Every writer struggles to develop their own style of writing. One of the first decisions you have to make is how to keep track of your characters. The first short story I wrote has a paper list of twenty-five names on it. That’s it just the character names. I quickly discovered more was needed to track descriptions and other important ideas. I took classes, downloaded every template I could find, and didn’t like any of them.
While trying out some different plotting/writing software, my husband suggested I try a mind mapping software program called FreeMind. He liked this program because it was free and being Java based could run on any platform.
I’m still learning the program, but it’s going good. You’re also supposed to be able to organize research, so that would be a plus when I need it. You can add notes (like meaning of names or story ideas), insert links, and add pictures. You’re able to collapse and expand trees as you need them. Here is an example from a novella WIP I’m working on:
The pen and pad icon represents nodes with notes and the red arrow means you have a link tied to the entry. I’m only tracking characters and places right now. You can add other entries like plot points or outlined scenes.
Easy to download and install, give it a try the next time you get stuck. Let your mind develop different tree structures and see what develops for you.