Keeping a Fiction Journal
by Ron Kurtus (updated 6 June 2022)
A fiction journal is a listing of your ideas and observations, concerning possible stories and their characters. As a fiction writer, you not only need ideas for good stories, but you must also be able to describe people, locations and events. Although you can depend on your memory to create elements of a story as you are writing, it is much easier to keep a fiction journal.
Not only does it provide a storehouse of material for stories, the daily act of writing is a good way to hone your skills before you try to get published. Your journal may be written out in longhand, noted in your word processor or even posted in your blog. The more you write, the better you get at it.
Questions you may have on this include:
- Why collect observations?
- How is a journal written?
- What are the benefits of doing this?
This lesson will try to answer those questions.
Observations and ideas
Many people write a personal journal, diary or blog to express their feelings, emotions, experiences and opinions. As a fiction writer, you can also do this, but it is more important to keep a separate fiction journal with the intention of collecting material for your stories and books.
You can take emotions you have felt and record them for application to one of your characters. You can use personal experiences as a basis for experiences of your story's hero or heroine. You can record stories and experiences that other people have had to add to your repertoire.
You may read about something happening or witness an event that can give you an idea of a good story to write. Recording your story ideas will assure that they are not forgotten and lost forever.
Writing in the journal
Most people purchase an ordinary notebook or special journal notebook to write out their thoughts and experiences in longhand. The advantage of this technique is that you can have your journal with you at all times, so that you can jot down a thought or observation right at the moment.
Some writers will use a word processor to write down thoughts and ideas. The advantage is that you can readily re-use the material you have written. The disadvantage is that often ideas pop in your mind when away from the computer. A good compromise is to re-write longhand observations into your word processor or blog. Also, you can improve what you have written by embellishing on it or rewriting it. In such a case, it might be good to keep the original file and use a copy for your embellishment.
Using a blog for the main fiction journal has the same disadvantage as using a word processor in that you may get your best ideas away from the computer. Another disadvantage is that you may not want the world to see your story ideas.
Writing a daily fiction journal is a great way to get started in writing. It is a fact that the more you write, the better you get at expressing yourself on paper. In this journal, you can express your feelings and emotions that can be transferred to your character's emotions.
By writing every day, you improve your skills to the point that writing becomes second nature to you. It stimulates your mind, such that soon you will have more ideas for stories to write.
You can write out your ideas and observations concerning possible stories and their characters in a fiction journal. Although you can depend on your memory to create elements of a story as you are writing, it is much easier to keep ideas in a fiction journal. Not only does it provide a storehouse of material for stories, but the daily act of writing is a good way to hone your skills before you try to get published. Your journal may be written out in longhand, noted in your word processor or even posted in your blog. Longhand is best, since your journal would always be available when ideas pop in your mind.
Observe other people
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Keeping a Fiction Journal