->''"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."''
-->-- ''Theatre/TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest'' by Creator/OscarWilde

A Diary is a written work chronicling a period of time for an individual or entity. Diaries are similar to [[{{Biography}} Autobiographies]] in nature, but are written in a daily format and are generally not intended for publication. Nevertheless, many diaries have been published, and give us great insight into the times, people, and places they center around.

The most commonly known kind of diaries are written by private individuals for their own use (also called journals or logs), but institutional diaries, such as business records, also exist. In modern times, the {{Blog}}, from the words "web log," has become a medium of choice for personal journals made public.

Diaries have existed since medieval times. The earliest known were [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Bungaku written by Japanese princesses and court ladies]]. Religious devotees, male and female, used them for spiritual introspection and self-improvement. By the Renaissance, diaries held ordinary daily life events alongside personal thoughts and feelings. People also kept "commonplace books" to record quotations and ideas from other people.

Men and women from all walks of life have kept all kinds of diaries and journals, but they've become increasingly gendered over the last century or so. Partly due to the popularity in the Victorian era of fictional works in diary form, diaries became culturally coded as "feminine". Even now, diaries tend to be seen primarily as a tool of women's empowerment. Men may be teased for having a diary which forces them to use a {{Less Embarrassing Term}} such as "a journal". [[http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/06/07/30-days-to-a-better-man-day-8-start-a-journal/ The Art of Manliness has this to say about diaries]] and why men should keep them.

Diaries are generally {{Nonfiction}}, although they can be used as a story-telling device for {{fiction}}al works as well and may contain works of {{Fiction}} within the Diary itself. Fictional diaries are easy to publish in serial formats like the WebSerialNovel.

Diaries actually seen in fiction are odd animals once a little FridgeLogic is applied. They'll often have [[GreatBigBookOfEverything everything across a person's life in one book]], whereas people who actually keep diaries know eventually you fill one book and have to start a new one (depending on how verbose you are being). Also characters may flip through a diary and it will be full to the end, despite the fact that most in-progress diaries could be at any state of completion. When pages are left blank in a diary, the immediate assumption is that something has happened to the diarist; he wouldn't leave his book behind.

See also SecretDiary, ScrapbookStory, EpistolaryNovel, ApocalypticLog, and CaptainsLog.
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!!Nonfiction Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/TheDiaryOfAYoungGirl'', the diary of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, probably the most famous diary ever published.
* ''Literature/TheDiaryOfSamuelPepys'': 1660-1669 life in London -- historically intriguing and hysterically funny. Also dirty.
* The second most famous childhood diary is probably that of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Fleming Marjory Fleming]] (1803-1811). After her sudden death at age eight, she was mythologized and edited heavily by MoralGuardians. The most factual account of her life and writing is in Alexandra Johnson's ''The Hidden Writer''.
* Mary Chesnut's diary of Southern life during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, published under various titles
* ''Diary of George Templeton Strong'' 1835-1875. New York lawyer and musician, also writing during the Civil War, detailed descriptions of culture, politics, current events. Both Chesnut's and Strong's diaries were heavily used in Ken Burns' documentary ''The Civil War''.
* ''Mein Widerstand'' (My Opposition) 1939-1943 by Friedrich Kellner, life in Nazi Germany
* ''Journal des Goncourt'' (Goncourt Journal), 1851-1896 by brothers Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, about the French Second Empire
* ''Diary of Marie Bashkirtseff'' 1873-1884 by artist/early feminist Marie Bashkirtseff, published by family members after her early death
* Naturalist [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opal_Whiteley Opal Whiteley]] wrote diary notes from the age of five which she edited into a bestselling and controversial book, ''The Story of Opal''. .
* ''Diary of Anais Nin'' 1914-1974 by author Anais Nin, her personal life and detailed portraits of her friends and family
* For a long time, historian-journalist Edward Robb Ellis was considered to have written the world's longest diary, from 1927 to 1997.
* ''The Reagan Diaries''
* Bruce Frederick Cummings' ''The Journal of a Disappointed Man'' (written as W.N.P. Barbellion) vividly chronicles the life of an energetic spirit doomed to die from MS. Another diarist who wrote about what it was like to live with chronic pain was the poet William Soutar.
* ''PrayersForBobby'' has sections of the book that are diary entries of an actual young man who committed suicide.
* Edith Holden, ''Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady''. Its original title was ''Nature notes for 1906''. Artist Holden wrote and drew this lovely diary for herself alone, and it lay forgotten until its discovery in 1977. Her illustrations have appeared on hundreds of tie-in items and premiums.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Originals ]]

* ''Belle de Jour: diary of a London call girl''

!!Fictional Examples

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''ComicBook/CerebusTheAardvark'', the tavern owner Pud Withers keeps one in the ''Jaka's Story'' arc. Initially it's very dry and repetitive, with each entry almost a carbon copy of the previous, but about halfway through it starts becoming more sinister.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fanfic ]]

* ''Fanfic/TheVerySecretDiaries'' of characters from ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''.
* ''Fanfic/ThePrivateDiaryOfElizabethQuatermain''
* The excellent (but unfortunately DeadFic) Literature/HarryPotter series "Hermione, Queen of Witches" is a variant on this trope; the entire story consists of Hermione writing in her diary, but the diary writes back.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic FanFic/BackgroundPony is told through the diary of Lyra Heartstrings, although one chapter is [[spoiler: the diary of Alabaster Comehoof, who suffered the same curse as Lyra a thousand years ago.]]
* ''Fanfic/ShadowAndRose'' is basically the plot of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' told in the format of Alistair's diary.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Diaries of Literature/AdrianMole''
* ''Literature/ThePrincessDiaries'' by Meg Cabot
* ''The Literature/BridgetJones Diaries''
* ''Literature/CharlottePowers'' is presented as the journal of a fifteen year-old superhero.
* The ''DearAmerica'' book series, and its spinoffs, ''My America'', ''My Name Is America'', and ''[[TheRoyalDiaries Royal Diaries]]''. The ''[[TheroyalDiaries Royal Diaries]]'' are fictional diaries "written" by real [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses royalty]], including Cleopatra VII, [[TheVirginQueen Elizabeth I]], [[MaryOfScotland Mary Queen of Scots]], Catherine the Great, MarieAntoinette, Grand Duchess Anastasia, and others that aren't as easy to name drop.
* The Costa Rican novel ''Pantalones Cortos'' and its sequels ''Verano de Colores'' and ''Pantalones Largos''. It's worth noticing that these are actually "pormediarios" as they are written "de da por medio" (every other day)
* ''The Diary of Adam and Eve'' by MarkTwain
* Creator/StephenKing's short story ''Survivor Type'' (collected in the anthology ''Skeleton Crew''). The story is a diary of a man trapped on a DesertedIsland.
* Very possibly the entirety of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''; it has been mentioned in the novels that wizards of the White Council are expected to keep journals, which they pass down to their apprentices--as well as the journals of their teachers, and their teacher's teachers, etc, ''ad nauseum.'' What Harry may well eventually receive will include the journals of Merlin. The ''[[ArthurianLegend original]]'' Merlin.
* ''Literature/CatherineCalledBirdy'' by Karen Cushman is written in the form of a diary by a fictional girl living in the Middle Ages.
* The ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' books by TamoraPierce is written in the form of journal entries by the titular character.
* ''Dear Mr. Henshaw'', by Beverly Cleary, begins as a letter written by Leigh Botts to his favorite author, who encourages him to keep a diary. After the first few letters, the book shifts to the format of a diary (which is still addressed "Dear Mr. Henshaw" because Leigh thought it would make it easier to write).
* ''Podkayne of Mars'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein is presented as the diary of the heroine.
* Jeff Kinney's ''DiaryOfAWimpyKid'', a satire of middle school life, has become insanely popular, with many sequels, several movies and a TV series in the works. Marketing premiums include blank diaries with "wimpy kid" themes.
* ''Literature/ColasBreugnon''
* ''Literature/TheSacredDiaryOfAdrianPlass'', a fictional, funny account of Christian life in England.
* ''Literature/TheStarDiaries'' by Creator/StanislawLem.
* ''Diary'' by Creator/ChuckPalahniuk
* The almost forgotten Creator/JamesLeoHerlihy novel ''Literature/TheSeasonOfTheWitch" is entirely Gloria's journal, with a note from her friend John added to an early entry.


