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How to write a fiction book? (Part One: Mind Mapping)

How to write a fiction book? (Part One: Mind Mapping)
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Last updated on July 14th, 2017

“I don’t have time” is one of my least favorite excuses.

If you really want something, you make time for it.

-Pierce Brown (OkDork)

Time is a common reason for a writer, or any person for that matter, to not start something they are dreaming of. This could range anywhere from starting a gym membership to having more time with the kids.

We make time for things we find important. When I recently decided to finish the book I started in high school, I had to make choices towards that direction, including small sacrifices. It wasn’t always easy, especially the editing and formatting process, but if I look back at 2-3 months ago, I would make the same choice again.

Creating a mind-map can help start the creative juices and organize the thoughts.

-Paul S Brandt

Wait what? You can’t quote yourself. It doesn’t work like that! Thankfully, I do not follow common rules.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is the process of taking an idea and branching out to create multiple thoughts on that central idea. Here’s an example of my mind map.

mind mapping

I would suggest you first create a mind map where you filter none of the ideas that come to you (Note: this is not the mind map displayed above.)

Creating an initial mind map:

1. Create a central idea, (i.e. the title of the story or title of a chapter) and put that in the center of the page.
2. Branch out from the central idea, (I would suggest using different colors to help organize the thoughts.)
3. Each branch should pertain to the central idea, in some fashion.
4. As shown in my example above, I would suggest using only one word or short phrases.
5. As I stated earlier, do not filter your thoughts on this initial mind map. Even if you do not end up using all the ideas you came up with through the process of mind mapping, you can expand the mind to different areas of creatively by letting the mind wander to random ideas. No matter how strange, keep all the ideas that come to your mind and write them down.

Simple example:

simple mind map

As you can see, my mind map goes from a story about a girl to batman. How was I picturing the story in my mind? A girl owns a shop that sell cookies. Late at night, after work, she heads to the alley out back to throw away the garbage. In the alley she meets a robber. The robber has a baseball bat.

At this point, to create the situation I was thinking, I connect baseball bat to batman. In my story, Batman seems to have little bearing on the plot, (In fact, he comes out of no where) but it is what came to mind after writing down the word bat.

What about after the initial mind mind?

6. After doing this, and until you are satisfied with the imagination/creativity of your mind map(s), you may want to create a mind map for each subsections (like the batman story I created above.) This is a good idea if you want to hash out more details on the plot.
7. If you choose, although I prefer to write directly from my initial non filtered mind map, you can create an outline as well. Doing so can help solidify the plot in your mind and organize the chapters.
*Note: Do not create chapters while creating your initial mind map. Doing this will only hamper your creative thought process, and force you to create a story that is hampered by chapter progressions. Instead, the initial mind map should be to spill all the information out of your head. Therefore, go into this process with an open mind.

8. If you are struggling with how to connect chapters, or if you are not sure how to begin or end your story, mind maps are a great way to move forward.

Here’s an example from my own story, “Encountering Darkness: The Great Pursuit.” You can see that I didn’t have the title at this point. I wasn’t entirely sure how to end my story, but I decided to think over some ideas for this specific part of the story. And yes, I understand I didn’t follow my rules with this mind map!

Encountering Darkness, How should I finish the last chapter?

*If you are interested in looking into an app for mind mapping, I use SimpleMind. A couple other options:
1. Draw.io (free)
2. MindNode (For iPhone and iPad)

Let me know if you have any questions because mind mapping, while a simple idea, can be difficult to initiate.


**If you are interested to learn more, go on to the second or third post in this series.

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