Journal Story


(permanent link) added: 2009-12-06 08:41:34 sponsor: Paul A edited by: PaulA (last reply: 2010-12-02 22:40:54)

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A story which is presented as the diary or journal of one of the characters.

A feature of this form is that the narrator doesn't know what's going to happen next. Another is that it's more plausible they're able to remember events in detail (compared to, for instance, recounting the events years later). On the other hand, if the author makes the diarist's life too action-packed, the reader may end up wondering when he or she is finding the time to write all this down.

May turn out to be an Apocalyptic Log. Along with Epistolary Novel, one of the main forms that can contribute to a Scrapbook Story.

The film-and-TV equivalent would be things like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, which are told through the footage shot by somebody who happened to be holding a camera when the plot started.

Examples:

  • "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • parts of Dracula
  • Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe
  • Diana Wynne Jones has written two novels that are in journal-of-a-character form, Black Maria and The Spellcoats, and in both the existence in-story of the journal itself becomes relevant to the plot.
  • The Art of Coarse Moving by Michael Green, which is probably too obscure to be useful as an example but comes to mind because I saw a copy in the library today.
  • Notes on a Scandal is narrated by the bitter old Barbara via her diary. In a twist, this becomes an important plot element when her victim Sheba discovers and reads the diary.
  • Frankenstein was a journal that a sea captain wrote to his sister, wherein he recounts the story told by Victor Frankenstein.
  • The Pendragon Adventure. Bobby tells his story in a number of journals which he writes in between events.
  • The Beka Cooper books in the Tortall Universe series are written like this.
  • I haven't read it, but I'd guess The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is another example.
  • Armistead Maupin's Maybe The Moon is mainly journal entries, with a couple Scrapbook Story elements thrown in at the end to tie up the story after the viewpoint character dies.
  • Flowers for Algernon is told in progress reports.
  • Grinny, by Nicholas Fisk.
  • Anthem.
  • David R. Palmer's novel Emergence, written as the journal of the main character Candidia ("Candy") Smith-Foster.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars.
  • The Outsiders was school paper.

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