Quote Collections

January 18, 2010 at 5:44 am (Planning, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , )

I was recently wondering about why I had so many notebooks filled with quotes and so many second hand books of quotes lying around.  It seemed an odd thing to collect really given I don’t use quotes in my fiction writing because as a general rule my fiction is not set on Earth so having a Mark Twain quote stuck in the middle of the story would probably be a very silly thing to do.

It actually occurred to me while trying to track down one particular quote book.  A book full of humorous quotes and one that I thought might help me inspire an idea for a character who wasn’t serious, boring or flat.  I finally found the quote book and flipped through it at random finally resting on a Benjamin Franklin quote: “It is ill-mannered to silence a fool, and cruelty to let him go on.”  Not particularly inspiring me in the way I had hoped but it did give me a different character I had been planning and from there I got stuck into some more outlining.

So I guess the reason I have all these quotes lying around is that they do get me thinking.  They get me thinking about people – both the people who are described by the quotes and the person who said it.  They get me thinking about different situations and issues.  Sometimes they just give me a break when I really need one.

Do you collect quotes and do they help you with your writing?

Just leaving you with my favourite quote (at the moment at least).  “The world of reality has limits; the world of imagination has none” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau.



  1. Kirby-Jane said,

    People change,
    things go wrong,
    but just remember,
    life goes on

    Shoot for the miin even if you miss you’ll land among the stars

    Just A few of my faves

  2. Elizabeth Spann Craig said,

    I do like quotes and get a lot of inspiration from them. I’ll even go the long version sometimes and read the bio of a writer that I really respect.

    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

  3. oceanblue1 said,

    I have notebooks of quotes as well. What I often did was write down as many as I could on the card board backing of the notebook I wrote in. Then I tried to separate them out into notebooks of writing and quotes but soon gave that up when I realized that it was often fun just to go searching through one of my notebooks not knowing what I was looking for and just reading all the random stuff I jotted down.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I always enjoy finding forgotten scribblings though sometimes I wish I would write a heading so I knew what was going on in my head at the time I wrote it.

  4. K.M. Weiland said,

    I keep a file of quotes (mostly on writing) as well – and I’ve wondered the same thing: Why do I bother, when I hardly ever go back and read the quotes I’ve saved? I guess something about copying/pasting a good quote into my file makes it “belong” to me more. And I will use them in blog posts sometimes.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I guess part of it is I remember things easier if I’ve written them down.

  5. Kit said,

    I have two or three small journals filled with quotes I’ve collected over the years. I love a pithy quote – probably just because I love good writing! I do have a penchant for books that start each chapter with a quote. And you can use quotes for fantasy – I wrote a draft where the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were from the MC’s ancestors. It means making up your own quotes instead of using the collected ones, but that can be just as fun. I liked this method for including background info so much, that I’ve expanded them from quotes to full documents, alternating with my chapters…

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I tend to avoid the making up quotes thing because a quote is usually good because people know the person who said it or can think about the time when it was said. A made up quote loses a lot of that context. That said, the television series Andromeda started each episode with a made up quote and most of those were quite entertaining.

  6. Paul Greci said,

    I have quotes from Authors who I’ve heard speak at conferences. I love them because they aren’t scripted in any way. One that comes to mind right now is this:

    A story is not what happened but what might have happened.
    Richard Peck

  7. Carol J. Garvin said,

    The quotations that are the most meaningful are the ones that I would have said myself if I could only have found the right words! I don’t have notebooks filled but have printed out several particularly pertinent quotations, one to a page, and have them in a section of one of my writing binders. I flip through the pages periodically when I need encouragement. I also have a writing buddy that I try to mentor, so I share them with her in e-mails.

  8. Carol Kilgore said,

    I don’t collect quotes, but when one resonates with me, it always inspires my imagination. I always wish I could phrase things as well as the writers who produce quotable material.

  9. Jemi Fraser said,

    I love quotes – I use them at school ALL the time. I’ve kept a hand written list of my faves since high school.

    My all time fave: Be the change you want to see in the world — Gandhi

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: