A mind map, also sometimes called a Bubble or Cluster diagram is a simple yet effective way of generating ideas that become progressively more in-depth as the diagram grows.
You begin by writing a word in the centre of a piece of paper (you can put it in a bubble or not – it’s your design) and then draw off a line connecting every word you can think of associated with the central word and then do the same for each of those words. Try to keep everything relative to your project, or you’ll be here all night!
For instance, you might want to brainstorm ideas about a character, so in this case, you would write the character’s name in the centre of the page and then draw a line for family, another for friends, one for physical description and one for personality.
From family, you’d draw another line for each member of the character’s immediate family, and do the same for friends, physical description and personality, then repeat the process for each new idea or thought.
Using different colours for each generation of information or for specific clusters can help the brain to engage more efficiently, especially if you’re more of a visual person.
When you’ve finished, you should end up with something that looks similar to this:
(apologies for the handwriting but it shows basically what I’m talking about)
A mind map can work for all aspects of your project, and they work exceptionally well for thinking up story ideas, plots and you could, if you have the time or patience, even mind map each scene or chapter if you’re writing fiction.
There are no rules, it’s your diagram; the aim is to generate practical ideas for your project, so it’s all about what works best for you.
I hope I’ve explained things well enough to inspire you to at least give mind mapping a try if you haven’t already. It can really help you if you have written yourself into a corner or if you’re feeling creatively blocked.
As always, thank you for reading, especially if you made it this far!
Until next time,