I hate the idea of outlining, but...

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Silverdragon
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Thu May 24, 2018 9:21 am Post

lunk wrote:
mbbntu wrote:...you just throw stuff on the paper without thinking. It didn't matter where it went, or if the connections were "wrong". When you had got the stuff out of your head you could look at it and rearrange things.

That's the exact reason why I prefer Scapple for this kind of true brainstorming. :)

Connections are arbitrary. They don't exist unless you explicitly put them there. I group my stuff together using frames around them, the "magnet" function to keep them together if I want to, or remove the magnet if I realize they don't fit together.
I do use iThoughts as well, partly because it is available on my iPad. Oh, how I wish there was an iOS version of Scapple, in which one could use the Apple pencil. But as for now, there are alternatives like Papers by 53 for drawing and sketching things and Cardflow which I use for some stuff (like drawing a story board).

Whereas I find having to draw every single blessed connection by hand to be a pain in the keister exceeded only by those 3 page chapter sketches with 4x5 motivation grids. :D I can create an unconnected topic in iThoughts with a double click if I want one, but 95% of the time, I don't.

And that last sentence explains, I think, why we prefer different tools—as it sounds like 95% of the time you DO want an unconnected topic. So you choose the tool that suits the way you think—as do I. Happy writing!
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John Dodds
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Thu May 24, 2018 10:51 am Post

Thanks everyone for the valuable and interesting replies. Much appreciated.

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mbbntu
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Thu May 24, 2018 11:11 am Post

It's possible that the material we deal with also influences our choices. I am exclusively working non-fiction, and I am either explaining things or constructing an argument. For me, therefore, it is not so much a matter of simple connections, but a matter of "flow". If I get ideas in the wrong order, people will not understand. This is another reason why I don't use boxes, because the way that I move from one thing to another is crucial to me, so connections are absolutely basic, and boxes are separators, not connectors. I don't mind scattering things about to begin with, but the next phase will be establishing the flow, and if I do everything in iThoughts I can take the "scatter" of items that I have created and transform them into sections of the flow in the same map.

And as John Dodds is on Windows, he might like to know there is a Windows version of iThoughts.
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)

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John Dodds
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Thu May 24, 2018 11:35 am Post

I appreciate the heads up on the fact I am a Windows user, so an alternative to IThoughts and Scrapple could be useful.

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lunk
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Thu May 24, 2018 12:37 pm Post

I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running Mojave.
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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Thu May 24, 2018 1:00 pm Post

Thanks, Lunk, I did not know that.

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Silverdragon
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Thu May 24, 2018 4:57 pm Post

@Mbbntu, as a fiction writer I also deal with sequences that won't make sense to readers if I get them out of order. I tend to think in clumps of sequential events, which naturally present as a branch of a mind map. When I'm at the stage that Lunk describes as the place he wants to use Scapple, I'm drawing on paper or on a white board. Even then I rarely place something and later resequence it. Just doesn't happen in my brain. *shrugs*
So you know where I'm coming from:
  • I write fiction.
  • I'm not an L&L employee.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.5, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.14.6 (Mojave)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.2.1; iPhone 8+, iPad 6; i(Pad)OS 13.3.1
  • Website: https://silverdrag0n.wordpress.com

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mbbntu
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Thu May 24, 2018 5:48 pm Post

@Silverdragon -- yes, of course narrative is almost inevitably sequential. Slightly off the wall, have you ever read any of Jerome Bruner's work on narrative? (Such as this http://ewasteschools.pbworks.com/f/Bruner_J_LifeAsNarrative.pdf. His article The Narrative Construction of Reality is also good, if you like that kind of thing!!)

Cheers, Martin.
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)

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Silverdragon
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Thu May 24, 2018 9:53 pm Post

mbbntu wrote:@Silverdragon -- yes, of course narrative is almost inevitably sequential. Slightly off the wall, have you ever read any of Jerome Bruner's work on narrative? (Such as this http://ewasteschools.pbworks.com/f/Bruner_J_LifeAsNarrative.pdf. His article The Narrative Construction of Reality is also good, if you like that kind of thing!!)

Cheers, Martin.

Ah, no. Psychology reading is... well, it's just not on my infinite to-do list... :oops: I took a look at your reference, and it's similar to the (somewhat harder science) works cited by Lisa Cron in "Story Genius." (Mmm, brain scans...) Her premise is that, knowing how the brain reacts to narrative, it's possible to craft a story designed to engage the reader, and gives example(s). Sadly, she's the author with the 3 page chapter sketches with the 4x5 matrix built-in. :shock: But her character backstory construction rocks.
So you know where I'm coming from:
  • I write fiction.
  • I'm not an L&L employee.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.5, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.14.6 (Mojave)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.2.1; iPhone 8+, iPad 6; i(Pad)OS 13.3.1
  • Website: https://silverdrag0n.wordpress.com

mb
mbbntu
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Fri May 25, 2018 5:56 am Post

@Silverdragon -- Interesting. I took a very quick look at some of Lisa Cron's material on her website, and to me it seems stark obvious, because -- well, I have a PhD in psychology! It reminded me that most people do not really understand themselves or others, so it is often necessary to state the stark obvious. But I can't help feeling that Jane Austen's approach (talk to people and observe them) is a better way of being a novelist. Matrices and the like sound rather mechanical to me, but whatever allows you to understand people must be beneficial.

I do wish people would get rid of this left brain / right brain rubbish, though.

Cheers, Martin.
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)

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John Dodds
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Sat May 26, 2018 12:29 pm Post

Thanks all for your thoughtful replies. I started a novel a few years back (just recovered it in Scrivener) and I see that I did an outline of sorts (more of a two page synopsis, really), which I don't normally do. All your advice inspires may to break it down some more and get more detailed about it. thanks.