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* The Website/ItHeSoftware website includes [[http://it-he.org/arx_diry.htm Am-Shaegar's Diary]], a satirical run-down of GoodBadBugs and {{Easter Egg}}s in the game ''VideoGame/ArxFatalis'' in the form of the protagonist's diary.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Video ]]

* ''WebVideo/TheLizzieBennetDiaries'' is a SettingUpdate of ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice''. Lizzie is a vlogger and attempts to shoot her life and present it as an online diary. Who knew her year would be so exciting?
* ''WebVideo/TheAutobiographyOfJaneEyre'': Jane Eyre vlogs about her life. She's trained as a nurse, but decided to become a live-in tutor of a young girl.

!!Diaries Appearing in Fictional Works

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Midori of ''MidoriDays'' writes in her journal when Seiji is asleep. Plays very important to the plot later on.
* In ''{{Change 123}}'', [[TeenGenius Kannami]] suggests that Motoko use a shared diary as a means of communication with her [[SplitPersonality alters]]. While Fujiko doesn't write in it much, Mikiri and Hibiki certainly do. . . To Motoko's horror.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Rorschach's Journal, October 12th.
-->''Dog carcass in alley this morning. Tire tread on burst stomach. The city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "save us!" And I'll whisper "no".''
* ''[[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel Junior]] in his early career was a kind of Dickens character. As Freddy Freeman, he was a poor lame boy who lived in a chilly garret and sold newspapers. Most superheroes had sidekicks so they'd have someone to talk to; Freddy had his diary. It was his one really valuable possession, with gold-leaf decoration on the covers. Mary Marvel's adventures were also told in diary form.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Enda's video diaries, found after his death in ''RedRosesAndPetrol'', including a dedicated poem to his wife.
* ''Henry & June'' is based on Anais Nin's actual diaries from the early 1930s.
* The German silent film ''DiaryOfALostGirl'' features the titular diary, the one possession Themain manages to keep through everything.
* Sam's video diaries in ''Literature/WaysToLiveForever'', as well as the book he's writing.
* Veronica keeps a diary in ''{{Film/Heathers}}'', complete with voice-over narration whenever she's seen writing in it.
* In ''IndianaJones and the Last Crusade,'' Henry Jones, Sr. keeps track of all his research on the Holy Grail in a book that both he and his son refer to as "the Grail Diary."

