Monday, April 9, 2012

Writing in Diary Form

In many novels, it is necessary to write in diary form. This is similar to an actual entry in a diary and is meant to convey a character's innermost thoughts, pertinent information, or as a way of including information that a character is reading within the story. This is the one area in a book where you are allowed to deviate from your set point of view. For example, if your book is written in the third person, it would be acceptable to have a diary entry written in first person.

In order to write in diary form, you need to put yourself in the character's shoes. What are they thinking, what are they feeling, what message are they trying to get across? Think of it as your own diary – where you can express anything without fear of someone else reading it. This is the time to let your character pour out their heart to the reader. It can be emotional, it can important, it can even be humorous – but it has to be real.

When you are including a diary entry in your book, it is necessary to distinguish it from the rest of your text. This is done for two reasons. First, you need to let the editor know at a glance that this is information that is coming from the character. Second, changing how the text appears offers delineation for the reader. Commonly, diary entries are included in book form as italics. When typing your manuscript, go ahead and put the entry in an italic font.

The most important thing to remember about writing in diary form is that it should not be overused. Unless the book specifically calls for regular glimpses into the character's innermost thoughts, diary entries should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

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