Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
There's a weird sort of fascination surrounding diaries, journals, and now blogs. I got my first diary when I was a tender five years of age. Of course this original diary was more funny than anything with notes from my brother claiming I smelled, fanciful tales of Halloween ghosts, and the occasional snarky remark about my mother's choice of boyfriend (later to be husband.) The spelling was also really really bad but what can I say, I was five. In my teen years I continued to write diaries, in the plural sense, as I liked to leave fake ones around in case my mother got too curious about my life, which at one point she did. The theory of probability won out with this one as she picked up one of the many forgeries rather than the one real one. Now I don't know why you might be interested in a fake diary - maybe you live with an equally curious individual, or perhaps you're trying to break a dreaded case of writer's block, or maybe like me you're just frequently bored. Of course some of you diary fakers might be into the hobby a little more hardcore. Perhaps you have aspirations of becoming the next Konrad Kujau. He was the king of fake diaries, hand writing 62 volumes of Hitler's reign, from who else than Hitler himself! Sure, besides the length of the script it was an obvious hack job, this still didn't prevent him from selling the publishing rights to the nearest gullible media mogul for a cool four million. And even now it has been proved a hoax there's still something really quite funny about imagining Hitler write something like, "Because of the new pills I have violent flatulence, and -- says Eva -- bad breath."
Establishing a Goal
Real diaries have no goals. They're just a description of every day life but you're a little too mischievous for that. Maybe you want a fake diary that can be found someday where it'll make you glorious and wholly innocent. Maybe you want a diary that merely throws someone off the scent of your real diary. Maybe you want a stellar fiction. I don't know, but depending what your goal is will dictate what your entries should be about and what they should and should not express. So think about it. Also consider your writing style. Do you want whoever comes by this diary to be completely engrossed in reading it or do you want to make it so painfully insipid and dull they will toss it aside almost immediately and never look for another one of your diaries again?
The Dull and/or Frustrating Diary
Dull diaries are the easiest to write. All you have to do is take your every day activities and summarize them in the shortest, most boring sentences you can muster. Just imagine you're writing an instruction manual for your life. A dull diary should read something like this:
"Got up at 6:30 this morning. Went to the bathroom. Got dressed. Left for work. It was raining." (now add some personal details but make them really dreadfully painful to read and raise more questions than answers.) "Sat down at my cubicle. Fussed with some papers. Realized Melvin was staring at me. Again. What? He needed more paperclips. He must be eating those damn things. Every day its the same routine." (Or maybe you just want to write something that will captivate your reader's interest until the mystery is answered with a major let down.) "Realized Melvin was staring at me. What? Do I have something he wants? He's always staring at me, all day long. I don't know why Melinda keeps bringing him here. He sort of smells and makes weird snoring noises. I also don't think its very professional when he runs up to clients to sniff their crotch. Fucking bull dog. Drooling everywhere..."
Some people prefer to frustrate their would-be readers, maybe making them pull out some hair before getting to the end of the first paragraph. This is an easily accomplished goal, just conveniently forget how to spell, use grammar in inappropriate ways, and add numbers in the middle of words whenever you can. If you're not good at this then just work on your penmanship - make it nearly impossible to read, like a doctor's signature!
An example of a frustrating diary: "2dai eye went 2 thee sooper marcket. Eye H8 going on frydai's! 2 many peeple!" Personally I want to kill myself just trying to write this way but to each their own! If you are a little more intellectual then try writing a diary that's in script, in code, or written backwards with the aid of a mirror like DaVinci's infamous notes! Also add lots of scrolling doodles, strange indecipherable drawings, and occasionally cut out a random quote from a magazine and paste it in there. My favorite random quote was, "Everyone will be wanting a gold panda for Christmas."
The Decoy Diary
If your intention is just to have a decoy diary, something for someone to easily find and think it is your real diary, then start out simple. First make sure it is written in a proper journal, preferably with a broken lock and one of those crappy plastic keys dangling from a piece of scotch tape on the back. Remember, whoever is looking for this diary is going to be more attracted to an object created for this purpose than a composition notebook. Second make your entries believable. Don't go on with wild fanciful stories about how you happened to bump into a celebrity while walking down the street today. In fact stick to your own life. Make it factual. Just censor out the details you don't want your reader to know like your personal thoughts or something negative about them. Instead write only positive things or nothing at all about the person you are aiming this fake diary at, or if you want to be super careful censor it to the point you wouldn't care who picks it up and reads it. Fill the rest with your daily accounts of life devoid of anything you wouldn't just openly tell this person. Here's an example.
