One of the best tricks I’ve learned to help keep my writing organized is the document map in Word.
If you aren’t familiar with the document map, it’s worth learning how to use it. This is a great tool to help you move easily through a manuscript and head right for the chapter or section you want, without scrolling through hundreds of pages. Open it now by clicking ‘View’ and ‘Document Map’ in Word.
Each chapter or section comprises its own heading style, which appears on the map. You can also create subsections. There are default formats, but you can easily modify each style. It takes a bit of practice to become proficient but you’ll get the hang of it.
For examples, my map first looks like this:
1 Song of the Sigue
2 To Life the Veil between Worlds
As I progress, I use the map to note plot points and scene notes.
(Eden state) 1 Song of the Sigue
(S meets R) 2 To Life the Veil between Worlds
When completing the last draft of a revision, I mark each chapter so I know I’ve tied up all my loose ends and don’t need to revisit it. Looking at that row of Xs gives me a sense of completion.
X 1 Song of the Sigue
X 2 To Life the Veil between Worlds
I also click on the chapter heading of a title to page up and check how the ending of the previous chapter leads into the next, or to quickly access notes, or my character list. You’ll devise your own helpful routine. The possibilities are endless!
Helpful how-to links:
Kirsten Imani Kasai