When outlining a story I love to use mind maps. They really show how elements in the story are connected (the thick green lines).
Below is the (almost finished) outline of The Day, showing only the plot structure, not the characterizations. I have a different mind map for that 🙂
Yes I love those things. It clicks in my mind. It’s wonderful to play with them and see the entire shape change. I like looking at them on a very zoomed-out scale. Like watching history, or the lives of people intertwine and unfold. Well, actually it is precisely that.
I have two programs I’m using for mind mapping. My trusty old Xmind Pro. I have been using that for my work for a few years now and I like its intuitiveness (is that a word?) very much. But it can’t really talk nicely with my smartphone or tablet.
So I’ve discovered SimpleMind Pro and am loving it even more. It is less intuitive, and less keyboard-centered, but its styles are beautiful and it can output to OPML and even text outlines, beyond the usual stuff. Fantastic!