I have never been very successful in keeping a diary – neither a personal one nor an appointments one. I had period of several years where I had a diary which I would jot a couple of sentences in each night… but even that has fallen by the wayside. I never read old diaries of mine, and when I came across a couple I had written between the ages of about sixteen and early twenties, a quick glance and then I threw them away.
My most recent book, Radwinter was written as if by the main character, Thomas, and he dated everything he wrote, and it never occurred to me when I wrote it that it might read as a diary. A friend pointed it out and asked why I had written it like that… I actually don’t know, it just seemed the way Thomas might have kept a note of what he was doing with his family tree research and then it extending into his observations on his marriage, his work and his family.
Now I am writing a sequel to Radwinter, I have written it in the same way because Thomas is once again the narrator.However, I am now wondering whether I should fill in ‘entry’ dates, whether it is helpful to the reader to see what amount of time has passed, because part of the story is the development of Thomas’s relationship with his new partner, and him gradually recovering from the minor break down he had. I wondered if noting the passage of time would subtly support the narrative, or whether it could be done by, ‘The following Wednesday we went to the…’, ‘Three days later I…’ or ‘After a busy weekend and a frantic Monday we…’
I think I might write them in and have another read through and think again whether it works, whether it’s helpful, or whether it’s a distraction.
If you haven’t yet read Radwinter here’s a link: