What does that word mean? Think of it as a combination of "scrap" -- "scalpel" (cutting edge) --"scaffold" -- "scramble" -- "scrabble" -- in short a new word to describe that piece of paper on which you doodle until ideas start to flow and make sense. You know the one -- the piece of paper that fills up before you have all your plot elements down? The one you spilled coffee on, just when you knew what you were going to write about? The one that made perfect sense in the middle of the night but is unreadable in the morning?
Well, you can put those so-called idea-scraps in the nearest trash bin. Now, if you have a MAC running Snow Leopard or above and Intel, you can use Scapple, a never-ending, infinitely-expandable piece of paper for your computer. And your random thoughts can end up looking like this:
Scapple is not-really mind-mapping software; it's more like freeform virtual paper. It's proof that your random thoughts really do have a pattern or organization behind them. You can start anywhere on the sheet and branch out in any direction. You can include totally unrelated notes, connect ideas in any direction, group items together, move any one note (or any number) from one place to another. You can apply colors, borders, and shapes if you want them. And when you are all though, you can print out your diagram, or save it in PDF, or drag and drop it into Scrivener. How cool is that!
I've been using it to map out my main story line and its sub-plots for my next novel. I've been using clusters of notes for each chapter, and then moving them over to Scrivener for reference. And when I've completed a draft of a whole chapter, I can drag the new Scrivener note card from the corkboard view back into Scapple, so that it shows up as a completed chapter. Here's a small clip that shows some completed chapters in pink, the next chapters as topics in green, and related plain notes for each chapter.
I was a beta tester for this new application, so I'm probably biased. However, I'm loving it for the way it keeps me on track. Apologies to those of you using Windows. I suspect a form you can use will appear in due course, since you now can get Scrivener (they're made by the same company), but this is so new that it likely will not appear for a while.
In the meantime, if you have the right hardware, this is software you cannot afford to ignore. It only costs $14.99, and you can get a 30-day free trial if you like . Order it at http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scapple.php#wrapper-content