Mind map your Novel

As we all wait with baited breath the release of Scivener for IPad those of us writing and brainstorming mainly ’on the go’ need to rely on available apps to aid us in the process.

Mind mapping has been a total revelation for me; I have used SimpleMind excessively, for Character sketches, action and reaction diagrams, ’what if’ scenarios, timeline outlines and so on.
You can add notes, pictures, actions, links, relationships and of course it is full customizable with regards to colours, outlines et cetera.
Photo 25-09-2014 13 15 26It works similar to Roz Morris’s index card system.
There is a paid desktop version of SimpleMind available, as well as a very useful demo of the software that lets you save your mind map in various formats for import into ScivenerScivener then opens these as notes with sub-notes, so the relationship between ’strands’ or trails of thought are preserved.

I use iA Writer, which is fantastic for fast and furious idea jotting. I do ALL of my writing with this app. Photo 25-09-2014 13 15 00Annoyingly, it’s recent update auto-corrects inverted commas (’) to spaces; I have no idea why and if you write your dialogue with single inverted commas instead of double, you get auto corrected every single time! I now use “ for dialogue exclusively and convert them all later in Word, with the ’replace all’ option.

Photo 25-09-2014 13 16 00


Manuscript is a lovely app if you want to see your budding novel in book format. It does chapters and chapter outlines, index cards and export options. It is a nice app to keep track of versions of full drafts (and its word and page counts).



Photo 25-09-2014 13 16 15Goodreader is of course perfect for annotating PDFs, once you have exported a full draft and don’t want to trawl around individual chapters.

Writer Lists is a fun app that supplies lists from names to birth signs to Aussie slang, and has just had a major update.

I also use Pages, Numbers for an alternative to mind mapping when working on chronology and timeline and ’Dictionary’ – there is a useful translation option with this app.

Please leave comments and suggestions as to other writing apps and tools below.

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Filed under Bea Schirmer, Techniques

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