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Tom Riddle's diary in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets''. Riddle's diary is based on how Creator/JKRowling views diaries as "really frightening" due to their power to make little girls confide in them only to become paranoid that [[SecretDiary someone will read them and discover their secrets]].
* Eustace's diary in ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader.''
* In ''FirstRidersCall'', several entries from the journal of Hadriax el Fex, TheDragon to an ancient EvilOverlord, break up the chapters and serve to provide backstory for the conflict that is happening now. [[spoiler: It is also revealed to have special significance to the protagonist, who turns out to be his descendant.]]
* An old diary found by Leo Colston in ''Literature/TheGoBetween'' revives memories of a traumatic summer holiday fifty years earlier.
* Lori finds one volume of Lucasta [=DeClerke's=] diary late in ''[[AuntDimity Aunt Dimity: Snowbound]]''. Through it, Lori learns more of her side of the story behind the theft of the family jewels.
* {{Discussed}} in Jane Austen's ''Literature/NorthangerAbbey''. Henry Tilney gently mocks Catherine that he doesn't believe her not keeping a diary. How else could she tell her friends about her glorious time in Bath? He also thinks that ladies gain their writing style from practising with diaries. This is an early (1817!) instance of the use of the word "journal" as a verb; Henry speaks several times of "journaling", making the whole discussion sound oddly modern.
* A.S. Byatt's novel ''Possession'' has several diaries. The first clue to the mystery is found in the diary of Henry Crabb Robinson (a real person, who often invited famous Creators to his home for ''salons''). There's more in the journal of Ellen Ash, who is said to use her book to "baffle" future readers with complex hints. Blanche Glover's diary tells another part of the story. Sabine de Kercoz, Christabel's cousin, intended her journal to improve her writing so she could be an author herself, but ended up telling the story of what happened after Christabel's romance with Randolph Ash.
* In Lawrence Block's suspense novel ''Literature/{{Ariel|Block}}'', Ariel keeps her diary in an ordinary school notebook so her mother won't snoop. She says she got the idea of hiding secret things in plain sight from EdgarAllanPoe's ''ThePurloinedLetter''.
* ''The Cabin Faced West'' by Jean Fritz, kind of a Pennsylvania ''Little House on the Prairie'', includes a subplot about a diary and its mysterious disappearance and rediscovery.
* * Zo's diary is part of the story of Alyson Nol's ''Literature/SavingZoe''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The Doctor keeps the ''500 Year Diary'' in the series ''Series/DoctorWho''
* ''DoogieHowserMD'' ended each episode with Doogie writing on his computer diary.
* ''Secret Diary of a Call Girl'', which is based on the above ''Belle de Jour'' blog
* Bobby's diary in ''PrayersForBobby''.
* Sue Sylvester from ''{{Glee}}'' is sometimes seen writing quips about important events or characters in a diary, most noticeably Mr. Schue.
* On ''Series/TheXFiles'', Scully writes a diary to Mulder, presumably as a means to help them both cope with her [[spoiler: impending death from an inoperable tumor.]] Shown in "Memento Mori".
* Brazilian show Casseta & Planeta had a frequent sketch called ''Diary of a Macho'', revolving around a violence-loving DumbMuscle (a stereotype known there as "pitboy") writing one of those. The opening line is always "Dear diary - not dear, because 'dear' is a queer thing! [more manly term] diary...".
* In ''[[Series/BuffytheVampireSlayer Buffy]]'' Dawn Summers is shown writing in a diary complete with voice over narrating of what is being written. It's presumed that she has done this for most of her life but could also be an [[ActorAllusion allusion]] to Michelle Trachtenberg's role as Harriet in ''HarrietTheSpy''. Rupert Giles also keeps his own diary, which briefly gets touched upon in an episode when we learn what he thought of Buffy upon their first day meeting.
* In ITV adaptation of Creator/JaneAusten's ''Northanger Abbey'' (2007), Catherine and Henry Tilney discuss ladies' writing diaries as in the book, and moreover, Catherine is shown as an avid diary keeper.
* ''Series/MurdochMysteries'', "Shades of Grey":
** Lily, the victim of the week, kept a diary, but she wrote nothing important there, only boring stuff. George is probably close to the truth when he says she did it to confuse her potentially nosy mother.
** Constable George Crabtree says that he keeps a diary himself which surprises Detective Murdoch. Later in the series, George is revealed to be an aspiring mystery novel writer.
* Another aspiring novelist is Beaver of ''LeaveItToBeaver''. Hearing that Beaver is contemplating a writing career. Ward gives him a diary. He emphasizes its private, personal nature and the fact that some great writers used ideas from their own childhood diaries. Beaver openly despairs of simply recording his "boring" real life. When he is late home from school, Ward and June [[{{Hypocrite}} of course break into the diary]], where they discover lurid accounts of reckless, criminal activity. Completely snowed by the SecretDiary stereotype, they fail to realize he is using the book to practice fictional narrative.
* A worn, stained diary figures in the ''MagnumPI'' adventure "Forever in Time". It's kept by the elderly traditional Pali-Uli Keahikapu, once a lady-in-waiting to a Hawaiian princess, who is now concerned about the safety of the princess' granddaughter. The last entry, twenty or so pages before the end, is "MUST STOP VICTORIA'S DEATH."
* There's also a diary in the ''HawaiiFiveO'' episode "Up Tight". This one belongs to young Edie Hastings, who threw herself off a cliff while on "speed" (though clearly LSD is meant). The trail leads to Prof. [[MeaningfulName Stone]], a Timothy Leary {{Expy}}, whom Edie's father confronts with her book. He demands Stone read Edie's words, revealing that the two were lovers, before forcing him to take some of his own drugs (he ends up on the same cliff). Stone reads from the ''front'' of the book, which looks very new; Edie had only made a couple of entries before her death.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Two great quotes from Oscar Wilde's ''Theatre/TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest'':
--> ''"I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn't write them down, I should probably forget all about them."''
--> ''"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* ''CalvinAndHobbes'' had one strip:
-->'''Calvin:''' History will thank me for keeping this journal at such a young age. As one of those individuals destined for true greatness, this record of my thoughts and convictions will provide valuable insight into my budding genius. Think of it - a priceless historical document in the making! Wow!
-->'''Calvin:''' So who ''else'' should I add to my list of total jerks?
-->'''Hobbes:''' Who else do you even ''know''?

