that writing a real-life diary could have entertainment value also?

    And do you think that it could help he think of idea for future novels on bigger and smaller scales? From plot/storylines to even the how characters sleep and react to things in their everyday life.
     
  6. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I've never written a diary per say but I do have note books upon note books of ideas, characters, plot twists, and pretty much random stuff. When I'm stumped sometimes I go through them and I often find something or a combination of things that will help.

    As for an actual diary I could see how it could help in writing. A good way to practice writing things and feeling them yourself can help in portraying it into words.

    There's no "right" way to go about novel writing. Everyone seems to have a different system far as I can tell. I would suggest some short story writing though. its a great way to practice basic story telling on a smaller scale and I often develop my larger novel projects from my short stories. They are a great way to get basic ideas and character concepts down and practiced before taking on the big guns of novelization.
     
  7. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are so many fiction books that are in diary format, so yes you could definitely do that. Here's an example of an excellent use of a diary format to tell it riveting story: Life As We Knew It - by S. Pfeffer. This one's a dystopian, diary novel.

    But there are so many more, but these are all I can think of at the moment: I Capture the Castle; Flowers for Algernon; Dracula.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I believe the original poster is actually asking if they can write a FACTUAL-type diary and have it published and receive reader notice for it.

    To answer that question, I'd have to say your chances are very small of gaining a decent readership with a factual, personal-style diary book. I've heard that memoirs are hard to sell (the ones that do sell are either of important events/famous people or are written in a very distinct voice), and they're written quite differently from diaries. While some people love stories written in diary form, those are usually FICTIONAL stories, not personal diaries that have been published. The sad truth is most people really don't care about some stranger's personal life, especially if there aren't big events going on. Your best bet would be to not even think about the publishing process if you're going to keep a personal diary. Save the personal diary for something personal. Use something else, a story with more universal appeal, for thoughts of publication.

    Yes there are always exceptions but you wanted to know if it would work. *shrug*

    Can keeping a diary help you with writing novels? Maybe it can, maybe it can't. The thing you have to keep in mind is, keeping a diary and writing a novel are two completely different things. One might help with the other but it's no substitute and at some point, if you wish to write a novel, you're going to have to actually set to work writing a novel. Yes, you can try writing a novel in diary form, and this might work a lot better than trying to get your personal diary published. But again, it's a different process because even though it's written like a diary, you have to come up with plot, characterization, dialogue (when the diarist is recounting it), foreshadowing, theme, and all the other things requisite to writing a good novel. You're not going to be just writing fictional diary entries. You're going to be writing a novel in diary form. There's a difference.

    Only you can find out if writing one will help you with the other, so you can give it a try, but being able to keep a diary won't necessarily mean you can write a novel.
     
  9. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I don't think your chances are that small, but are definitely less then that of a regular book.
    Personally, I don't like reading books that are written in diary format. I don't think your chances are smaller because it's factual, I think they're smaller because of the diary format they're going to be in.
    I don’t think a fictional diary is that different from a factual one. Can the reader tell the difference? In most cases, I don’t think so. How do they know it's factual? Or you can add some parts to it that's fictional so it'll attract more readers...
     
  10. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I don't call it a diary. But I do write in a journal. I've found several good things coming out of it too. It started as therapy. I'd have issues with people at school and I'd vent onto the paper. So I started writing in my journal more and more and soon started to copy down conflicts and events and people in my life. I also thought that maybe I could go back later and look for something that I could use in my writing. Also, I'm writing things down that ten years from now I wont remember. But I think that it could only help in possible plots, characters, ideas, or issues. It's not going to do the writing magic for you, you have to do that part. But I believe that it can help.
     
  11. Acglaphotis
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    Is that real-life interesting to an outsider? That's what you need to ask yourself, because no one can make such a broad generalization like the one you're asking. It depends.
     

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