Writing stories, no matter how long or short, is always difficult if it’s not done right. There is often much to keep track of that it’s easy for the author to lose track of certain details of their characters. To counter this problem, many authors use graphic organizers – more commonly known as mind maps – to help them keep track of their characters, plot points, and other important story details. A graphic organizer is literally a visual blueprint of the knowledge inside an author’s head.
When used correctly, a visual mind map can also have the unexpected effect of actually helping an author overcome writer’s block or story fatigue. This is done by relieving boredom, renewing interest in the subject, helping to clear up any lingering confusion, or helping authors to organize their thoughts into something more cohesive and coherent.
There are many different categories of graphic organizers available for use for different purposes. There are relational organizers, which include graphs like storyboard or fish-bone maps. There are classification organizers which are like concept maps and mind mapping. There are sequence organizers such as chain, ladder, and cycle maps. Compare and contrast organizers are diagrams like digital dashboards and Venn diagrams. Concept development organizers include content such as story webs, circle charts, and flow charts. Finally, there are options and control device organizers such as graphical user interfaces.
All of these mind maps are a slightly different from each other but the same occurs when an author creates them. The author takes the information about the story and puts it down on paper. Once that information is down on paper, it becomes much easier for the author to visualize connections between things like plot points or major events. Many times, seeing the information down on paper actually provides a much better picture of the story. It’s very helpful to be able to see how a story is being played out on paper.
It also makes the information easier to remember because seeing it all on paper burns it onto the author’s mind. Sometimes, authors lose track of plot points, story ideas, or other important facts because they are trying to keep track of an entire story within their head. Using a mind map clears the mind, allowing the information to be memorized without any extra clutter. It also makes it easier to see glaring errors. Below are examples of some of these maps.