Mapping Ideas

In which I deconstruct and reconstruct The Next Book.

I am on a short breather from work on my next children’s novel. This gives me a chance to stand back, tidy my workspace (and my brain).

I always find it fascinating to see how writers and artists work. Seeing sketches and scribbles others have done reminds me that we all have our own ways of creating. As I gain more experience writing novels, I am beginning to know what works best for me when I am plotting or rewriting. I am definitely a mind mapper. Maybe this is because I am used to drawing ideas, so it’s logical to work in a graphical way. There’s nothing like drawing bubbles and arrows (using the all-important colored pens) on a big paper.

I took a photo of the mind map I’ve been working with on my latest manuscript. It looks like a jumble of nonsense but it’s my own kind of shorthand. I mapped out the manuscript as it was in the first draft, then marked down all the issues that needed to be resolved and possible solutions. That’s where the colored pens come in handy.

As I wrote the second draft, I often referred back to my mind map. It gave me a structure to work with and was a quick reference guide to my editors’ comments. Before I get to work on the next draft, I will take the time to make another mind map, so I know which way to go with things.