Blog Guest Blog by Kathy Weeks: How to Write in Diary Style
Writing a story in the style of a diary is a brilliant way to get your readers inside the mind of your main character straight away. I loved writing Harper Drew’s diary because it allowed me to feel and experience everything that was going on in her world, through her eyes.
So, give it a go…with these top tips in mind.
Remember what a diary is...
So, this might sound a bit strange, but remember that if someone was writing their own private ‘HANDS OFF’ diary about their life, they wouldn’t be describing every person and every scene in the same way as you might find in an ordinary storybook.
For example, in a story, you might say: “Our house is tiny. And my bedroom is the smallest room in it. My bed and my desk are so close together that one rolls in the wrong direction when I am asleep, and I will be snoring on top of my homework."
But in a diary, you couldn’t write that. Because you obviously already know what your bedroom looks like, you don’t need to describe it to yourself. And you aren’t expecting someone you’ve never met to be reading your private thoughts.
So as a writer, this can give you a few problems!
You need to think of other ways to describe the things and people around you.
Find a situation, an event that has happened, and let that do the work for you.
“My homework is ruined. Again. For the second day in a row, I woke up with my head on the stool under my desk. I shouldn’t have left my maths on there last night. I knew it was a risk. My bedroom is so small, that my desk and my bed have become the same item of furniture. And now, my long division is soggy from my overnight dribble. Ewwwww.”
Who are you…
Think about your main character. Are they shy, funny, nervous, worried about anything, trying to achieve something? All of those, even. You are going to be writing their most private thoughts, so you need to understand their emotions and how they will feel about things.
It might help to start with a diary of someone who is a little bit like you. Harper Drew is a little bit like me (but more confident I think) so it makes it easier to know what she will be thinking when the mayhem and drama happens.
What to say about an ordinary day…
So, it might seem like everyone you know just goes to school and comes home for beans on toast for dinner. But ordinary days always have something amazing about them… if you look closely enough. Think of someone at school who did something strange or funny. Does your brother or sister have an annoying habit? It doesn’t even have to have happened recently. There could be a great story that you heard about your uncle’s, best friend’s dog. Use it for inspiration!
And don’t worry about writing about some downtime too. There can’t be action and drama happening every minute of every day… although it usually is for Harper Drew!
Have fun diary writing…
Love Kathy x
You can find out more about Kathy Weeks and her work by following her on Twitter: @Kathyweeks1977Published: Fri 4th Feb 2022