A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic–nothing else. This year, I’ll be covering writing genres.
Telling a story through diary or journal entries, letters, digital messages, or another type of personal document.
- It gets the reader directly into the character’s head and it provides a built-in framework for plot.
- It immediately justifies the question, “Why does this book exist?” Because it’s my story. Here, I’m telling it.
- It’s difficult to add backstory. Do so carefully.
- It’s also difficult to add setting. Make sure this blends into the journal-er’s thoughts.
- Suspense too can be challenging. Why would the writer not put everything in her/his journal? Why keep a secret from herself?
- Be careful of your author voice. It must sound like a journal.
- You can’t write the blow-by-blow that sometimes clarifies action in other genres. No one would write that way in a journal.
- Be aware: The writer can be an unreliable narrator. S/he is writing details as she is aware of them–at a point in time. This–of course–changes with time.
- Adrian Mole series by Susan Townsend
- The Bridgett Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
- Carrie by Stephen King
- Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Diary of a Madman by Nikolai Gogol
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- The Flowers of Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for May 2017. Click to follow its progress.