Saturday, March 21, 2009


I stumbled across Mind Maps when I did a creative writing course years ago. It was at a time where the first stirrings of my itchy fingers started, when I wanted to pick up pen and paper and start writing.

I can't remember much of the course other than the teacher bringing in weird and wonderful objects each week and asking us to write a short story about them. Stories I recently re-read when I stumbled across the folder from the course, stories I'm sure won't ever see the light of day!

An interesting aside caught my attention as I flicked through this folder.

Mind maps.

I'd done one for each story, done one for my current release TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE'S BED (though I didn't know it at the time!)

Stupidly, I threw them all out, otherwise I could've scanned one for you to see here. And the mind map I created in Word last night especially for this blog won't upload (so if anyone wants a copy of it, you can email me at and I'll forward it to you.) I'll try and describe it for you now.

Mind mapping is basically concept planning.

You take a central theme and collect ideas in different categories around it.
I guess you can say it's a diagramatic form of brainstorming.

Possible elements of a story map include:

Central theme/title
Time period
Uses of theme
Useful catch phrases/symbology/etc...

To create your own mind map, go into Word, click on 'Insert', then 'Diagram', then choose 'Radial Diagram'.
You'll end up with a central circle and loads of circles branching off from this like tentacles.

Then you can start having fun!

With the book I'm currently plotting, I had the heroine's job as the central theme because it's highly unusual. From there, my branches included: brief emotional descriptions of hero and heroine, secondary characters, setting, time period. Basically, you can include anything!
I used colourful crayons too, just for something different and it was strangely liberating.

So get those minds mapping.
You never know what gem of an idea may pop up.


Lacey Devlin said...

Ah ha! I'll definitely be emailing you Nic! I've never gotten my head around mind mapping. I think it's because I've never seen one and what I'm doing probably has a very special name under procrastination ;)

Monique Wood said...

Prepare to be inundated with emails! Lol. I'm about to send you one now...

Thanks for the info share :-)

Nicola Marsh said...

Hope it helps, Lacey and Mon.

And to the others who've emailed :)