Mind Mapping - how not to do it

We had a little flash fiction competition at the Write Point the other day. The story had to contain trains or a train station. I didn’t have any great ideas right away, so I decided to try mind mapping. That’s a technique where you draw a diagram around the central concept and then add all the words you can think of that are related to that concept.  So I wrote ‘train station’ and drew a circle around it and then added bubbles joined to it with various train station-related concepts like:



Rush hour




Steep escalators


Strangers meeting

Lovers parting


And more in that vein…


‘Lovers parting,’  I thought. ‘This could be quite romantic.’


And then I wrote:

“The 8.05 am train still had the sticky residue of its last victim plastered across the floor of the front carriage as it pulled into the station, precisely on time.”


This had absolutely nothing to do with any of the mind map words I’d come up with. Maybe I’m not doing this right. Or maybe it works quite well as a sort of brain loosening exercise. Anyway, full story here.