Posts Tagged ‘narratives’

Creating Narratives And How Mind Mapping Can Aid Authors

October 13th, 2012

When creating a strong and interesting narrative, the author must answer of series of important questions. Among these questions are: What will the narrative be about? Who are your main characters in the narrative? What conflict will surround the characters? Mind Mapping is an effective tool that authors can use when creating a narrative, because it provides an effective way to organize the main characters, themes, and key conflicts in the narrative. With Mind Mapping, the author can make use of colors, visual images, words, and symbols to more easily outline his or her thoughts surrounding the narrative.

How A Narrative Mind Map Is Created?

A narrative Mind Map should consist firstly of the main idea or theme of the narrative, represented by a central image located in the center of the map. Next, the supporting themes surrounding the main idea, such as the characters or locations that will be central to the narrative, can be listed on branches that are attached to the central image. The conflicts among characters can then be listed on child branches connecting the characters involved in the conflicts. Lastly, the topics least important to the main idea of the narrative, such as minor storylines or characters, can be shown on twigs that are attached the branches. In putting together a Mind Map in this manner, the author can use whatever images, words, colors, or symbols he or she wishes to bring, life to the themes, character, and ideas for his or her topic.

Comparing a Traditional Narrative Outline and Mind Map of a Narrative

A traditional narrative outline will most often present the main theme of the narrative, as well as the characters, locations, and conflicts found in the narrative, linearly. Consider the following Chapter One outline of an author who has used a traditional layout:

Title: Murder in the First Degree

I.Chapter One

A.Introduction of the Main Characters and Location of the Narrative

1.Kathryn (The Wife)

2.Aaron (The Husband)

3.Gary (The Wifes Lover and Murder Victim)

4.John (The Sheriff)

5.Detective Parish

6.Calamesa, CA (The Location)

B.Introduction of Character Interactions/Conflicts

1.Kathryn and Aarons Relationship

a.Where are how they met

b.How long they have been romantically involved

2.Samantha and Erics Relationship

a.How long they have been married

b. Aaron’s abuse of Kathryn

3.Antagonistic Relationship Between Craig and Eric

4.Tonys longstanding dislike of Craig

a.Why John Dislikes Aaron (reason?)

b.Aaron many lawsuits brought against John for slander (?)


1.Body Found

a)How Victim Was Murdered (Stabbed to Death)

b)Who Found Body (Aaron standing over body with knife)

2.Suspect Arrested

Contrast this outline with a Mind Map of Chapter One of the narrative, represented in the attached Mind Map diagram. In the Mind Map diagram, the themes, characters, and conflicts of the narrative are presented spatially, and are spread across the page. Moreover, while the traditional outline includes only text, the Mind Map incorporates not only text, but images, colors, and graphics as well. The result is a more visually stimulating diagram of the main themes, characters, and conflicts, making them easier to conceptualize.

Writing a Narrative from the Mind Map

Both the traditional outline and the Mind Map can be used as a jumping off point for the actual writing of the narrative. However, consider the visual imagery and spatial depth of the Mind Map; the Mind Map engages the writers brain in a more creative manner, and allows him or her to more actively visualize the narrative as seen in the minds eye. By allowing the author to visualize his or her narrative in this manner, the Mind Map provides him or her with a more intuitive transition to the actual writing of the narrative. The process of outlining the narrative and writing the narrative are thus linked in one creative process, and the development of the story can evolve more naturally.

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