Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Commonplace Book; A Miscellany of New Ideas…Writing advice from OCA tutor and novelist Nina Milton

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can get information upon it...Samuel Johnson

Nina Milton writes regularly for the Open College of the Arts Blog; weareoca.com. 
This month, she's talking about that a very ancient form of collating information that is still used by writers until this day; the Commonplace Book…


Johnson was quite right (which is just as well, because he generally did think he was right!); if you know where to get the information you need, your research is halfway done. Which is where a Commonplace Book comes in, because sometimes (quite often, really), writers don’t know what they’ll need to know or even what they’ll want to write about until it jumps out at them.

Think about this. I was skimming through the Sunday supplements one afternoon (not necessarily on Sunday of course...) and was absorbed by an article on genetic history....the story of people who’d discovered that they have ancestors that don’t belong to the cultural, social, national or even racial group they always imagined they were part of. I cut it out, for no better reason than it was interesting, and as a writer, I keep things that are interesting. I put it into my Commonplace Book.

Go to. http://weareoca.com to read the complete blog post.



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