Not Your Nano Day 4 – Mind maps!



Words. Did you make them? 100 words is a nice easy goal. (I set the bar low because failure makes me hate on myself too much 😉 How many of you find that by setting a goal of 100 words, you easily surpass it? There’s something very undaunting about 100 words. Like taking a horse over a pole when you’re training it to jump. Sure, one day that horse will be launching over gates, but we start them off stepping over a jump pole on the ground. This 100 words is your jump pole. Later, if you’re feeling more confident, you can raise the pole a little, but don’t be scared of putting your pole back to the ground. This is about consistency of writing every day, rather than trying to smash records.

So today I’m going to chat a little about my own process of outlining. It tends to move around a bit, depending on what I’m working on, but here are the basics:

  1. I get an image of a character in a particular situation/world, and I write about them for a bit. This tends to give me a feel for the narrative voice of the story
  2. I jot down some notes and very basic research notes – though it’s unlikely that these notes will even make it all the way to the end of the story, they do usually give me the first act at least, sometimes the second. My notes doc for the current project is about 2000 words, some of that copy-pasted research. None of it is pretty or spelled correctly hahaha.
  3. I write as much as I can, occasionally checking my notes for guidance
  4. I get horribly stuck and brain-dead
  5. I mind map.


Okay so here’s the fun bit. Mind mapping is me playing around with, firstly, organising my thoughts on what I have already, and secondly, seeing what connects, and what could lead where. Also: COLOUR PENS YASSSSS.

I work on my cupboard doors with whiteboard markers, (like so; though this is an old project from before I bought my set of coloured markers *sadface*)

2014-02-12 10.12.21

Now, I realise not everyone has convenient cupboard doors to draw on, or space to lay out huge sheets of paper, so for those of you who like the mind-mapping idea but want to keep it manageable, there’s a program I sometimes use called Freemind.

It’s free, and I’ve found it easy to use.

Okay, so, go write your 100 words, or if you’re stuck, go dreamstorm or mindmap or whatever it is you do to spark the creative output.

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