Writing books with MindManager

It’s a very simple process assuming you are going to export the map to Microsoft Word.

The Central Topic is the Title.

The Main Topics are the level one headings.

The Sub Topics are the level two headings and so on.

The Notes are the paragraphs and or tables that appear after the headings. Use a Note on the Central Topic to produce a frontispiece for the book. Notes can contain images and tables. Use tables to create text columns and to align images and text on a page. Unfortunately there are not the image wrapping facilities that you get in Word. Use linked images if the image is still being edited or will be updated. Every time MindManager is opened the image will be updated in the Notes or you can refresh it (right click the image and refresh).

Relationships are cross references uni-directional or bi-directional if you have an arrowhead at both ends.

Many of the other items on a map will appear in the Word document: Icon markers, callout topics, review comments, text markers, task information (appears in a small table).

You can also include the map as a graphic below the title and insert a table of contents. You can control the numbering style and insert header and footer information. Finally you can choose a Word Template to use for the exported document. You might have one template for the printed book – A5 portrait double sided booklet and another for the eBook – A4 landscape 2 pages per sheet. For fiction book you can use the Word Template style to hide all but the chapter heading.

Floating topics do not appear in the exported document, so they can be useful places to write notes to yourself. Use View > Show/Hide to hide them before exporting if you do not want them to appear on the map graphic!

Use filtering to hide topics which are not finished or not required e.g. clauses in a quote before exporting.

This is how I produced my 20 page training manual “An Introduction to MindManager” The map on the cover of the booklet is the map that produces the book.

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Now for the most important part of this blog. MindManager is a great tool for containing and publishing your book. It’s easy to reorganise, to write the parts of the book you have just had the inspiration for and to identify the completeness of sections with the task complete icons. However this is only one part of writing a book. I think you should have a map for many of the following (obviously some are not required for non-fiction):

  • Audience – Who is going to read it. What do they want to read. etc.
  • Research – The background, your sources, references etc.
  • Characters – Create a word and image map(s) which describe your characters and their relationships to other characters and the plot.
  • The Plot – What leads to what etc.
  • Writing process – Your plan for writing the book
  • The Publishing Plan – Who will do it. How will it be promoted. etc.
  • Finally – Why are you doing it? This could be a financial or philanthropic map!

You may like to suggest some more by adding a comment to this blog. If you have any experience of writing books with MindManager please tell me about them.

If you need any help with using MindManager to produce documents, please contact me.

About Andrew Wilcox

Andrew is an experienced user of MindManager who shares his knowledge and advice for free here. And provides commercial training and consulting on how to exploit MindManager and other mind mapping software applications in business, organisations and for individuals at Cabre For more information about Andrew please visit his Google + profile.


One Response to “Writing books with MindManager”

  1. thebookwright says:

    Sound stuff Andrew – I use mind maps in all my workshops and in my online home study course

    Even though I am a great fan of software though (thanks to your excellent training I should add), I find that my clients get better results in the originating phase with paper based mind maps – your template is sound though but note there is a bit of a difference between fiction & non-fiction planning (and publishing) …

    Whether you are doing computer based or hand drawn maps, this visualisation may well help –

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