Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Outlining with the Document Map



Following an outline is like following a path with twists and turns to the end of a story. Most of my outlines were done with pencil and paper first, then typed in boxes on the computer, printed out, and bound in a three ring binder. As I worked my way through the story, I flipped pages in the binder, making notes. It worked for me but it was also time consuming.

I've been using Word for years and had no idea how to use the document map or why I would want to. Then on Verla Kay, Helene Boudreau, discussed using it to outline her novels. She also gave a snap of what it looks like. I decided to give it a try so I pulled out an old manuscript that needed a lot of revision. I figured if I messed it up, I wouldn't be that upset. After hours of "playing" with this feature, I finally made it work. What a difference!

It lets me move from one chapter to the other with one click. I can make little notes so I know with a quick look where a certain plot point or character first appears. I had no idea this little feature could be such a treasure!

The idea of using it to outline my new project is exciting.  Thank you, Helene Boudreau!

Here's the link to her blog where she explains using the Document Map:

http://www.heleneboudreau.com/?p=533

8 comments:

  1. Cool. I'll have to try it out as I'm close to outlining a new project. Thanks!

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  2. So far I like it, but it took some getting used to. Thanks for stopping by, Laura.

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  3. catherine, I hoped over from another site. I'm always amazed how right when we need something, the universe provides. I'm working on my second book, no formal outline and am running into pitfalls all over the place. So thanks for the hint. Heading over. One more hop!

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  4. I hope it works for you, I'm really getting the hang of it. Thanks for "hopping" over and following, I really appreciate it!

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  5. That sounds really useful. I've played around with various "systems", but still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks for the link to Helene's site... I'm heading over to check it out.

    Ruth Donnelly : : Readatouille

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  6. Ruth, I hope you enjoy trying it out. I like it but it took some getting used to. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  7. How eerie, I was thinking of a better way to arrange my WIP book and found your post! I had made separate files for every three chapters. Okay, but not convenient when trying to revise. I saw Helene's post on the blueboards, but forgot about it. Thanks for posting (and reminding me!)

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