I tested out both The Brain and FreeMind last weekend and I’m still trying to brainstorm up more ways to use the software. The Brain is shown above with all my stuff in it. I like the expanded view (shown) the best because it looks like some kind of biological chaos. I also really like the ability to link ‘thoughts’ to documents or web pages and then link them together regardless of their hierarchy. Instead of a standard tree branch formation you can actually have crossing branches. This would have come in handy when I was researching genealogy (for an unnamed family) and got stuck with that one generation with marriages between two couples of first cousins. Ok, yeah, it was my family. But it was so long ago I doubt it has any bearing on my mental capacities. I really like The Brain for file and project management.
FreeMind is a little different and a lot less chaotic looking. It is more of a standard tree branch set up. I’ve used it hear to get a visual representation of my characters. What you don’t see in this snapshot is that each little circle at the end of a line either expands to more tree branches or (in the case of names) expands to a full character description/bio and picture. The arrows show cross-overs of characters between story-lines. I’m currently using FreeMind to mock up my next choose-your-own adventure story. So I recommend both.