Word Notebook

14 Oct

For those of you playing along at home, you’ll remember my undying love went out to Charlotte at Word Strumpet for her series on VERBS!


Just to double say somethings she said *grin* I also have the Roget’s Thesaurus (1977 AND 2006 versions – don’t ask, i can’t explain it and you can’t have one). If you don’t already have a theme thesaurus, run to the car, speed to the nearest bookstore and push that old lady out of line in front of you to get it. Why it’s better than just a regular thesaurus: Have you ever had that feeling that the thesaurus got you closer, but you just can’t figure out the word you want to use. The one you’re using now is fine, it works, but there’s a connotation or just a little glide to the right or left that’s missing?

The theme thesaurus lets you see other “ideas” for a lack of better word around the idea you’re working with. Sometimes it gets you into a reference word you wouldn’t have thought of and brings you exactly where you want to be.  AND as a bonus, writers can kill hours playing with it.

My one thesaurus word of warning: Sometimes the obvious word is the best choice. Sometimes going further and further afield stops the reader, even if it’s in the “HEY! That’s a great word” way, it still stopped the reader.


OK, now own to our regularly scheduled program.


Ms. Strumpet (I can’t call her Word, we aren’t on a first name basis yet) blogged during her VERB series about her Word Book — I too had a word book and couldn’t help myself from chiming in. If you write and you don’t have one – go get one.


The lovely picture above is my Word Book. If you look closely, you’ll see that the edges are sectioned in different colors. Whoever thought of that at the pocket-size notebook company is a genius. So, lets talk sections!


Section One: BLUE

This section has my verbs. If you were smart enough (and I know you were) to check out the verb series I referenced above, you’ll know (or maybe, since you’re so smart, you already knew) weak verbs are not your friend. So, I have a list of verbs I just love. Strong, beautiful words that struck me and I wanted to keep. Sometimes, if I saw them used particularly well, I’d write out the sentence and note the book and page i saw it in. 


Section Two: RED

The next part is my Over Used Verbs pages. At the top of the page is the Overused Word and then a list of words I’m collecting to replace them.


Section Three: GREEN

Lights. Camera. ACTION!!! To stop everyone from shrugging/sighing/smiling/laughing, I have a section where I collect more unique actions.  The little flags on these pages sorts things by emotion and there’s also a section just for “something different” — Not only do I grab great things I’ve seen written or heard in movies, but I grab them from people on the street. Want to know the MOST fun way to do this?

Grab a buddy — no, not that buddy. she’s a  writer too. Go find a buddy who ISN’T a writer. Yeah, her. She’ll do. Now, tell her you’re going to play a game and you’ll pay for the coffee and cookies. Find a great people watching spot and hand her a note book (you need one too) and tell her to write down all the actions she sees and what (if anything) she interprets them as meaning. Trust me, bring the non-writer! I found my writer friends are all trying to figure out how to say it best instead of quickly and moving on. I played this game once with someone who sketched me quick pictures and emotional responses!


Section Four:  PURPLE

Words! Words! Words! No idea what to do with them, but words I loved either because of their sound, they way the looked, a unique or surprising meaning or an etymology that was really fun to play with. This is where things get a little lost, but sometimes paging through here and just reading stuff gets my brain reving again.


So, if you have a Word Book, how do you set it up? What’s in it? Is it useful? AND, most important (because, really, it’s all about me) what should I be doing that I’m not.

5 Responses to “Word Notebook”

  1. Charlotte October 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    You can call me by my first name any time you want, you rock! The really great thing is that I have this same exact gorgeous pink striped notebook–not for my Word Book but for notes on my novel. Love the way you have your Word Book organized!

  2. briaq October 16, 2008 at 7:03 am #

    Woo Hoo! First name basis with Strumpet…I mean Charlotte.

    Well, I have to admit, my Word Book didn’t always look like that, but the one I started in college was lost in a fire so I had an excuse to restart after seeing what would work and what didn’t for me 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!


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