1. goat6boy
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    goat6boy New Member

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    writing in the form of a journal

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by goat6boy, Dec 5, 2010.

    latley ive been seeing alot of books writen in the form of a journal mostly for teens.I was wondering how popular they might be because if they were I was thinking of writing a book in that form.I do know alot of them are real journals like the book go ask alice but just wanted to know what your thoughts on it was.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's kind of pointless to ask how popular these books might be because there are several factors involved that determine a book's popularity (the primary factor being marketing). If you really want to write a book like this, then just go ahead and do it.
     
  3. Gsouder
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    Gsouder New Member

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    For the record, there is significant evidence that Go Ask Alice is mostly if not completely fiction both pointing out an error in your post AND answering your question at the same time. There's a beautiful symmetry in this!
     
  4. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    It's an interesting take, you should give it a try. My personal favorites are The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Diary, a Novel by Chuck Palahniuk. You should read those first if you're willing to write one yourself :]
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I've seen good ones, but I"ve also seen really bad ones.

    The ones that fail hard are the ones that sound nothing like the way a real teen would write in a diary. Bad dialogue is a major problem in any YA novel -- or any novel in general, but it seems like I noticed it a lot more in the books I read in high school than in the books I read now.

    Before you consider writing in the form of a diary, ask yourself if you are an expert at dialogue. Give excerpts of your past writing -- excerpts with heavy dialogue -- to the teenagers you know and ask them if people they know really talk that way. If you're good at dialogue, you'll be fine, but if you're not, steer clear.

    Journals are basically like someone talking in dialogue the whole way through so make sure it's a strength.
     
  6. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    The style is tried and true. It's popularity waxes and wanes though.

    For (almost) anything, if you find yourself saying "there are a lot of *** books being published", then by the time you write, edit, publish, market a book the trend will be on something else.

    Besides which, trends only get you so far - quality of writing is much more important, as is whether the publisher sees you as a "team player". So, if the journal style suits you, then write something in it. If not, then don't. Especially for your early works it would be much better to write something you're comfortable with than trying to chase trends.

    -Frank
     
  7. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    The style is pretty popular in young adult books. There's a whole series of historical fiction books called "Dear America" and there's another that's about princesses from different time periods called "The Royal Diaries." There's others too--Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech uses the style fairly successfully.

    That being said, it's kind of difficult to make it work. I've been trying to write part of a new novel as a diary and it's a challenge. First off, I've never kept a diary myself for more than a little while. Secondly, diaries are usually boring to read and the writing is usually pretty lousy because it's unedited. Plus, dialog is rare--and that bugs me because my stories have hitherto been very dialog-heavy. Additionally, like all first person accounts, you are confined to one view point that is not objective. You can't ever just narrate.

    When you write as a diary, you still have to make the writing good, because otherwise the audience won't be interested, but you also have to make it sound like a lay person actually wrote it or the audience will become jaded. All in all, it's an extremely "fake" way to write a book, but I'd say it's worth a shot. My problem in the beginning was just that my character didn't have a lot of voice, so writing as a diary has helped me get to know him better.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course there is Adrian Mole - he grew up as well lol
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The idea of a journal or diary format is not limited to teen or YA audiences. There have been numerous sports diaries done, starting with "The Long Season" by Jim Brosnan in 1959 and including the popular "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton and "Instant Replay" by Jerry Kramer. As was the case with "Go Ask Alice", the idea is to give the reader the impression that he or she is getting an "inside look" (although in the case of the sports books, it may have just been an easy way for the players to keep their recollections organized).

    As others have pointed out, it's style that brings a number of challenges. Many writers have at one time or another kept journals. If you have, then you have a feel for that style of writing. If not, then you may want to try something a little less challenging and concentrate on developing your story.
     
  10. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    I have done a book where I put journal entries within the story and I am thinking of doing another one like it. I feel if you can make it work, all the power to ya.
     
  11. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    I suppose its easier if you keep a journal yourself or are comfortable enough to do it. One of the Cloud Atlas short stories is done through journal entries.
     
  12. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    emm that book is on my x-mas list :D
     
  13. Klogg
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    Klogg Member

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    A book in journal form is a touchy subject for many people. I personally enjoy the form. It's a nice change from the typical novel form. It makes for a relaxing change of pace. Done correctly it can be an outstanding piece of work.

    For example, "Dracula" by Bram Stoker was written entirely in journal entries and letters. On a side note, if anyone here has never read the original Dracula, I would recommend you do so quickly. It is quite simply one of the best books ever written. Even "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" while it is no literary masterpiece is still fresh and entertaining.
     
  14. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I don't think the diary in Dracula is a very good example. I know it's a classic, but I can't imagine reading a journal that had long conversations word-for-word in it. Dracula might have been OK in its own time, but I think in a modern novel, the audience would get kind of jaded if there was such an obviously inauthentic journal.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is of course the likes of Samuel Pepys as well if we go further back. Best way is to read lots of the diary/journal type stories and design it the way you like.
     

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