Dear Diary by Connie Vines

February 13, 2016 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , with 0 and 0
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It wasn’t I until experienced a seven-hour power-outage during a rainstorm on Sunday that I really pondered the world before electricity.

With the rain and cloud-cover, it was very, very dark and icy cold.  I could actually see the alignment of the five planets quite clearly.  For those familiar with the southern California skyline, you know that we cannot see the constellations or planets unless we drive to Palm Springs, the mountains, or the high desert.  So, combined with the exceptionally cold temperatures and wind chill factor, and an inability to prepare a meal inside my kitchen, I felt as if I plopped into the center of one of my historical novels.

This is what had me ponder the act of writing in a diary.

I hadn’t read a diary (except for research purposes in years).

 As a teen or pre-teen, you probably received a diary as a birthday gift or a Christmas present.  I know I did.  The diary with a lock (which anyone, on a whim, could pick) and a key.  At first, my entries were made daily, then weekly, then, seldom at all.  Later, the diary evolved into journaling for a writing class, or jot down events, or milestone in my toddler’s life.  Now I have a journal app on my iPad that I often use for notes and thoughts about my novels points.

None of scribbles in my journals were as emotionally purging or filled with day-to-day angst of a teenager’s life.

Why?  I believe because most my of my journaling was via the keyboard.

Scientific studies prove the act of pen to paper stirs creative thoughts.

While I have no real interest in keeping a detailed diary for myself

What about fictional characters?  Do you ever have your fictional characters write a diary?
That is when I recalled my salad days are a writer.

When I starting writing fiction and non-fiction for the magazine market.  I published in “Jr. Medical Detective” and “Humpty Dumpty”.  In my article, “A Candle in the Dark” (still available as part of the Thomas Gale Education Series), my heroine, Sarah kept a diary.  The story dealt with the Salem Witchcraft Trials.  I found the diary to be a very effect plot device.  It was also a good way to give the reader information without using a backstory to interrupt the flow of my story.

What are you feelings about diaries in a novel?

Are there diaries you’ve read you found of interest or diaries that change how you viewed the world?
Why is it a good idea to have a diary in your storyline?

Fictional characters are forced by their authors to carry the story (the process of the narrative).  At the most basic level the diary gives you a first-person narrative without the protagonist knowing what is going to happen.

The use of diaries in novels of the past.

Pamela (1740) by Samuel Richardson is usually described as an epistolary novel.  However, our heroine also writes a journal, and then sews it into her underwear for secrecy.

Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë has a skeletal framework of a diary: “I have just returned from a visit to my landlord. . .Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold.”  Mr. Lockwood will learn about true emotion day by day as he finds out and writes down the story of Heathcliff and the Earnshaws.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) by Helen Fielding is well known to be based on the plot of Pride and Prejudice.

The more I ponder the use of a diary in my next novel, the more I warm to the idea.
I have my favorite pen and I also have turquoise Martha Stewart premium journal I received as a gift for Christmas.  While there isn’t a lock and key, there is an elastic band to keep the journal closed. There is also a fabric bookmark so that I may keep my place.

I can picture myself writing today’s date, time, and my first entry. . .Dear Diary.

Happy Reading,
Connie

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