It’s been several months that I’ve had a Scrivener Saturday and now that I’m fooling around more the with the Mac version, I’ll add some discoveries that I think are useful, especially if there’s other software that might be compatible with Scrivener.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been playing around with two mind mapping programs recently and the one I seem to favor is SimpleMind (also available for Windows. Price $30.99 for Mac version). What I like about the program is the fast learning curve and it is easy to use. Yet the best feature of using both programs is the ability to export it to Scrivener.

I won’t get into all the features of SimpleMind, but below is an example of what the map looks like when I was working out Jake’s character traits. Note: To see larger versions of the images, click on each one. It will open up in a different window.

Once I had the map complete, I saved the map as a PDF on my desktop as well as an OPML file. From Scrivener, I imported both to my current Julius project (go to File=>Import=>Files). As you can see, the OPML files–once imported–appear in the binder as RTF files. Here, I’ll be able to go into further detail to flesh out Jake’s personality as well as his inner and outer conflicts.

Mind mapping is an interesting way to outline especially if you’re very visual and tend to like word association. Once I have all the different characters’ traits down, I’ll start with chapter outlines using mind maps and see how well they work with plotting.

Do you use mind maps? How detailed do you make your mind maps and have you found them useful as an outlining tool?  

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