Mindmap Outline Method

Mindmap Outline Method

Use this method if:

  • You’re starting the story with a theme or concept, rather than a character or plot.
  • You want to organize based on how themes, concepts, characters, and events connect.
  • You’re more of a visual thinker, nebulous thinker, rather than someone who likes things to flow in a linear way.

Start with a main idea at the center of the mindmap. Fill in Characters, Events, Themes, Symbols, and Locations as they come to you. Draw lines to show how these points connect (or disconnect!), relationships between two points, how those relationships might affect another point, etc. Don’t forget to note cause-effect relationships.

 photo Mind Map Soda Flies_zpsptjwcty5.jpg
This is the mindmap for the short story I wrote, “Soda Flies“. Available in Fresh Cuts 2 on Amazon.

This method is not so good if:

  • You like to see/be reminded of a lot of details. (Try the Formal Outline method)
  • You need to keep track of where characters are at specific times. (Try the Timeline method)
  • You need something quick, which can also quickly show you the main things you need for your story. (Try the Query-Start method)

Writing tools I highly recommend if you want to do it by hand.

Erasable Ink Colored Pens. These are more advanced than the gritty-eraser type from the 80s and 90s. Use the different colors to color-code categories like Characters, Themes, etc.