Tag Archives: document map

How to Keep Track of all that Action

I write romantic suspense, which means I have (at least) two plots running simultaneously through my books.  Since I love to torture my characters by throwing them into dangerous situations, that ‘s a lot of action to track in an 80,000 word document.  Scrolling through 350 pages of text to find a specific paragraph can be frustrating.  And printing out all those pages for edits?   Too overwhelming for me.  I do all my revision on screen.  I never print anything.

I use the Document Map feature of Microsoft Word (2007 version and previous).  The document map is a separate window that can stay open on the left of the screen while I work on my manuscript.  It lists all headers in the document. A click on a header in the document map takes you to the corresponding section of the main document.  I format chapters as HEADER 1.  Scenes within each chapter (sub-headers) are formatted as HEADER 2.  To stay organized, I list abbreviated plot points and point of view for each scene.  Also, I format the sub-headers as hidden text, I can show or not show them through the tools/options menu.

So, on the left of my open document, I have an outline of my entire book as I write it.  An outline which can be printed if I ask Word to generate a “table of contents.”  Not only does this make editing easier, but writing the synopsis is easier with an outline of all the plot points at my fingertips.

Does anyone have the 2010 version of Word?  Does anyone have any other way to keep a mega document organized?