Brainstorming? Try Mind Mapping

Lately been getting ready for my son’s birthday party and chasing a toddler and puppy around the house. Needless to say, my days have been filled with bodily excretions I’m sure you don’t want me to describe here.

Next week, after Labor Day, we should be back on schedule for blogging here on Write Lara Write. And by “we,” I mean that I will be writing and I hope you will be reading.

Anyway, I wanted to share a really awesome new brainstorming tool called Exobrain. It’s BRAND NEW mind-mapping software. What’s mind mapping, you ask? Remember those webs you had to draw in seventh grade when brainstorming ideas for term papers? They look like this:

via ContentNotes

Well, now you can make a really ridiculously good-looking one even if you have the handwriting of a five-year old and the artistic ability of a naked mole rat.

It’s called Exobrain and it was introduced to be by a designer friend via Twitter. Actually, he tweeted about it to someone else, but it popped up on my feed, and, well, that’s the beauty of Twitter. (P.S. Writers need Twitter, in moderation. You can follow me @Larathelark or click the Twitter button on the top right side of this page to be taken to my profile.)

This is what Exobrain looks like when you go to

And here’s something you can make with it:

(image taken from video, below)

And here’s a video of how it works:

I’ve been using it today for some of my design work and am really enjoying it. I am excited to try it out for brainstorming new story ideas.

You DO need to log in and create an account, but you create an account simply so that you can access your mind maps (or “webs”) from anywhere in the world. There’s no need to back-up the information—Exobrain saves automatically. There are other mind mapping websites out there, but they can be a bit clunky with too many options and no real eye for design. This is a beautiful piece of software, and they are improving it everyday. There isn’t an availability to collaborate and share maps as of August 30, but they are working on that.

Once you create an account, you are given a default map. READ IT—it describes how the functions work. Then you can alter and add or delete as you please! You can save multiple maps, too.

Have fun with your brainstorming!

Pixar Story Rules

And also a bit of

The moving truck that has all of our personal belongings (i.e. all of my books) is still somewhere between here and the Ozarks. So while I intended to write this week’s Fiction Friday about writing scenes—a topic I definitely struggle with—that’s not going to happen until next week.

So, again, in lieu of a post, I’ll share with you a great site and resource for writers. This blog post is a compilation of tweets by Pixar story artist Emma Coats. She shares, in 140 characters or fewer, more than 20 story writing ideas and tools. Here’s one:

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

Check it out, try some of the writing exercises. HOPEFULLY our moving truck will be here on Monday, so I can get you a legitimate blog post on setting.

Adieu for now!