If you are not sure what mind mapping is, think of it like a doodle pad where you jot down ideas, beginning with a central concept, (your novel), and then write down other ideas as and when they occur. |
These ideas are usually written in circles or balloons and linked with lines and arrows to other ideas. The whole process is usually done extremely fast as the idea is to force your subconscious to come up with ideas which you wouldn't normally have access to in less frenetic moments!
Some people like to include pictures and colour to further define relationships between items and events.
Mind maps are used by all kinds of people for a range of functions, but for novelists struggling with writing a book they are particularly useful as you can quickly amass a large amount of information about your new book within a very short space of time.
Once you have this down, you can adapt the technique to organise your ideas into a logical order right down to mapping out individual characters and chapters.
Here are a few tips to help get you started:
1. Start by writing MY NOVEL (or article if you like as this method is great for planning articles out as well.).
2. Hit the page with every idea you can think of which you think your novel should be about, e.g. historical, sci-fi, thriller, murder, abduction, personal discovery, etc, etc, etc.
3. From these ideas, brain storm more ideas. These should branch off from these top level ideas. Don't worry if some of your efforts don't tie in with your preconceived thoughts. You're trying to release your creativity here! Accept that your subconscious may be offering you better options!
4. If you like to use pictures, colours or graphics, go ahead, these are particularly good for characters. You can draw them yourself or find them in magazines. Stick them on your map and let them suggest more ideas for your novel. E.g. names, character traits, ethnicity, occupation etc.
5. Don't try to edit or discard any thought! You will amass a lot of data you won't use initially, but there is a good chance you may want to include it later.
6. Don't take too long over the process. The subconscious works best when under pressure. Set a deadline and stick to it. Short bursts are definitely best. 10 - 15 minutes will certainly pile on the pressure! Less for an article.
7. Once you have finished your mind map you can then take the information you want to use and organise it into a map of your entire novel. This will include a short synopsis, character portraits and chapter breakdowns.
If you work better graphically, this short video explains everything in a few easy steps.
If you would like to know more about using mind mapping as a novel writing technique you can go to the Writelink online creative writing community and sign up to HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL AND FINISH IT a free email course which covers this and many other techniques to ensure you not only write your novel, but finish it! You might also find this video helpful: Video: Mindmapping Your Novel
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