That’s right there’s an exclamation mark in my blog title, so get excited because I’m going to introduce you to the Word Document Map. I should also apologise in advance for the quality of the screen shots, they just don't want to play nice in blogger.
I came across this a few days ago thanks to the award winning Desire goddess who is Paula Roe but I only reconfigured my WIP last night and wow to the insight it gives you. Basically the document map provides you with a list of headings (see screen shot below) that you can skip between with the click of a button. That’s right no more scrolling and searching!
What I’ve done is given headings to both the chapters but also all the important scenes and conflicts so I can now get a whole summary of my plot with a flick of my eyes. The doc map can also give you an insight into POV ratios, just add a note of whose POV each scene is in and you can monitor the balance between your characters, which is especially great for lines that are specific about hero/heroine POV ratios.
Here’s a close up which may not make a whole lot of sense since I’ve added in notes along with chapter but you’ll get the idea:
This really is a great tool for anyone who has trouble keeping their plots straight and since life’s a little crazy and I’m having trouble remembering my own name I definitely fall under that category. Just by setting up the doc map I’ve identified two more essential scenes.
Now I have Windows 7 because I blew up my computer so any instructions I give you below relate to that version, but if you’re on an earlier version head over to Paula’s site here and while you’re there check out her other articles for writers here.
Before I begin a step by step guide I should point out that although I chose to include chapters in my document map it isn’t necessary. Paula lists only the scenes which makes for a cleaner map. If you wish to do this too ignore step 4 and in step 2 you will be adjusting the heading to suit your scene headings which may be different to your chapter headings (that last sentence probably doesn’t make sense now but it will).