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Putting down text now, connecting it later

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Posted by shatteredmindofbob
Mar 17, 2013 at 03:27 AM

 

So, I’m working on a web site project where I seem to be coming up with the copy one sentence or one paragraph at a time…but not in the right order.

I’ve been playing around with various outliners and mindmaps to do this, but most of them seem to expect the text to be attached to…something.

I’m not sure how clear I’m being (perhaps a side effect of trying to do copywriting through stream-of-consciousness)

Basically, I’m wondering if there’s a tool that lets me just throw in unrelated sentences and paragraphs quickly and then move them around into something coherent later, with anything having to be tied to a particular node in the beginning.

I guess what I’m picturing is a mindmap where nothing is connected at first, but then connections can be made once I have a bunch of nodes down.

Should add, I’m on Windows.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Mar 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM

 

shatteredmindofbob wrote:
>Basically, I’m wondering if there’s a tool that lets me just throw in
>unrelated sentences and paragraphs quickly and then move them around
>into something coherent later, with anything having to be tied to a
>particular node in the beginning.
> >I guess what I’m picturing is a mindmap where nothing is connected at
>first, but then connections can be made once I have a bunch of nodes
>down.

OK, this is not a mind map but will allow you to write without a hierarchy first and reorder text fragments later (and is very quick and easy to use, and customisable). In FocusWriter:
1) type your text fragment;
2) hit ## (or set your own preferred divider code in preferences) to create a text item (called “scene” in FW);
3) when you’re finished writing, hover your cursor to the left to reveal the navigation pane, and
4) use Ctrl+Shift+Down or Up to reorder the scenes (or assign your own shortcuts in preferences).

If you want a mind map, in Freeplane you can add free-floating nodes, to which you can add notes, and then you can drag them into a hierarchical mind map (which can be changed into a single-pane outline with one click).

Another option might be Story Lite, an infinite whiteboard, where you can rearrange the notes spatially.

One could also do this in any two-pane outliner, by just adding notes to the top level (i.e. flat list), and order them later. E.g. The Guide.

And of course desktop wikis were pretty much designed for such a non-linear writing process. But I only know ConnectedText, and that would cost you money and learning curve (unless you’re already a user). All of the above are free. FocusWriter is truly amazing in its simplicity.

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 17, 2013 at 11:46 AM

 

A couple of tools come to mind, though neither is a mind map. First, this sounds like the perfect application for Brainstorm, which is designed for exactly this purpose. Second option, which I’ve never used beyond a quick trial, is Sense by Silva Elm, but I think it does something similar.

http://brainstormsw.com

http://www.silvaelm.co.uk

And you might try Scrivener and just use the cork board view to start.

Steve Z.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Mar 17, 2013 at 11:53 AM

 

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>And you might try Scrivener and just use the cork board view to start.

Or you could just write the text in continuous toilet roll mode in a single Scrivener document item, and then structure it into individual outline items and rearrange them using Ctr+K (split at selection).

This trick also works in Outline 4D: “split event” (Shift+Enter).

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Mar 17, 2013 at 03:54 PM

 

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>First, this sounds like the perfect application for Brainstorm, which is
>designed for exactly this purpose.
>http://brainstormsw.com

I would also suggest Brainstorm by far; it is extremely quick and doesn’t get in the way. Write as chaotically as you want and then organise with the help of simple

- drag-n-drop an entry to another while pressing shift to make the former a subsidiary of the latter
- ALT+up/down arrow will move an entry up or down in a list (in the same level)

or more complex tools

- ‘mark’ your basic section structure from 1 to 5 and then ‘throw’ any item to its section by pressing CTRL+1-5

You can do the above in one level at a time; or, you can open several windows with different levels and sections, and move items around. At any time, CTRL+B (‘balloon view’) will give you an overview of the full structure.

Once you’ve organised you content, you can output it as a tab indented text file which mindmappers will happily read.

An alternative to Brainstorm, very powerful but with a steeper learning curve IMHO, is Maxthink. Both programs haven’t been developed in quite some time, but they are very mature. That said, saving your work often is always advised. In this context Brainstorm has autosave, and Maxthink will count the time since the last save.

 


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