12 Jul

The wonderful world of mind-mapping is a fun one to enter. Mind-mapping is a handy aid when you’re a visual person. Like you already probably know, my Writing Spirit is allergic to plotting. Well, most of the time She objects. Objection sustained. But there is something that can help you brainstorm and get the creative juices flowing.


It’s fun to do and I used to do it on paper, use markers to mark the major plot points and to see what I need to fill in between. Plus, with markers it looks more cheerful. The Writing Spirit likes bright colours.
But then a good tip was flung into my brain and I downloaded XMind which is free (yay!) and awesome (yay!). It’s a mind-mapping programme, but you can add notes or other scribbles, use highlights, choose themes so you can switch up the look and you have different lay-outs. You have a cause-and-effect chart (or template as the fancy word is), a time line template, projects dashboard so you can make a chart for your writing projects and for instance plan its progress. And that’s just to name a few things. I can’t tell you how happy I am with this programme, it may have been invented by Skittle-eating Angels.

Here are some examples:

xmind 1 xmind 2 xmind 3


Mind-mapping works well before writing officially commences, but it can also be used when revising, to put things in order and see if it works in terms of cause-and-effect. A tip: You can start with the inciting incident and then at the end write what will happen, so for instance in the pic above: start with murder one, then write the Sets up killer part and find out what needs to happen in between. Think of an event that comes after the first murder, then an event that has to come before the set up of the killer and work towards the middle. That helped me the one time that I plotted…but feel free to find out what works for you and play around.

So here, my pet dragons found the link for you: http://www.xmind.net/





3 Responses to “Mind-Mapping”

  1. munchkinwrites July 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    I’ve been looking for a software like this for ages! This fits the bill perfectly. Thanks for the link!

    • pfeatherstonehaugh July 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      You’re welcome. That’s why I did this post. EVERY writer needs this!

  2. stevepoling (@stevepoling) July 21, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    When I encounter someone who confesses an allergy to plotting, I think of General Dwight D Eisenhower’s statement that “the plan is worthless, but planning is critical.”

    I’ve elaborated upon this in my own blog, but I’ll summarize here by saying you’re doing the right thing: You’re thinking about your project at a strategic, 10,000 foot level, and taking notes to consult when you lose your sense of direction. I call myself a plotter and that just means I write an outline that i ignore until I get blocked whereupon I update it to reflect what’s written, then devise a way to get from there to where I need to get.

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