Corona Typewriter

Sometimes new writers try writing a book by having different chapters in different entire DOC files. This gets incredibly confusing quickly, because it means you are always opening up different DOC files to get to different sections of the story. Also, if you want to move a section from one chapter to another, it means you’re copying and pasting material between different physical files. Even doing simple things like continuity checks for names and places becomes really tricky.

Make it simple for yourself. Work in ONE FILE. Have all of the book’s content in that one file. Give it a meaningful name like Cinderella-b1.docx for version beta-1. When you make a bunch of changes to it, save a fresh version to be Cinderella-b2.docx. That way you have the old versions in case you need to go back to them, and it’s always clear where all your latest information is.

Here’s how it’s easy to navigate that document.

First, start each new section on a new page. Type something meaningful at the top of that page. Maybe it’s “Junior High Dance”. Just something to help you remember what this section is about.

In Word (or your equivalent), highlight those words. Go to your STYLE section and choose “Heading 1” if this is a main-level section. If it’s a sub-section, choose “Heading 2”. Your chosen text should now change size and font to match that chosen style. I’ll explain later how to change the look and feel. For now, all that matters is that the words are tagged with that style.

Here’s how I did that for this very section in my book.

Now, you want to turn on your navigation pane. The navigation pane lets you easily see all the sections in your book and rearrange them. To turn on the navigation pane, click on ‘View’. One of your options to check-on, in the Ruler and Gridlines area, is the Navigation pane.

Now every phrase you have tagged as a Heading 1 or Heading 2 will show up in a nicely organized list down your left-hand side, like this:

You can now easily hop from section to section just by clicking on the section you wish to read. Also, you can easily rearrange sections. Just drag sections in that left-hand list and they will move wherever you drag them to. It makes organizing a document, and moving around in it, very easy.

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