I’ve used many different mind-mapping tools in the past. I’d try to list them, but you’d get bored after the fifteenth entry, and I’d probably miss a few of them.
The problem with all of the mind-mapping tools I’ve used in the past is that they don’t work with my mind. I have to remap my mind to fit into the constraints set by the software. Basically, the software gets in the way of me trying to map my thoughts and ideas. That gets in the way of my creative flow, and I just walk away.
Well, my novel idea for Egan & Stiles is more complex than my past efforts. Warmaiden/Warmistress/Warmother all had fairly linear plot threads. I tried to keep them simple in concept, so I could focus on improving my execution of the prose. I think I’m past that now, so I’m getting all wild and crazy with plot ideas for the current project.
Of course, to keep track of that, I needed to map out some ideas. I initially thought about scribbling on one of the whiteboards in my office since that really gets my creative juices flowing. Then I realized I probably can’t take the whiteboard with me to Village Inn to write. That would just be awkward.
I sighed and realized it was time to create a mind map using software. I looked at the icons for the five mind-mapping programs I currently have installed and sighed more. I didn’t want to use any of them. They just get in my way.
Then I remembered that Literature and Latte released a mind mapper not too long ago. I’ve been using their Scrivener software for almost two years now. It’s amazing how Scrivener can just get out of the way of the process and allow you to write, organize thoughts, collect notes, and capture ideas. I figured their mind-mapper, known as Scapple, would be on par with Scrivener.
I was right. I downloaded the 30 day trial last night. (Did you see that? A 30 day trial before buying it!) I opened up the software and within 30 seconds, I was mind-mapping. Just like Scrivener gets out of the way and allows you to write, Scapple dodges your mental process and lets you slam your ideas down on the screen.
I think it took me a grand total of 30 minutes to get all of my plot points, thoughts, characters, ideas, and interconnected events down in a mind map. That may sound like a long time, but I ended up with a fairly complex mind map. Very few of those 30 minutes were me messing with Scapple. I’d say out of the 30 minutes, I spent 3 of them fiddling with Scapple (italics, bold, etc.) to see if I liked how different things looked.
What I’m saying is that you’ve tried other mind-mapping tools (like I have) and you’ve come away disgruntled (like I have) and you want something new (like I did) that just gets out of your way and allows you to create… Try Scapple!
Oh. Another sweet point: It’s only $14.99. I’m about $4.99 shy of that in my bank account right now, so come pay day, I’m buying this awesome piece of software.
Mind-mapping, here I come!
Note: While Scrivener will run on OSX, Windows and Linux, Scapple is only for OSX. Sorry Windows/Linux folks.