How to Write a Novel in Diary Form


Writing a novel in diary form is a particular narrative mode. Diaries fall under the technical category of epistolary novel: a novel written through a series of documents. This form can add greater realism while exploring the character's voice and innermost feelings. But writing a novel in diary format can take more strategy and planning compared to a personal journal.


  • Decide on a narrative point of view. In epistolary novels, there are three narrative styles: monologic, dialogic and polyogic. When writing in diary format, a monologic narrative would include one character's diary, dialogic would include two characters' diaries, and polyogic would have three or more characters' accounts.

  • Create a bridge. If you decide on dialogic or polyogic narrative styles, you may have to bridge each character's diary through the elaboration of an omniscient narrator.

  • Be consistent. A popular tactic is placing the date, time and location before each diary entry.

  • Know your first person pronouns. A character writing a diary will use the following pronouns: I, me, my, myself, mine, us, we, our, ours and ourselves.

  • Read other novels that apply diary form. Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" are examples of successful literature that applied the diary form technique.

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