I've been inspired, guys. Based on the comments I received during Teaser Tuesday from Tracey and Cory, I decided to write a blog post about journal entries. Cory showed me this awesome short story, and how you can feel it progress in such few words.
I realized the only book I've read with journal entries is Life As We Knew It. The entire plot line is centered around Miranda (MC) and what she writes in her diary/journal that day. Sometimes the notes are lengthy. Sometimes they're extremely short. Either way, they're believable.
So we know this: The entries must move your story forward.
Sounds simple, right? If you're anything like me, right now I'm saying: "Pfffffft. Of course they have to move your story forward. Duhhh." Because it's just like anything else in the writing world--you have to get from Point A to Point B to move your readers along.
And how is that different with journal writing? Well, diary/journal entries are usually A LOT shorter than normal chapters. Which means you have to move the reader along in very few words.
Oh dear. Now that doesn't sound as easy.
To make an impact (and for this to feel real), you only need to leave the most important aspect of that "day" in your notes. For example: nobody is going to blab on for five pages about buying a new pair of jeans, or whether the baby bird outside their window will fly today.
There is one main focal point for each entry. Write down what that point is, make sure your character only speaks about it, and then move on to the next entry (which could be that afternoon or two days later).
June 2, 2001
Lacey's been asking Dad for a kitten. I want a dog. But guess what? She wins again! Mom took her to pick out a kitten this afternoon, and they just got home with it. I hate cats.
The focal point is that Lacey wants a kitten, but we also see some angst with the sister who is writing this. Emotions. Something that needs to be very clear when you're writing. If your character's emotions don't pop off the page and smack you upside the head, then you're not doing it right.
One of the good things about reading diaries/journals is that it's VERY real. Nothing like narrative--where someone goes here, and then they do this, and then they say that. What you read in a diary/journal is extremely intimate (and not in a smexified way, unless... err, no, never mind), which can ultimately make the reader feel connected to the character.
I just wanted to be very clear that for this blog post, these are my opinions only. I definitely want to hear yours, and how you write/would write entries.
But for now, I'll leave you with one of my journal entries:
Um, what's this? *sketchy eyes*
I'll just... I'll... tuck this away somewhere. so no one will ever find it again. ahem.