Are you entering a short story competition and can’t think what to write about? Perhaps you want a story that will stand out and so you’re looking for that unusual hook. A story in diary form can work very well. As diary entries are in the first person, the reader gains an intimate insight into the character and feels and experiences everything as that character does. The diary could be written by a child who’s lost her parents and make a strong, emotional read or written by an old lady who interferes in all her neighbour’s business, which will make for a very different type of story, maybe one to make the reader smile. Here’s a short example for you. It’s only a single diary entry but it should give you the idea:
The Secret Diary of Matthew Martin aged, 14 ¼
Monday, July 10th
It’s over! Today is finally over. But I’ve got to go through hell tomorrow – all thanks to Mum and her thong. Ugh! I still feel sick thinking about it. Thongs look good on Paris Hilton, not Maureen Martin. Mum must be at least 20 years older and 20 stone heavier.
I thought she wore big knickers. There’s usually a row of them on the washing line. Like great gigantic grey pillowcases they are. Well, today of all days she seemed to have discovered thongs. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she had worn a white one. Well, on Mum it would have been as bad, but to make things even worse, she wore a black one – with white trousers. I’d have forgiven Paris Hilton that, but not Mum. And not in front of Stuart Biggs.
They’re against me. All of them. I’m sure of it. Mum. Stuart. Miss Sawyer. She knows Stuart hates me. He’s the cleverest in the class and he’s good-looking, too. Like all his friends. So why on earth she put us together for that science project is beyond me. Stuart was pretty horrified at the idea, too, though not as horrified as when Miss Sawyer said we would need to get together after school. And certainly not as horrified as when he walked into our kitchen and Mum was bending over to get her homemade ‘break-a-tooth’ buns out the oven.
Stuart swore blind she farted, too. Even I know it was the dodgy floorboard. Our house is ancient. Dodgy floorboards everywhere. Stuart wouldn’t have it and was texting everyone about it as he left.
I wouldn’t have felt so bad if Stuart’s Mum was a hideous old bag, too, but she’s a goddess. Even better than Paris. And that’s saying something.
Stuart’s phone provider will be having a field day tonight. Dad would have had to come home at that exact moment. Stuart’s Dad has got a Mercedes. My Dad’s got a scooter. With a girly basket on the front. I didn’t need to see Stuart’s face. I knew the smirk was there. But he turned round anyway, so I could see it.
Though I must admit that smirk went pretty quickly when his mum turned up in her bright pink Beetle. She gave me a big kiss on the cheek, which was rather nice. I wonder how long lipstick marks stay on if you don’t wash. And then she squeezed, yes I must write it again, squeezed Stuart’s cheek and called him, ‘sweetie.’
Perhaps tomorrow won’t be so bad after all.