No discrimination. The genre of diary entry treats its animate (living) and inanimate subjects (non-living) equally. So should the author. A hand bag, a typewriter or a ladle are as much exemplary narrators as are an astronaut, a teacher or a wimpy kid.
When penning down a day’s experience from their perspective, the inanimate subjects take on a life of their own. They are not mere passive objects of human gaze, but active agents of action. They sense and feel as much as a creature of flesh and blood.
Here we share a few techniques which will help you compose diary entries of objects.
1. Self/implied personification: It’s a no-brainer that an object writing a diary entry must do so like a real human being. The melodious ‘voice’ of a piano is as much worthy of a note as is the ‘trunk’ of a walking stick. Bodily references as well as mortal actions can figure into the picture.
Exploit the literary technique of personification to its full extent:
“I’m the sole DVR in this family, swallowing one music series after the other, depending on the whims of three generations.” (Diary entry of a DVR)
“My frozen cranium contrasts absolutely with my chilly torso.” (Diary entry of a refrigerator)
2. Sentimentalizing: Not just the corporal. Infuse your subject with pressing human emotions.
It could be the injustice meted out to a sulky roll of crushed paper:
“After being brutally tossed into the room’s corner, I was eventually pulverized, when I breathed my last in a paper shredder.”
Or, the daily grousing of a broom:
“Knocks, joggles and sweeps!!! How my life passes in these rude movements.”
3. Transferred epithet: This figure of speech involves a modifier (mostly, an adjective) qualifying not only its primary noun but also another object alongside. It entails a dual allusion. In the case of inanimate objects, the narrator could concoct expressions like:
“I’m a soulful piano.” (Soulful referring to both music and piano; diary entry of a piano)
“Mom calls me ‘a screechy thingamabob.’” (Screechy used for both the device’s ringing and its high volume; diary entry of a mobile phone)
4. Startling beginnings: Introduce your subject by astonishing the readers out of their senses. Humour may play a critical role here. Procrastinate revealing the protagonist’s identity. Relate it to some of its dramatic actions. Thereafter, leave the rest for the readers to wonder.
“I gulp down the litter of the world. Each and every day.” (Diary entry of a dustbin)
“Faces may come and go. Yet, I see the insides out of everyone.” (Diary entry of a mirror)
5. Keen observations: Every narrator must be an acute observer of his world. He takes a note of all the acts and happenings around him with senses wide alert.
“Holy moly, a get-together again! Life is lived to the lees in this house. So, I see the mom now scurrying here and there, arranging delicious dishes. The dad is gone out to fetch wines and champagnes. The kids are merrymaking, way too exhilarated about what’s coming on.”
A diary entry is a highly personalized account of an experience. Hope the above strategies will help you add shades to your central character.