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'', [[CreepyChild Maria's]] diary is used by [[FutureBadass Ange]] 12 years after the mass murder on Rokkenjima in order to communicate with Maria herself.
* Each chapter of ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 5}}'' is ended with Rebecca reading from her diary entry on it. She also tries to use her diary to explain her real feelings to Dean, but he refuses to read it out of chivalry.
* Valdo, the protagonist of the PC mystery game ''SecretsOfDaVinciTheForbiddenManuscript'', maintains a diary throughout the game which provides the player with additional hints and clues.
* Similarly to the above example, the player character in the PC adventure game ''Siege of Avalon'' keeps a diary which the player can read. It's of particular interest as the means of displaying each NonstandardGameOver which can occur.
* "Write in diary" is one of the action choices when the player clicks on a bookcase in ''VideoGame/TheSims''.
* You save your game in ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' by writing in a diary.
* There are several diaries in ''VideoGame/{{Calling}}'' which are needed to help the story move along since you're trying to learn about the mysteries of the game.
* April keeps a diary throughout the original ''VideoGame/TheLongestJourney'', which is an important source of her characterization. How she manages to update it even after being pulled into a parallel universe in just her underwear is never explained.
* Luke's diary in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' functions as both NowWhereWasIGoingAgain for the player and showing CharacterDevelopment for Luke outside party interactions.
* In role-playing games, diaries seem to be kept by an inordinate number of people - even those one wouldn't expect to be particularly literate or to have much interest in chronicling their thoughts or day-to-day lives. The real purpose of these diaries, of course, is to conveniently tell the protagonist exactly how to break the curse, find the hidden treasure, or what have you, without too much strain on the player's (or the game designer's) part.
* Alexander Morris can keep a diary in ''VideoGame/DraculaUnleashed'' at the player's discretion. Writing in it after a trip to the local newsstand will include some newspaper clippings to browse.
* The Master Detective of the ''VideoGame/MysteryCaseFiles'' games maintains a diary in each game. The plot of ''Ravenhearst'', the first game in the "Ravenhearst" sub-series, hinges around collecting the scattered pages of a young woman's lost diary in order to find out what happened in the titular manor several years earlier.
** In ''Fate's Carnival'', the Master Detective ends up reassembling Alister Dalimar's lost diary [[spoiler:which turns out to be the key to destroying him]].
* It's never seen, but the {{player character}} of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' can mention staying up to write in his/her diary in a certain sequence of dialogue with Leliana, if she is romanced.
* While walking about the castle in ''[[PaperMario64 Paper Mario]]'' Princess Peach comes across Bowser's diary and upon reading it learns the location of an important PlotCoupon. Bowser also mentions that [[StalkerWithACrush he hopes Princess Peach likes him.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' has [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2002-08-16 a copy of the journal of the wizard]] who enchanted the [[MineralMacGuffin Dewitchery Diamond]].
* [[http://thewretchedones.smackjeeves.com/ The Wretched Ones]] plot is kicked off with the discovery of Nicholas Thomas' lost journals one hundred years after he died.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'': Dr. Horrible's video blog is the framing device.
* ''WereAlive'': The story is being told through the journals of the main characters.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' uses the title character's diary entries as narration. He [[InsistentTerminology prefers the term "journal"]], however. It becomes the focus of one episode in which it goes missing.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBarbieDiaries'' features this, making the movie the franchise's most low-key fantasy endeavour.
* In season 4 of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' the Mane Six use a diary to tell the friendship lessons they have learned in that week's episode.
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