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We are back again! This time, we’re facing some serious opponents in the cage: Mindmapping versus Outlining versus pantsing. FIGHT!
To begin to find out how we want to cheer for these titans in the ring, we need to understand what each of them are:
The real definition, according to Mindmapping.com, is:
“A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas. Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.”
Put simply, it’s the messiest form of getting anything you can think of down on paper in some kind of graphic. It can be in the circle web, a tree branch system, etc.
A great tool authors can use is called Freemind. It’s absolutely free and makes the process much easier.
Once the process is complete you can move onto your second opponent in the cage: Outlining.
Going back to the official definition, according to Dictionary.com, an outline is:
“a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project”
What does this mean? Just as it says. You are putting your story in such a way that you can see it’s pacing, plot line, characters, etc.
There are many ways you can do this. However, some of those I use are Dan Well’s 7-point plot structure, The Embryo Method, and of course my favorite, the 3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapters method founded by Katytastic. Each of them are powerful and some of the most efficient ways to outline I’ve found! It’s up to you to decide on what’s best for you and your novel!
Pantsing is the most free approach to writing a novel. There’s no dedication to an outline. Often there’s not even a mind-mapping technique involved. It’s the most Stephen King method out there and still one of my most preferred.
I am what is known as a Plotster. Most of the time, despite my love for the methods above, I don’t really use them I’d rather have a general idea as vague as possible so I can let the characters and story evolve as they will. When I do outline, it’s often Dan Well’s method which gives you the meat and leaves out the details.
But, which is right for me?
This is for you, as the creator, to decide. Some great questions you can ask are:
- What do I know about my story?
- Do I want to know everything up front or allow some freedom to move around?
- Do I even want to mind-map?
- Do I need to mind-map?
- What would benefit the story most?
Ultimately, you know your story better than anyone. you know what it needs, how the world feels and what you want to know – which can be as much or as little as you like.
- Try each of them out! Maybe one feels right.
- Do your research. There are many and I mean many ways to go about creating your story.
Never give up! There’s a story inside of you, you just may have to really dig deep to find it!
BEFORE YOU GO! PLEASE READ ON!
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