When I was a Dilbert Cube worker, I used a lot of Project Planning Software, but one of the great tools we all used to brainstorm ideas in meetings and try and problem solve issues, was to use Fishbone diagrams like this – trying to get to the root cause of problems – action/reaction- cause and effect, starting with the problem [ effect] and noting down all possible causes.
Picture credit: SixSigma.
Or using MindMaps on flip charts. Like this – apologies for it being so busy, but the whole idea is that you put everything in pictures on one page so that you can see how it all fits together and how the branches work.
Picture Credit = Mind Tools
MindMaps were by far the most successful since they are able to put vague ideas and thoughts into two dimensions on paper – and make them Visual. Which for many people works a lot better than a long list of bullet points – it helps you to see the connections and make sense – and all on one piece of paper.
For anyone unfamiliar with the technique, MindMaps were first introduced mainstream by Tony Buzan, but in fact most people were doing their own versions of them in one form or another – Buzan helped to standardise the method and it was a great sucess.
Why? Because they work. They DO help to make your brain create the associations and links it needs between different thoughts and ideas – and you can recall a lot more in this way. Great for taking notes and learning a new skill or language.
And it is magical for helping you to note down ALL of your ideas for a character or a story on one page.
I am working on new story ideas at the moment, and instead of having a stack of scribbled notes and pictures, I am trying out the Mind Map method as one way of replacing loads of bits and pieces. In a visual and memorable way.
I will report back on the process.
AND – all you need is paper and pens and a great idea. Go for it.
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