"This morning I swear I caught a fox loitering in front of the chicken coop just itching to get inside. I ponder if this is the same creature who has been dumping over the trash every Wednesday night. I am contemplating a live trap. Will have to talk it over with Bill later."
Some people like to add humor to their every day observations like, "I threw four socks into the washing machine today. One came out. I have no other explanation than a sock gremlin has taken residence in my machine and is currently living a life of thievery."
Another example for you city folk: "I had to ride a shuttle bus today. The subway was closed off for maintenance. Uck. If there's anything better than being crammed in a tiny subway car with a bunch of sweaty angry people it's being shoved into an even smaller shuttle bus with even sweatier, crankier people. I couldn't breathe and I had to stand and maintain my balance as it lurched forward and back! Fun!"
Confusing readers can be kind of funny too. "Today I realized there is nothing more pathetically sad than a vampire wearing dentures slurping up some blood pudding."
make sure to write in this diary as often as you do in your real diary. It's a lot more believable when there's three hundred pages than when there's three. Also make sure to buck your odds of someone finding it by putting it someplace obvious - under the mattress, on the nightstand next to your bed, in a drawer in your room, somewhere you know a snoop is going to look and leave it there like you just don't care.
Sometimes decoy diaries can have themes and as such they can be more manipulative than anything inspiring whatever emotion you want in your reader - be it jealousy over the imaginary secret admirer you've created or forgiveness for something you have done, or a strong belief in your likely false innocence. There's a lot of reasons some may be tempted to play with this but let it be known this is playing with fire and I don't honestly advise the use of fake diaries to manipulate curious onlookers. That just smacks of entrapment.
The Fictional Diary
Who says you have to write about your own life or your own actual experiences? I didn't say that. Maybe you want to write a diary about how you wish your daily life was like or you want to explore the possibilities of writing a very personal fictional novel. Whatever the reason make it an interesting read! I like writing fake gossip of people who don't exist. This strikes me as funny getting someone following these fanciful creations. I have a strong belief that a great many blogs are exactly this - total flimflammery, a show put on to see how many insane comments you can get back from complete strangers walking by. Others may want to make the show a bit more personal, instead of making it gossip about others they'll write of their imaginary sexual exploits or something similarly daring.
Then again maybe you want to write something that can be published in the literary world. I've been known to write a series of letters between mismatched pairings of mythical or historical characters as well as write diaries giving words to those that maybe never had the chance. The world is full of possibility!
What is a stealth diary? Oh.... stealth diaries are fun, that's what they are! Usually when I go to someone's home, someone with a sense of humor, I will come armed with some little thing I have written. Perhaps it'll be a letter to Santa from their dog, perhaps it'll be a humorous to-do list, or a sticky label reading "human heads" or some other trifling little thing that I can hide somewhere and wait for them to find. Sadly, most of these little excursions never find word back to me so I don't know if they're as funny as they seem to me... all I know is that since writing this article I now want to write a stealth diary, some bizarre diatribe, to leave behind in the sofa cushions. Imagine leaving a stealth diary to a Harry Potter fan - written in the voice of their own house elf! Or maybe you can make an aged diary, fill it with contestable "facts" and convince the reader it was composed by none other than the ghost currently haunting their house. Or maybe your best friend lives in a dive in NYC and you want to poke gentle fun by writing a short diary in the perspective of a cockroach. "Skitter, skitter, food, clean, skitter, skitter, breed. Oh my God foot!!! FWEW, that was close. Back to breeding I go." Be creative but only leave this in houses whose occupants will appreciate the humor. Some may find the idea of leaving a ghost diary a bit... creepy... and if you're a stalker please do not leave any diaries. They will only scar your prankee for life.
When Fake Diaries Backfire
I don't advise writing any fictional stories in diaries that are supposed to be penned by you. The reason is simple, if someone finds that diary and reads it you'll have to know your own lies! This is a complicated game, reserved for only the best master manipulators. Amateurs need not apply! After all lies about the gossip you've heard can quickly backfire into the world of rumors and hurt feelings. If you write, "Today I had a fight with Kate - she's such a bitch sometimes" realize that someday she might get that little bit of fake knowledge and may be hurt and confused about it.
Also if you are writing a purely fictional fake diary don't write it in the name of anyone who is alive and capable of suing you. Also don't write it in the voice of an unknown serial killer unless you want to have a seriously uncomfortable chat with your local law enforcement officers. Just some words of advice for the overly creative...