FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/10/04

5 BITS OF HARD & SOFTWARE TO HELP UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY

We’re a few days shy of a month away from the annual global writing phenom known as NaNoWriMo. Perhaps it’s time to get crackin’, yes?

1) MIND MAPS

 iago_j001artdepmindmap

( via the24hourtala )

There are loads of software programs and apps out there that can help you create mind maps. A mind map is an outflowing of ideas that can begin with a single word. Using simple word association, new ideas can be formed. This process can be used in fiction writing or in other projects, as well. I haven’t tried any apps yet, though when I do, I’ll be sure to review them.

In the meantime, there are old school ways to create a mind map. The easiest way is pen to paper (or get creative with colored pens!). Other options are whiteboards, blackboards, etc.

What I’ve used for mind mapping and brainstorming are my mirrored closet doors. It was a delayed realization of a convenient resource after I’d already purchased two rolls of now still unused whiteboard adhesive stickers. It’s a great way to get the ideas flowing no matter how you like to map them. 🙂

2) INDEX CARDS

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( via Sarah Ockler )

Much like mind maps, these can be tangible or found as software applications. An app I’ve used that syncs between devices is Noti and it’s great in a pinch. There’s also a section within the Scrivener app wherein you can index card your brains out–more on that later.

Of course, as we reminisce fondly on our school days, ahem, if that’s something we do, there are also the beloved 3×5 or 4×6 beauties that come lined, unlined, or in an array of colors for your organizational convenience.

What can you do with them? Throw out ideas, character names, settings, story prompts. Shuffle them and draw one out to get you going.

If you’re already in the prep stages of novel creation, you can use index cards to plan out your scenes. Short sentences and phrases helps you create a path from beginning to end and the ease of portability allows you to reorganize ideas to avoid a sagging middle.

Regardless of the method, index cards (or post-its for the sticky loving writers) do wonders.

3) GOOGLE IMAGES

0_21_Google_Cookiemonster

( via Fox News )

Remember how I said previously that a picture’s worth a thousand words? Well, I didn’t come up with that notion nor did I come up with this next nifty trick.

I love to dream cast my books. To do that, I tap into the wonderful world of Hollywood and look up faces to go with my names. I base these choices on the actor’s work as well as their appearance. Oh, and it’s not limited to people. It’s a great way to look for settings, as well.

Case in point, most of the images I come up with for posts are from sites like Google Images.

While we’re at it, let’s give shout outs to Tumblr and Pinterest, as well. When it comes to visuals, you get the idea and with these sites, you may actually get ideas.

4) TIMERS

timer-icon

( via Contest Timer )

Online, offline, your watch, your stove. Anything that ticks and anything that dings will do the trick. Timers can help you unleash hidden gems and really tap into your creative core. Use timers to do free writing. You can set the time to whatever you want and it forces yourself to churn out the words before the timer buzzes.

Writing sprints are always great to get those word counts and knowing that you’ve got a deadline ticking away is a great motivator. (For more insane motivation try Write Or Die.)

Another use for a timer is to let yourself and those around you know that for that entire time, YOU ARE WRITING AND MUST NOT BE DISTURBED. Common writing courtesy, yo!

5) SCRIVENER

showcase-scrivener_header

( via Literature & Latte )

Last but certainly not least, Scrivener. It’s your one-stop writing shop. You can go from conceptualization to fruition with this program. In the drafting stage they have sections for research, brainstorms, index cards, and even pictures.  There are different templates to use and subsections to organize all your work. There’s even an export feature that can help you instantly convert your novel into an ebook format.

There’s so much to talk about with Scrivener that it needs it’s own post. Suffice it to say, considering I have a handful of the top writing programs already at my fingertips, Scrivener is the one I keep coming back to for my writing.

=8=

So, hope this FRIDAY FORAGE has whet your writing appetite, if you haven’t already begun. I’m using these posts to psych myself up. Otherwise, my procrastinating self will end up scrambling the night before while handing out candy to strangers.

Happy writing… and planning… and brainstorming… and dreaming. NaNoWriMo is coming.

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