Create Your Own Word Notebook – Day Two

29 Nov

There are a ton of tools out there that will get you started on your Word Notebook, so let’s not recreate the wheel.


The first one I want to point to is Deanna Carlyle’s site. She has a great page with 1001 Verbs already split out for you by group HERE. This will give you a good start of finding words to add to your Word Notebook later.


Next I’m going to ask the hard question: Do you have a thesaurus. I’m not talking the free online. I mean a really good thesaurus.  If you’ve been playing along at home, you know I strongly recommend (and so does the lovely Word Strumpet) Roget’s Thesaurus. What makes Roget’s so great? It isn’t the thesaurus you had in jr. high where you look up the word alphabetically and there’s a short list of words that mean roughly the same thing.

Instead, you look up the word in the index. It gives the word and all it’s possible connotations. You choose the connotation you want. When you turn to that page, it has the list of words by parts of speech. The best part is, if that wasn’t exactly what you were looking for, it’s surrounded by similar words instead of whatever word would come next alphabetically. Most times, just toying with a couple of pages finds you the best word.


Your next assignment is to sit down and make a list of your favorite authors or favorite books. Check out your shelves, if they aren’t there, get to the library and grab them. I’d suggest at least 5 different authors and/or genres.


Yup, your homework is reading books you love. Make sure you stop at the local office supply story and pick up little page flags like this:

You’re going to need those to mark pages not only later in your Word Notebook, but in the Fav Five you’re reading.


I’m not telling you not to enjoy the book, but this is work – so enjoy the work. Flag pages with words, phrases, unique turns of phrases, twists in cliches/words/phrases, movements you’ve not used, expressions (facial and verbal), interesting ways of looking at things, small one-liners that show you more than a page ever could. If you can bring yourself to do it (and it isn’t a library book) highlight the thing that grabbed your attention and write in the margins why you found it so brilliant. If you can’t, then put a post-it in there with the explanation.


Next, rent one of your favorite movies on DVD – BUT, make sure it has a director’s commentary on it. I’ve learned more about how my characters move listening to the director’s commentary on films and how they shot things or moved their actors than I have from any craft book. It will be the best 90 mins of non-writing/non-craft book activity I can offer you. Take notes as you listen.


We’re going to use all these in the next section. Enjoy your homework!

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