My Commonplace Book – Words and Phrases

When I come across a new word in a print book I'm reading, and I want to remember it, I write it down in my commonplace book. (Here's the history of commonplace books.) I do the same with cool phrases or sentence constructions.

Here's the link to my commonplace wiki. You can't edit it, but you can view recent words and phrases. In the phrases section, I will sometimes note how it can be used in writing. E.g.:

"fashion a narrative" (fashion = to create)

Splendid, but I part company at the last sentence. (to set up disagreement)

My challenge is I have bits and pieces in various places. For example, my favorite Updike or Wallace lines are not on this wiki.


Colin Marshall: "I've come to find myself asking only two qualities of a writer: honesty and clarity. The rest is window dressing."


Justine Musk's latest gem on writing. She echoes other advice I've heard: go out and experience the world, then write about it. Or as Thoreau put it: one ought to "stand up and live before you sit down and write." She hits on other themes and arrives here:

Writing fiction is serious business. It demands nothing less than everything you’ve got to give: your blood, sweat, heart and soul; your time; your ego. You expose yourself in your work and again when you show your work. It deserves to be taken seriously, and yet somehow we have to find a way to treat it lightly, hold it lightly, so it doesn’t slip away from us.

6 Responses to My Commonplace Book – Words and Phrases

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *