#WriteTip Mind Maple

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If you are anything like me, you like to organize your thoughts prior to writing. Maybe you like to create character maps, or jot down scenes which pop into your head at all hours. Perhaps-also like me-you have discovered most of your notes are missing when you need them most!

Since college and university, I have used charts to organize my thoughts and stories. I invariably end up with screeds of paper full of bubble flow charts and scribbled notes. These are eventually thrown in the recycle bin when I am finished with them, which is such a waste.

I recently searched for a way to create these charts on the computer, hoping to find a program which would allow me to have everything in one place, and perhaps be something a little easier on the environment. That’s when I discovered Mind Maple; a delightful idea-mapping tool which allows you to chart all your ideas in one file.

I was certain there would be a steep learning curve in order to create such colourful and interesting charts as the site displays. But what I found after downloading, was a program as easy to use as drawing on a piece of paper.

Have a look at the simple chart I created as an example schedule for this site;

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As you can see, I made our names different colours with matching linking arrows so we know exactly what to do each day. In this chart, my arrows are larger than Sam’s as this is my personal schedule. This took me less than ten minutes to create. You can change the colour of headers, topics, arrows, the boxes, the box lines, add gradients and much more. You can add more than one map per file by clicking at the bottom left of the screen. This means that you can have other charts which are perhaps branches of your primary one:

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With the second map, we can go into more detail of our planning, allowing us to schedule exactly what we wish to write about in the coming weeks and months.

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By adding a hyperlink  to the primary map, you can link it to another document, map, or internet site, thus allowing easy access to your other files.

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This one file, can contain our schedule, topics, links and documents for the Kalopsiad site in one location. There is also a tool currently in Beta mode where you can upload your map to Google Drive and share it. At present this is unavailable due to an API change at Google, but once enabled, it will make Mind Maple better still, as it means you can access your maps wherever you are.

Above, I have given you one simple example of how Mind Maple can be used. In their How To blog, the creators of Mind Maple illustrate various way to use their program. They also share handy tips for creating stunning maps. Some maps they have detailed include teacher’s lesson plan and even one in which a man with a brain injury illustrated how his brain works!

Mind Maple is a very powerful tool, packed full of features which can be used in a variety of different ways. I can now organize my thoughts and ideas while enjoying easy access to everything I need. No more searching around the room for that character sheet. No more raking through drawers looking for my chart book. And no more wasting time searching for lost links! This is quite honestly one of my favourite programs. 

Whether you use Mind Maple to plan out your next few weeks YouTube updates, organize a menu for the coming month with links to custom shopping lists, or even plan and organize your next holiday or novel, Mind Maple is a perfect and easy way to get your ideas down quickly and efficiently with very little learning before hand. It is available for Windows, MAC and IOS, and you can Download it here.

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

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About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on May 27, 2016, in #WriteTip, Frankeh Updates, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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