Writing Tools: Mind Mapping

It’s been a wee bit of a while since I posted about a new tool I’m using for writing. But, thanks to Mini Me, I’ve discovered the ease and brilliance of mind mapping for creating a plot.

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Exhibit A: My Mind on Paper (Yes, it really is that chaotic in there.) — SPOILER ALERT! Don’t look too closely.

The gray print is Mini Me’s guidance, the pink is my insane membrane dumpage and very messy scrawl. The other side of the page looks just as crazy. Why am I so excited? These are all the major plot points for Book Three. I’ve never been able to plot beginning to end so quickly. I’d heard of mind mapping but never tried it. Why did I wait so long? It’s like it was meant to tame the wild beast that is my brain.

How’s it done? Simple. Ask a question, draw a line, and propose an answer (or two or three). This allowed me to quickly consider, accept and/or discard plot twists, connect disparate events to create a full circle plot, revealed the beginning events that would feed into the end (always tricky for me), and showed me where the character relationships hooked into and pivoted around each other. And, because I’ll be writing the second and third books back-to-back, it revealed plot devices that I need to set up in A Castle to Keep (aka Book Two) that will carry through to this novel.

Mind mapping, I think I love you.

Oh, and you remember that other tool I advocate, the tension edit? Here it is in play for The Shadow & The Sun:

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By Monica Enderle Pierce

I'm a Seattle author of fantasy and science fiction books that have been called lyrical, powerful, and sensual. I trust readers to fill the gaps with their own imaginations.

  • Ed Hoornaert

    I used to used to use mind mapping a long time ago, but haven’t thought about it in ages. I’ll have to try it again some time.

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Do give it a go, again, Ed, and let me know if it works as well for you. I’m going to try it next for plotting chapter-by-chapter. So far it’s been amazing!

  • Alright, if you swear by it, I’ll give it a try. 🙂

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      I really do! I hadn’t expected it to be so useful, but once I got going, I had the broad plot complete in twenty minutes. That usually takes me a day or two!

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