I’ll never forget how Stephen King describes writing as being a little bit like psychic magic, in his book On Writing. He uses this description to explain the process of how an image from the writer’s brain is transferred directly to the readers via the medium of words.
However, for that magic to be possible, it is first necessary to get your ideas down on paper. Many writers find mind mapping to be an important part of that process. This Scapple review will help you explore if Scapple is the right solution for your mind mapping needs.
Read on to discover if Scapple is the right mind mapping solution for you or if there’s a better way to help make the magic of great writing happen.
What is Scapple?
Scapple is a simple tool dedicated to mind mapping and mind mapping alone. It doesn’t try to do too much, instead focusing on doing one thing well.
The basic concept behind Scapple is the ability to write your ideas down on its virtual sheet of paper and then draw connections between them. If you’ve ever created a paper mind map you’ll be familiar with the process. If not, imagine you want to write a book about motivation. You might write down ‘motivational tools’ and draw a bubble around it, and then write ‘exciting music’, draw a bubble around it, and connect it via a line to ‘motivational tools.' This establishes a connection between the two concepts.
Now that you know the basic idea behind Scapple, let’s explore the tool in further detail.
Features of Scapple
As well as allowing for the basic capturing of ideas and drawing connections between them, Scapple has a few other capabilities that might appeal to you. You can customize the size and appearance of the ideas you jot down. For example, if you are writing fiction, you might choose to make all the ideas related to your characters red, whereas ideas related to possible plot twists could be in green.
In addition to customizing the colors of your ideas, Scapple also allows you to use different shapes and sizes for the ideas you put down on paper. You can adjust the visual look of your mind map so it works well with the way your brain works and the way you categorize ideas. Scapple also allows you to stack and group related ideas together.
A lot of people prefer to have a hard copy version of their mind map. Scapple supports this by allowing you to print out your mind map and also export it. After you’ve printed out your mind map, there’s nothing to stop you working on it further with pen.
Perhaps the best feature of Scapple is its compatibility with Scrivener. If you use the popular specialist writing tool, you can import your Scapple mind maps directly into Scrivener.
This compatibility with Scrivener is probably the main reason for writers to take an interest in it.
Who created Scapple?
Scapple is created by Literature and Latte, the creators of popular writing software Scrivener. Scrivener has a reputation for being one of the most powerful writing tools on the market, and also offering excellent value due to being available as a one-off purchase rather than a subscription model.
It will be reassuring for many writers that Scapple is created by a company that truly care about books. There are a lot of different mind mapping tools out there, so being able to choose and support one that is linked to book creation is definitely a plus point.
Who is Scapple for?
Mind mapping is a key part of the book writing process as taught by Self Publishing School. Therefore, Scapple can be safely recommended to fiction and nonfiction authors alike.
However, you can use Scapple and its mind mapping capabilities for more than just the planning of your book itself. You could use a Scapple mind map to brainstorm the marketing plan for your book, or to come up with a series of books and the ways they will link to each other. The possibilities are endless.
Scapple Review – Pros and Cons
So you know what Scapple does, who created it, and who it is intended for. But what are its key advantages and disadvantages? What are the pros and cons that help you decide if Scapple is the right option for your next book brainstorm?
- Clear and simple mind mapping tool.
- Links with Scrivener.
- Available for mac and windows.
- Free trial that only deducts the days you use.
- Possible to do similar things with free tools; many people find good ol' pen and paper to be the best way.
- Of all the tools you could invest in, will this bring you the most value? Probably lower down the list than writing software or a premium grammar checker, like Pro Writing Aid or Grammarly.
- Separate licenses are needed to use on both mac and windows.
How much does Scapple cost?
As mind mapping tools tend to offer similar types of functionality, the cost of Scapple and what it offers in terms of a free trial are key considerations when deciding if it is the right option for you.
Scapple is available on both a free trial and a paid basis. Here’s what you need to know.
You can use Scapple on a free trial basis for 30 days. This is the famous Literature and Latte free trial model where you only lose a free day when you actually use the tool. For example, if you used Scapple on both weekend days but no other time during the week, your trial would only deplete two days rather than seven, as during the week the tool was not used.
The paid version of Scapple is available for both Mac and Windows and is offered with either a standard or educational license.
For both Mac and Windows users, a standard license to use Scapple will cost you $18. An educational license costs $14.40.
Scapple is yours after a one-off payment as there is no subscription or ongoing costs. Paid Scapple users are entitled to free updates and bug fixes of the tool.
What if you’re sold on the benefits of mind mapping, but aren’t sure if Scapple is the best tool to achieve it? What other options are out there for authors?
Perhaps the best option is to use simple pen and paper. This is often the easiest way to get your thoughts out. Experiment with creating both paper and digital mind maps and see which route allows your ideas to flow most freely. The downside to this is you can’t edit and alter your mind map with the same ease as you can when using a digital tool.
If you’re looking for a free digital alternative to Scapple, a tool as simple as Microsoft Paint allows you to write down ideas, draw shapes around them, alter the colors, and create lines and connections between ideas. A lot of people’s smartphone notes app will also allow for doodles and drawings, although the smaller screen size might be less than ideal.
You could also consider a different paid mind mapping software tool, but unless you find drastically better features or pricing, we would urge you to choose Scapple. Why? It’s good to support Literature and Latte as they truly serve the author community, and the option to import your mind maps into Scrivener is very worthwhile.
Scapple Review – Final Rating
Overall, we give Scapple 3.5 stars.
Scapple does what it sets out to do very well. However, due to its limited functionality, our preference for pen and paper mind maps, and the existence of free alternatives, we struggle to give it a higher rating.
A free trial never hurt anyone though, so why not give the Scapple trial a go? See if it helps your planning and mind mapping process.