Brainstorming for a Novel

So maybe this is just me, but usually whenever an idea pops into my head it is usually very vague. Like maybe I know that I really want to write a fantasy story, but I don’t know where to begin.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Maybe it is just me, but as I was doing research after I just got into writing I found that there was little to no information about brainstorming, because of that I found that many times I was really stuck. So I am here to share with you how I brainstorm, and while I know that my method of brainstorming isn’t for everyone, I hope that someone will at least get an idea of what works for them.

We will be using the mind mapping technique, which I think most people know how to use; however, here I will show how to use a mind map for writing a novel.


So to begin, lets say that you have intense urge to write something. Maybe you really want to write a horror story, or a fantasy epic, but you don’t really have any idea where to start.

Well, to start off the mind map, you need to at least have an idea of what you want to write. Below I am going to show you the mind map of someone who is looking to write a high fantasy story, but you can adapt it to fit whatever you are in the mood to write.

Mind map 1

1) So as you can see here, I just started off by writing the genre I was looking at writing in the center and then added a few generic tropes of that genre around it. Remember, you are just brainstorming so don’t be afraid to be a little cliche, you’ll make everything more original when you go to do the Outline.

Here I have added, Mythical creatures, Magic, and Quests. All of which are fairly generic for any high fantasy novel

Mind Map 2

2) Next you want to branch out and add a little more details. These can still be fairly generic, but they should be more specific.

For example under the “Mythical Creatures” Bubble, I added dragons and elves. Two mythical creatures commonly found in high fantasy novel. You can add as many as you want, but for the sake of the example I am only using the two.

Mind Map three3) Then from there you keep branching out, becoming more and more specific as you get further from the center bubble. Continuing with my mythical creatures example, I added “Good or Evil” for dragons, and “Raised the hero” for the elves. These are much more specific, and will be added to the outline later.


So as you can see, mind mapping for a novel is pretty easy; however, lets say you have a idea for a story, but you need to brainstorm more of the specifics of what happens in the story. Well you can still use a mind map to help you get the specific’s down. Lets take a look at this old mind map of a story that I wrote for my first NaNoWriMo!

Mind Map 4So I don’t know how easy the picture is to see (I had to screen print it off my computer), but hopefully it will give you a basic idea.

So I took the basic idea and placed it in the center. In this case the idea was “A young girl finds her roommate dead, and must now deal with a dangerous stalker and mysterious shadow”.

From there I added a bubble for each of the three main points of the story, ‘The Mysterious Shadow”, “The Stalker”, and “Relationships.

Just like the example above, you just keep moving forward untill you have enough information that you feel ready to move on to the outline.


So I hope that helped with anyone who is currently brainstorming their novel! I was hoping to have this out in time for Camp NaNoWriMo, but I have been so busy these past few months so hopefully I will be able to post more often.

The program I used to make the mind maps is actually a new website I found called Mindmeister.com. It is an awesome site and you can even connect it to your moblie device through their app. The best part is that they are completely free! So I definitly suggest checking them out it you have the chance.

Until then, see you next time!

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