Of Mind Maps, Outlines, and Finished Chapters

My writing process begins with time spent imagining. Often I sit in the corner, in the dark, and talk to myself about story ideas, plots, characters, and worlds. Sometimes I do this sitting at the computer keyboard. I create notes of my thoughts (if I am not at the keyboard, I use a voice recorder then enter the thoughts into my idea documents later).

As I progress, I create mind maps, spreadsheets, diagrams, charts, pictures, models, anything that helps explore and develop the ideas. I journey through the story multiple times discovering deeper truths with each pass.

When I am satisfied with the high-level plan, I delve deeper by writing the details. Again, I make multiple passes through the story, each draft adding depth and breadth to the story as I discover new ideas and more truths.

Working on a section of story, such as a chapter, I first mind map everything that is to happen. I convert the mind map into an outline. Using the outline as a guide, I write. As I write, I make new discoveries about the plots, characters, and worlds, and adjust accordingly.

The process is enjoyable.

Mind Map Image

Mind Map

Outline Image

Outline

Finished Chapter Image

Finished Chapter

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