To be honest I am not a plotter, but a pantser. I have tried plotting and for some reason my characters will always do what they want and never as I planned the story. So if you are a pantser like me, there is a tool that can help you to give some structure to a story - even if you let your characters make their own choices and mistakes. It is called a Mindmap.
The funny thing is that even if you are a plotter (and actually manage to control your whole story universe) this tool can also be useful to you.
There are software packages out there that you can buy, and then there are free options too. Check out the best options for your pocket and application.
Mind maps are exactly that. Mapping of a problem or a solution or a process that helps you think about it, and change it according to a set or rules (or not!) that you define.
And it has an infinite number of applications, even if you are not a writer at all!
Let's look at the example below:
Since I write mostly romance, what you see here is a basic starting point for a romance story. The details are not limited to a certain type of romance sub-genre, and you can adapt and change as your story moves along. Even if your characters make unexpected choices, you can then map possible outcomes and decide from there which one would suit your story or characters the best.
This is especially useful if the story is part of a series, and you need to keep in line with the overall plot of your series.
You will notice mapping of some background details - like the place and time to help you keep track of those. But the basic idea is simple: whether you are a plotter or a pantser, here is a tool that could help you in writing the story you have always wanted!
Do you use mind maps? How do they work for you?