From Idea to Book: How mind maps can help you write a novel


Most writers find it difficult to get started on an article, a post or a piece of fiction.  

  • How do you not get lost in confusing plots?
  • How do you bring all the twists and turns together in the end without forgetting about the characters?

Mind maps are a proven and practical creative method for organising information, plots and research, and for finding new and better ideas for your articles and books.

  • Do you want your ideas to get to the page faster?
  • Or do you need to systematise information for an article or book before you start writing?

Mind maps can help you link unrelated ideas, outline a work plan and save time thinking about structure and writing a text.

ioctopus mind map quest

Most writers hate to use an outline, but systematising information and ideas is essential. Of course, you can use a kanban board for that. But if you're writing a big book or essay, you can get lost among the same type of multi-coloured stickers.

A graphic organiser for ideas, such as an mind map, is great for this purpose. It will allow you to write down all the thoughts swirling around in your head in abstract terms and see the connections between things you wouldn't otherwise see.

Why a writer should use mind maps

Mindmaps are suitable for almost any creative work. You can use the mindmapping technique to:

  • Have a brainstorming session to create or elaborate a character, a scene; 
  • To see the overall structure of a book or article;
  • Outline ideas for further character description, landscape, scene, quest; 
  • Drawing up a chapter plan;
  • Keeping track of story lines to write the ending organically.

Mistakes in the use of mind maps by writers

writers mind map mistakes

Excessive idea jamming.
If you get carried away with jotting down ideas, you can overdo it with plot twists, unnecessary descriptions, useless characters, and unimportant facts. When you plan your subtopics and sub-topics, keep in mind page or word limits. Do not overload your audience!

Connect theses and ideas with each other.
Mind maps clearly show which ideas are connected to each other. Make sure you make these connections so that the text does not end up looking like a collection of incoherent thoughts. 

A smooth transition from one topic to another.
You may have compiled some beautifully written chapters of all the ideas you have outlined, but if you don't leave yourself time to edit and polish the final version, it will seem jagged and unfinished to the reader. Make sure that you present each new idea clearly and move smoothly from one subtopic to the next, while still maintaining a connection to the main theme.

How to begin?

stages of text mind map

Using mind maps for writing books and articles is a great way to capture everything that needs to be included in the final text. In maps you can relate all the concepts, think through the basic outline.

The stages of creating an mind map:

  • Start with the central theme of the book or article, write it in the centre; 
  • Think about the main categories, chapters or sub-themes you want to cover in your book or article, and distribute them around the main theme.
  • Add small branches to each sub-topic. In each branch, place the information you will need to write that part. If you know you'll need something that isn't already there, put an exclamation mark icon or draw your own to highlight it and make sure you don't forget to add it.
  • You can also add tags so you can filter by tags to see what you need to refine.
  • Add notes to different parts of the mind map as you develop your ideas, to make the map interesting and informative.
  • Add links between branches and links to sources.

characters in mm ioctopus

Create two mind maps at once:

  • In the first, write out the general plot, plot twists and so on.
    In the second, write the characters that will be needed in the work.

Review your map every day. Notice anything missing? Add it. See connections between stories, characters - draw lines between them.

Mind maps make the writing process easier and more efficient. Before you start writing, create a consistent structure of your ideas, plots, quotes, examples, characters, situations and sources. Then narrow down the map, leaving only the outline you need.

Start writing!

Author of the article: Val Ch.


See also

How to brainstorm effectively

Brainstorming is when one or more people storm a problem/challenge/issue and throw ideas at it from all sides.

And even if the problem is huge - the Elephant-Problem - it cannot stand up to an army of ideas - mice, lemurs, pterodactyls, flying saucers, look, and even ants are here. Victory is assured if 1 condition is met...

mindmap brainstorm problem

How to make a mind map

How to master all the key nuances of creating mind maps in 10 minutes? And most importantly, to master for years.  So that you don't have to go back to it.

It's easy with the quick, interactive assignments in this article.

J'aimerais obtenir toutes infos et notices pour créer des cartes mentales pour écrire mon roman autobiographique
12 november 2023

Vous pouvez voir comment faire des cartes mentales ici :

Et comment faire des cartes mentales exactement dans IOctopus ici :
13 november 2023
J'aimerais obtenir toutes infos et notices pour créer des cartes mentales pour écrire mon roman autobiographique
12 november 2023