I have a bad habit of starting a new project without plotting the basic story line. Some wouldn’t call that bad—that’s how they write. For me it only leads to that inevitable moment when I don’t know what comes next. I’m a plotter at heart and winging a story the whole way through would never work for me.
In the past I’ve used notebooks and scraps of paper to plot out a story. It’s worked fairly well, but it can get a bit frustrating. My desk often gets messy and trying to find that elusive piece of paper or sentence in a notebook can take up time. So I had a look online for an easier way to get organised and found a program called Scapple, and I’ve think I’ve solved the problem!
Scapple is a bit like having a limitless whiteboard, but with the ability to shuffle notes around. It can be used as a mind map, but its flexibility means it adapts to what the user wants.
How it works
You click on a space and type what you need to type. Then click somewhere else and do the same. Each ‘note’ can be colour coded and moved around using click-and-drag. Connecting lines and arrows can be used to link—drag one note onto another and a connecting line appears. Required styles can be pre-set and easily applied to make the notes easier to follow. In the example below I’ve used blue for characters, green for the main crime, yellow for subplot, etc. The thing I love most about it is I can make a note of an idea that could be used in the story, and if I want to use it at some point I can simply drag it into place (I’ve used an orange border for these). That way I don’t lose any random ideas about the plot!
Images, links, and text can be dropped onto the page as well, so any relevant information is at hand.
So now I have everything at my fingertips and I won’t lose any ideas, and I hope I won’t hit that what-comes-next wall again!
And yes, the example is deliberately blurred. No spoilers for the next book!
What's it about?
It's about words and my life as a writer. There are also tips for those starting their writing journey, with a focus on self-publishing, and encouragement all round.