SCAPPLE That Idea!

ScappleIconONE OF THE NEATEST TOOLS I’ve come across is Scapple, simple mind-mapping Mac & Windows application for those who organize with a visual flare. I had no idea how much I needed this tool to support my writing until I started using it.

What Is Scapple?

Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does.

That’s the description as found on the Literature & Latte Website, the people who brought you Scrivener.

How I Use Scapple

A few months back, when I had written two-thirds of my It Really Does Get Better novel, I struggled with how to best outline the last third. I had too many ideas and notes in various Evernote notes, and I couldn’t see them all clearly. Visualization is very important to my success at anything. Linear outlining wasn’t working for me because I needed a way to make connections with earlier plot points. And when it came to the Galaxy series, my linear outlines were frustrating me because the connections between characters, scenes, and plots are complicated and a standard outline doesn’t work for this.

With Scapple, I started typing in scene and idea blurbs and then connected them with lines and arrows. Once I memorized the keyboard commands for lines and arrows, the process accelerated. Scapple lets you drag the ideas around the screen and the simple text boxes can be customized (if you want to). I love this feature. Here’s the real scene outline, err…mind-map, for the first few chapters of It Really Does Get Better as outlined in Scapple.

Scapple Shot

It gets better! You can export Scapple ideas into a Word document. You can even drag them into Scrivener and *poof* they will automatically become organized scenes. Seriously guys, this is efficiency at its finest.

My only regret with Scapple? Not buying it six months ago when I suffered from outlining block.