Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Writing Tip — Mind-mapping

Authors can purchase brainstorming programs. I purchased one and never could use it, but this site – provides information and how you can use mind-mapping, and in my opinion, you can use it without a program. Use a large piece of poster paper and in the middle put your conflict, situation, character, or anything that will help you with your plot. Then begin to brainstorm ideas– jot down possible ways to deepen conflict, add tension, broaden characterization, or confuse a situation.

You’ll find no right or wrong ideas to add to your list. You can use symbols, sketches, words or thoughts. If your idea is silly don’t worry about it. Silly ideas can sometime trigger another more practical thought that will add a new plot element to your story. Branch out with sub-topics. Use arrows to connect ideas. Show relations to idea by placing some in boxes, some in circles, some in other shapes – like hearts or stars. The mind-mapping program linked below is for corporate brainstorming, but think how this can work for you.

For example, Jim has been offered anew job. If he accepts it, how will it affect your story.

Jim will have to move – questions to ponder here: Would Jim like to move? Will he be in an area that adds new benefits? Will the job bring more money or prestige? Responsibility? Can Jim handle it.

Jim’s home life – how will the new job affects his family? He will be away more? His wife will be more stressed? Will his wife be willing to move? Will she fulfill the corporate expectations to be a party-giver? Will she be willing to lose the time she has with Jim because of his added responsibilities?

As you see an idea sprout up that will add to the tension or conflict in your story, put it in a star. If you see something that will show another side of your character, put it in a box. Use these symbols in anyway they will work to help you make the most out of brainstorming.

Here’s the link to this mind-mapping program:

Here's a site that offers a free program so you can give it a try. http://www.mindmeister.com/

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