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.