Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mind Mapping and Fiction

For years I've used mind mapping to help me in my writing. Primarily I've used it for organizing plots: lining up the flow of events. But lately I've been thinking a lot about how I can use mind mapping for all phases of writing--developing characters, developing scenes, exploring possible options to plot.

Mind mapping is a technique for organizing information that was developed by Tony Buzan. You can show huge amounts of information on one sheet of paper. It uses drawings and words connected by curving lines. It represents the way our mind connects information. I've used mind mapping to organize presentations, placing an entire presentation on one sheet of paper.

The best way to understand how mind mapping works is to see it for yourself. There are various mind mapping websites that contain dazzling mind maps. One site is One book is Use Both Sides of Your Brain by Tony Buzan.

My Day
I'm not an artist, so the illustrations of mind mapping that I've done are pretty poor, but they give you the idea.

Detail of "My Day" mind map

Greater detail of "My Day" mind map.

I plan on posting from time to time what new techniques I'm learning about mind mapping for fiction. If anyone of you already use mind mapping for fiction, please let me know. If any of you try using it, please let me know the results.


Tanya Reimer said...

Your post jumped out at me from the list. Mind mapping, eh? I was intrigued. Like usual, I had to stop by to see what you were up to over here. It sounded pretty sci-fi.

I guess I do something similar when I plot. At first, I did it with cue cards. Then sticky notes all over the wall. (My St Bernard kept knocking them off with her tail.) Now I use the notebook I refer to in my research post. Same effect (no yelling after the helpful dog).

It works wonderfully to identify which conflict relates to who and affects who and how it was resolved. The notebook is by far the best option because I can make those arrows and circles digitally. My drawings suck, plus the dog doesn't get involved.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!

Tanya Reimer said...

Checked out that link, and it hit me; what a fantastic way to brainstorm for ideas or plot answers!!!! I AM SO USING THAT. (Mine won't look that pretty though.)
Thanks Richard.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I usually mind map for poems, but I've never tried it with fiction. Thanks for a new slant, Richard.