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Advice on writing the diaries of an explorer

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by mbartelsm, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

    I'm working on a illustration project for college, the project is basically writing and illustrating a journal from a fictional adventurer who is exploring a world I've created. While my primary focus are the illustrations, it would be a shame to neglect the writing part.

    I'm particularly worried about character creation. My character is a young man, part of the first generation to have been born on this new world (earth jumped dimensions and it changed abruptly in the span of 20 years into a fantasy world). The thing is I know how to visually create a character but I don't know how to do the same with writing, specially from a 1st person POV.

    What tips or advice can you share that would help me start this journey?
  2. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    Why not try reading an actual explorer's journal? There's got to plenty of journals and autobiographies out there written by various types of adventurers about their exploits. Reading one would give you a model to work from.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    That's where I'd start too.
    They often can be very dry if they are recorded at the time or quickly afterwards [ Scott's Diary is very dry but so powerful to read ].
    If they were written for publication after the event they can become closer to travelogues and far more interesting to read [but possibly not as reliable or accurate].
    I'd also want to work out if your MC is an Explorer or someone exploring a strange new place...
    The former is more likely to make remakes about distance and direction and weather etc. [the mechanics]..
    The latter might be overwhelmed by strange and newness [and highlight what is strange...].
    It sounds like an interesting project.
    Good luck!
  4. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

    The idea is for the diary to be recorded at the end of the day or quickly after important moments (thanks for the link, just what I needed). The MC is a young man venturing into an unknown world, hoping to unlock some of it's mysteries in order to help his people when (if) he returns.
  5. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

    Diaries are written with the purpose of the expedition in mind, not the purposes of entertainment. Also material might be left out. For instance, Meriwether Lewis's diary has nothing on the Lewis and Clark expedition reaching the Pacific perhaps because they were too busy for diary entries. In addition, diaries are likely full of odd shorthand which will jog the writer's memory but be incomprehensible to the casual reader. Consider David Sedaris's Reddit AMA on his diary:

    Overall, write the diary for its primary reader, the author himself later, the best example of which are the skin notes taken by the main character in "Momento." Of course, in shaping the gaps and shorthand, you can create suspense for the reader as to what's really going on.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  6. gethinmorgan

    gethinmorgan Scribe

    It strikes me that as an explorer, he wouldn't be alone. This puts up more opportunity for tension, conflict and exploding barrels. :D
  7. AshleyTaylor

    AshleyTaylor Acolyte

    You may need to read some other story in first person on the journey. You said you know how to describe it, but don't know how to write. The answer is simply to write things in an easy manner and try to write what the reader wants to read.

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