Today, I am launching into the planning phase for Heritage is Deadly #2. Up until now, I've had all these ideas swimming around in my head, all the points I know have to end up in the plot, but apart from the obvious bits, i.e. the start and the end, they have no coherent order.
My first challenge is actually defining each of those points, which is where my mindmap comes in. I use Freeplane, which is freeware and is great for just blasting all my thoughts down. For those who don't know what a mindmap is, it looks a bit like a spider's web, with linked nodes. It's a great way for brainstorming ideas, because the only thing you need is connections, you don't have to structure a hierarchy you can just throw thoughts down and then rearrange them later. It's the high-tech version of postits and string on the wall :).
|5 mins of Mindmap for Heritage is Deadly 2|
After just five mins, this was my mindmap for Heritage is Deadly 2. Excuse the redactions, but some things I'd like to keep to myself :), but I hope it gives those of you've who've never used mindmaps an idea of how they help get ideas out of my head and into some kind of coherent picture. I nearly always start with links between characters, since that is how my head works, then I try to flesh out what those links are. Mindmaps aren't only good for plot planning, though. I've used them for character building as well.
Once I've got all my plot points down (a while to go yet), I'll start on a full scene by scene plan for the novel and try and put these plot points into order :). That'll be in Scrivener, a tool for writers that allows me to collate all my notes and draft my novel as well. It's not free, but it's well worth the £27.27 for the licence. I'm looking forward to it, actually, I have a good feeling about this novel :D. I should be ready for NoNoWriMo when November comes around!