Writing Tools: Mind Mapping

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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. IMG_0426

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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