Posts Tagged ‘novel’

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.

Creative Writing Tips

October 11th, 2012

If you’re a writer, you’ve stared at a blank computer screen, or paper for what seemed to be hours, contemplating the first sentence. It seems like the most difficult task to do, especially when it comes to the creativity of your own imagination. What’s needed, more than anything, when doing the first draft of your manuscript? Inspiration. Constant inspiration will keep the creative flow churning throughout the creative writing process.

There are many ways to pump up your creative writing momentum, and plunk out, at least, the first chapter with confidence that the rest will be easy as riding a bike; it may be hard to do at first, by once you learn, you never forget.

Have Fun

Yes, the first thing you should do is begin to have fun. Make sure that you enjoy yourself throughout the writing process. The beautiful thing about a writer is they can be inspired by just about anything. The trees which pass a jogger on a sunny Saturday morning or the bus-load of people on the bus cruising down a street can inspire a writer to create dazzling characters, and realistic, yet effective storylines. Here are a few ideas to have fun:

Spend Time with Friends-

Have a great time with the people you care most about. Often times, writers are inspired by the people who are around them. The people that they love. Many famous characters from books and movies were inspired by combinations of different people from the writer’s life. It’s no wonder the saying, “Art imitates life,” rings so true. Make a commitment to have dinner with friends, or maybe simply watch a movie with your closest pals. Study the atmosphere, the smell, the mood, and record it in your mind. This, fellow writer, is the act of researching.

Spend Time Reading-

What else, but reading sparked your appetite to craft wondrous prose with a pen? Naturally, it would be a great idea to pick up a book and begin to read it. Devour it, and enjoy it at face value. Then, read the book again, this time paying attention to as many details in the plot, character development, story structure, and pacing. This will give you a zest for the art, and help you to study what the professionals are currently doing.

Spend Time Watching Movies-

Movies would not exist without the seed of a brilliant writer drafting an excellent script. Every department within the film’s production reads the script in order to get an idea of what the story is, what the atmosphere seems like, and who the characters are. Notice the pacing of the movie as well. Though the original script is altered by editing, the pacing is still enhanced. Try to imagine how your book would appear as a movie on screen. You must become the director and writer of your creative writing fiction manuscript and set a tone and vision for the story you wish to tell.

What Story will you tell?

Now it’s time for you to decide what story you want to tell. Writers get their inspiration from many different sources, such as other books, movies, and even personal events in the lives. Whatever story it is, it must have a beginning, middle, and an end. No story in history was ever completed, or can even be considered a story, without the three key elements. Once you know the story that you wish to tell, you can go on to creating the heroes and villains that will inhabit the story and your made-up world.

The Heroes and Villains

Every good story has a good guy and a bad guy. In some stories, the villain, or bad guy, is represented not by human beings, but by animals, personal objects, and even spirits. Your heroes have to have an obstacles on the way that blocks them from reaching their desired goals. Your readers want to follow someone that they like and can relate to, as they travel on their journey. The journey could be anywhere, and it could involve anything. For example, read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings book, and pay attention to the many wonderful adventures he takes his characters on. We could even examine a book such as The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger, the main character is sent on a wild rush of a ride by the boss from hell. Flush out your good guys and your bad guys to help you create a great story.

Write from the Heart

Now that you’ve been reading, watching movies, talking with friends, and birthing heroes and villains, you can approach the blank page with zest and confidence. You’ve gotten past the difficult part, coming up with an idea and putting pen to paper. You can do it. Simply begin to type and forget about the rules. Throw out the questions of whether you’re writing perfect or not, and write the damn thing. Let your characters speak, express themselves, and interact with their environment. The story will begin to unfold, if you have a nice grasp on who your characters are, and what they want. Of course, your hero, or protagonist wants something, and conversely, your antagonist, the villain, always wants something as well. The drama, plot, and story begin to take place, all from this humble beginning in inspiring your creative writing.

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