Captain's Snark log, dateline today.

Queries a Snarkling:

Dear Miss Snark:
What is your opinion on the diary format for a novel?

Isn't today the 10th anniversary of the first publication of Bridget Jones?
I think it might be.

And I like the DIARY of BJ v.v. much.

Diary of Anne Frank ... also v.v. much

Hard to imagine two more disparate authors/subjects/tones.
Yet both are diaries.

I have a fondness for epistolary novels: Daddy Long Legs, Ella Minnow Pea,
True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, which is not shared by enough editors or writers.

I'll read just about anything for ten pages. If it works, I'll read on. If it doesn't, I'll stop regardless of form.

If you're writing in an unusual form, you'll want to announce that fact in your cover letter so you avoid the v. v. bad response of "what the f is this??" that arises from reading along and suddenly everything shifts abruptly cause the narrator is an unintegrated multiple personality.


kitty said...

Thank you, Miss Snark.

I got that "what the f is this??" response from another writer. I would have thought that the dates at the top would have been a clue, not to mention that I had told him that it was a diary. Hmmmmmmmm? Maybe his response had nothing to do with the form.

Any tips/advice on using the diary form? Or just have at it?

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,
One assumes that agents/publishers are acutely aware of trends. The success of the Potter books has probably caused an explosion in YA,in submissions as well as print.
Considering the time it takes for an accepted ms to reach bookseller's shelves, do you have any impression/comments on the next publishing wave?
It seems to me that agents are particularly positioned to observe this. If enough writers, through some basic, sub-dural impulse/ understanding/awareness of the public's interest, are impelled to write a certain type of genre/sub-genre/ cross-genre, inevitably, some of them will be good enough to be accepted and inevitably some of them will take fire with the readers, a reverse domino effect.

Miss Snark said...

Datelines and "Dear Diary" should be clue enough, but ...who knows.

I would say just have at it, Snarkittyling. Sometimes it's best to just write and let the readers fall where they may.

Anonymous said...

What does Miss Snark say about Stephen Marche's Raymond and Hannah; it does seem that Harcourt is taking most of the risks when it comes to the experimental form" no?

Polly P.I. said...

Miss Snark,
My blog is a sort of online diary...only with death and spying.

I enjoy that format in books, as well. David Sedaris and Erma Bombeck come to mind.

I just found your blog and am very much enjoying it. I'm in the process of finding an agent and this information is very valuable.

Polly PI

Hello to Kitty, btw!