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Brainstorming Technique - Sweet Spot Map


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#1 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4812

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:07 AM

You all may have heard of Holly Lisle, she has been one of the major people putting out new how-to-write-fiction lessons and classes over the past few years.  Her notecard plotting method is fairly well known.  The new one that particularly caught my interest was How To Think Sideways Lesson #2: How To Discover Your Writing Sweet Spot.  Mrs. Lisle doesn't want the details of her lessons explained to people who haven't purchased them, which is reasonable, especially since this lesson is like $5.  But I think I can share the "Sweet Spot Map" I came up with after doing the exercise, because it doesn't give away details of how the exercise is done.  So here, take a look: http://home.comcast.net/~wickeddelight/SunandshadowSweetSpotMap.jpg

 

That is a concept cluster map, or mind map, or whatever you want to call it, of topics that crop up in my story ideas and related places.  As such it's related to the thread I posted a few weeks ago about the book Blueprint Your Blockbuster, which is about identifying themes across a manuscript/script, and I adapted to identify themes across all my stuff.  That was a high level chronological pattern (chronology from beginning to end of a story, not of my writing history).  This is a more detailed achronological pattern.  A sweet spot map basically describes what a writer finds interesting (and can be expanded and updated basically forever).  The map can be used to generate new story ideas or to try to fill a hole in an existing idea, or to figure out how an element that appeared surprisingly in your story is related to other elements in the story.

 

I think a game designer could use this idea to map out the game design ideas they like too. smile.png

 

Thoughts?


Edited by sunandshadow, 04 April 2013 - 01:34 AM.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


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#2 tonemgub   Members   -  Reputation: 834

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:03 AM

Hi, a bit off topic but, which program did you use o create this mindmap?

 

I'm developing an intuitive mindmapping app and your answer would really help me. =)


Edited by tonemgub, 07 April 2013 - 07:10 AM.


#3 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4812

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:23 AM

Cayra. In my opinion it is the prettiest free mindmapping software, but it has several usability problems. It seems to have a memory leak, so it gets slower and slower as you use it unless you close and re-open it. It doesn't remember custom colors properly and the background color can't be changed. Nodes can't get bigger and line-wrap to hold sentences. There are no node options besides oval and no arrow options aside from going from one node to the other. Also it remembers the positioning of the nodes but not the curviness of the arrows, and you can't adjust the arrows by hand; thus each time I re-opened it I wasted some time yanking everything around to be positioned nicely enough to export as an image. I also wish it used png and/or svg instead of jpg.

Edited by sunandshadow, 07 April 2013 - 08:26 AM.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#4 LancerSolurus   Members   -  Reputation: 575

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:18 PM

Actually this is exactly how I map out ideas for my game engine. I also use it for building the basic documentation for the command list (I use a data driven setup). I do like the way the graphics are laid out, haven't seen that in any other mind mapping software. To bad it has too many flaws, otherwise I would try it out. ATM using Freeplane which supports scripting, making it easy to build plugins to export the nodes directly to my scripting language which is text based.

 

On your topic, yes, I agree that would help with visualizing the layout of your stories, It also makes it easy to see what areas that could be easy to expand upon.


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#5 RiedelK   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 03:48 PM

My first thought is that it seems a bit messy and chaotic, much like the mind of some of us. If I were to use this type of mapping I think that chunking out each section (colour) and put more space between them would help bring some structure and a better overview to it. Other than that I guess it is as useful as any other technique. Usually "whatever floats your boat" is the best way to go since we all think in different ways and relate to different things.


- The key to any great idea is to keep it simple. -


#6 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4812

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:52 PM

It's true that it's messy and chaotic.  I was experimenting with how to lay the areas out and this was the "good enough" version, not an "as good as possible" version.  But the discovery of connections between mostly-unrelated terms is one of the specific things the lesson (or maybe the following lesson, I forget) suggests that you look for to spark story ideas.  For example, I was surprised that "mate selection" turned out to be closely connected to "shopping" and "gambling".  I've never written a story from the POV of a gambler, though I've read some interesting ones.  None of those had the gambler bringing that perspective to shopping for prospective other parents for their future children.  So there's a pretty original story idea that also feels very natural to me because it is related to things I've written.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#7 RiedelK   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 12:24 PM

Yes, that seems right. I also think that this type of relating to things while inventing the story makes it more believable since it is a natural path that comes to mind in your head. Therefore you can also easily pick a sidestory or use irrelevant information that feed the text with a more human touch rather than being "just a story". You got some material to use to fill up gaps and/or humoristic sidetracks of the characters, perhaps even make them relate to these things you relate the topic to. That if anything, should make them more believable as breathing, living, humanoids.


- The key to any great idea is to keep it simple. -





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