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I stumbled across Milanote through one of their Facebook posts advertising and extolling the virtues of this software gadgetry for creative brainstorming and organizing and decided to check it out. I'm glad that I did.

I have since used it for all sorts of stuff – from organizing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign (yup), laying out acts and characters in a novel I am racing to finish before the end of the year, organizing a screenplay that I've been stuck in the mud on for years (out of the mud now), to part of a successful client pitch for a cine-scale advertising campaign.

Here's a look at how I have it set up for my military sci-fi novel “ChinaPac Wars”:

Novel layout

The Milanote novel plan layout was one of several dozen templates (with an option to keep the content as a stub for reference – which helps when you are new to it) that I found available to assist me in creative planning and ideation.

The templates run the gamut from:

  • photoshoot plans,
  • storyboards,
  • ad briefs (these are pretty lightweight – I'd love to see a series of scalar briefs – one for a full brand campaign like when you are trying to win an account, to a product launch, and even a promotional single ad)
  • game design
    • character layout
    • level design
    • game flow
    • mechanics
  • management and strategy
    • hiring
    • stakeholder mapping
    • strategic planning
    • target audience
    • buyer persona maps
  • podcasting 
    • episode planning
    • scripting
    • scheduling
  • startups 
    • hub
    • lean canvas
    • launch plan
    • funding tracker
  • UI/UX design
    • experience maps
    • usability testing plans
    • content planning
  • writing
    • novel outline
    • story plan
    • world building
    • character relationship maps

… and so much more.

All of these maps and hubs and plans can be saved, then shared to whoever you so choose – without limit. Great for if you are planning to teach a visually oriented course (like cinematic lighting for beginners) or want to reach a conference with your visual information and step out of the bounds of Power Point/Keynote world. Sharing is caring.

One thing that I really like is the “hub” modeling that Milanote seems to excel at. I can organize all of my thoughts and data about a certain thing on a board – and cross-link to embed it in another board. For example, I have a character within the novel timeline that I have a lot to keep track of. I have an icon on the timeline that refers to a moment in time – and that card holds the information (mostly in pictures and other media) that cues me as to the state of that character at that moment of the story. I find myself bouncing into Milanote several times an hour to check in with where I should be with the character at that point in the story – and it genuinely helps with creating the kind of story I want to deliver.

I highly encourage you to check out Milanote and give it a go – and if you use this code here:

I'll get more free uses of it! It's free to use up to a certain number of cards (with unlimited sharing), and then there is a cost per month unlimited plan (currently $9.99/mo) and a “business team” plan (starting at $49/mo for 10 people or $99/mo for 50 people – billed annually). I like the “spread the word, we'll let you keep using it free” model so far. Check it out and let me know what you would like to see added to MILANOTE. 


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