Michael Dillon Scott is the author of over 100 books, including the recently completed six-volume series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. I was lucky enough to land a chat with him when he swung by the Mindjet office to talk about mind mapping story plots, and man, that guy is cool.
This little list doesn’t even come close to doing him justice but, if you’re a writer, a fan, or interested in the different ways visualization can help your own process, I think you’ll appreciate it.
- Scott’s stories are adventurous, imaginative and extremely well researched. I’m midway through The Alchemyst and so far every character (with the exception of a set of twins) is an actual character from either history or mythology. That takes an impressive amount of planning and dedication.
- His writing process will make you feel less insecure about your own writing process. In addition to a couple visual cues, tricks include: writing in the dark, listening to music that is of a similar mood to what’s being written, noise-canceling headphones, reading what you’ve written aloud, and physically pulling the ethernet cable out of your computer (no Internet!).
- He is delightfully humble. When I asked about his favorite authors he said, “China Miéville is beyond brilliant. His writing is so good it will depress you– because you know you’ll never be that good.”
- He attributes his prolific output to the early adoption of technology, which was no doubt inspired by inherent instincts. “When I was going to school and writing papers, I would be doodling what I now recognize as mind maps. I would put my main idea in the middle and have little idea branches shooting off like spokes on a wheel or like petals on a flower. I love the shape of it– I love the circular shape, because for me stories are always circular.”
- He really understands the importance of connection, and what it means in this day and age–especially for business. “Social media is important now. I love to do it. It eats up a huge chunk of my time, but I always say a book is nothing more than dead words on a page, and it’s the readers who bring them alive. Connecting with the readers is certainly making me a better writer, and a more conscious writer.”
I walked away from our little conversation feeling re-inspired and reminded that being a writer, as he says, really is “the best job in the world.” Thanks, Michael! You’re a gem.