View Full Version : Does anyone do Mind Mapping?

09-27-2008, 01:56 AM
I plan on experimenting with this in the coming weeks, to assist in brainstorming a few new projects.

If anyone has any tips to share, please post here.


09-27-2008, 02:27 AM
What's your current project, laidback?

Ruv Draba
09-27-2008, 06:57 AM
I do mind-mapping for complex things, Laidback. E.g. when it's a large cast of characters and I'm trying to sort out relationships, or I have more ideas than I know what to do with. I see it as an early stage design activity.

I reckon that the main trick is to write down everything you can think of on the topic, then order it afterward. I find that typing with my eyes closed sometimes helps, because then I'm thinking, and not criticising what I write.

Once it's ordered, I look for gaps, redundancies, synergies and deal with those. Then eventually I convert it into something linear - like character biographies, setting ideas, themes, possible character arcs, plot or scene ideas. Once I've done that, I never really return to the mind-map while I'm writing -- and for simple stuff, I just do linear design methods anyway and skip the mind-map.

I must say that it's quite odd and a bit interesting to go back to a mind-map long after you've finished the story, to see what you were thinking before the story was conceived. Your perspective on the process can change as the product gets more mature. Sometimes it gives you ideas for stuff that you didn't develop, but which may be viable somewhere else. Sometimes it gives you ideas for how to improve your process.

09-27-2008, 07:22 AM
Thanks guys!

Bufty, I just finished a first draft of a YA novel. While I'm editing, I want to lay the groundwork for the next one. I have two main story ideas at the moment that I could tackle next (more YA) and I plan to explore them both. When I'm done editing story 1, I'll write whichever one seems the most promising.

Dale Emery
09-27-2008, 08:00 AM
I do mind mapping (aka clustering) all the time, either on paper or with software: http://dalewriting.dhemery.com/2008/05/clustering/


09-27-2008, 12:29 PM
I do mind mapping all the time for all sorts of things. Especially trip-planning. =)

09-27-2008, 02:00 PM
If you mean planning the story, then yes. I have around 30 A4 sheets of info. I need a lot of planning because I write fantasy. Some other genres may require less.

It's hard playing God, ya know. I have to make sure I don't break my own rules.

09-27-2008, 08:42 PM
Free Mind is my friend :)


09-27-2008, 10:04 PM
I always hated doing mind mapping, our teachers would force us to do it for the stupidest projects so I grew to resent it. It seemed more chaotic than anything else.

Now I just do it my own way. I write in paragraph form, a summary of everything I know, including character names and relationships and keep it at the bottom of my document, that way I can just scroll down, if I add any new names, I put it there. It beats going back through the manuscript and trying to find it again.

Ali B
09-28-2008, 12:48 AM
I do mind mapping to plan article series and such. It helps me focus my thoughts and come up with new ones.

09-28-2008, 01:01 AM
I've tried it and I just don't think my mind works that way. When I want to be creative, I just go for a walk or putter to get some ideas. It works for me.

09-28-2008, 01:31 AM
Wow. Never heard of mind mapping before. I do bios on my players. Is that the same thing?

C A Winters
09-28-2008, 03:33 AM
Here you go, Wendy. http://www.inkygirl.com/using-mind-mapping-as-a-tool-for-writing-inspiration/ :) I had to google. Still trying to find a definitive link.

09-28-2008, 03:43 AM
Well, thanks for the link. Not sure I would do well with this as before I write I have my whole story set in my head.

<<<<<wonders off........

C A Winters
09-28-2008, 03:46 AM
Yep, me too. Mind-mapping is news to me, I had to google to find out what the heck it was.

Alpha Echo
09-28-2008, 03:49 AM
Wow. I never heard of mind mapping either. I do character interviewing to get to know them, and I have my own little way of organizing my thoughts and ideas and characters and everything about them...but...wow...I think some of you guys are over my head! haha.

C A Winters
09-28-2008, 04:38 AM
Alpha, you are in good company. :) And of course, I appreciate the OP for alerting us to this new fangled thingy. :D

09-28-2008, 06:38 AM
Oh, so mind mapping is drawing spider diagrams, linking stuff that ought to be linked?

I've done this a few times- mainly when I need to get my events in order- but otherwise I prefer paragraph and bullet point wise plotting.

Dale Emery
09-28-2008, 06:42 AM
Oh, so mind mapping is drawing spider diagrams, linking stuff that ought to be linked?

Yeah, though I use it almost exclusively for brainstorming, so instead of "ought to be linked" I just link stuff by intuition, then figure out later whether the links mean anything.


09-28-2008, 07:18 AM
They taught us how to use mind-mapping to brainstorm in elementary school, and I've done it since. :) Usually I do it when I'm stuck, or when I need to go deeper into the story or character (if that makes sense).

I LOVE Freemind. Highly recommended! In fact, I have it open right now. I've been brainstorming ideas for a new character.

09-28-2008, 06:44 PM
It looks interesting but so chaotic to me. I think I'd go nuts trying to plan a story this way. It makes me think of the difference between free association and more focused ways of relating things...free association might come up with a lot more ideas but they might not have anything to do with the story itself, and I'd get so confused trying to sort it all out.

I like the visual presentation of it all but wish there was a more focused way of doing it. :/ Ah well, my brain doesn't seem to work this way!