Scrivener is good, I use Microsoft Word and I know many of you also use Word. So I thought I’d write a post with some tips and tricks that might help you with your manuscripts.
This control is switched on by default. If a paragraph is at the bottom of the page and runs on to the next page, this control will push the lines over to the next page rather than split the paragraph over the pages. This needs to be turned off so that every page has the same number of lines. To switch it off go to Format/Paragraph/click the Line and Page Breaks tab/ uncheck the widow/orphan control box. (if you’ve already started the document, make sure you highlight all--Ctrl A--before you uncheck the box).
Our manuscripts can get long and clunky in terms of manoeuvrability. While editing we may want to jump from chapter 7 to chapter 28. Or we might want to make a note to ourselves which is easy to click to. The best way to do this is use a bookmark. Go to Insert/Bookmark/type in a one word label/ click add. I put in bookmarks for every chapter, labelling them as ch2 and so forth. I also make notes to myself such as fix_dialogue or mark in key points in the book.
Another neat trick is to use font styles. You can set up styles for your headings so when you scroll through your manuscript a floating box will pop up and show not only your page number (if you’ve set it up), but also the chapter you are scrolling through. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it does help. Also, if you make any changes to the style, it will automatically change all instances of that style in your document. To make a new style you can go to Format/Styles and Formatting/and click New Style button. The rest is self explanatory.
This is particularly handy to have for critiquing another’s work. You can insert comments into a document and they sit in the right margin, easy to spot. Highlight or click on a section you wish to comment on and go to Insert/Comment/ and start typing your comment.
This is more of a formatting tip than a Word tip, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway: Even though printed novels are centrally justified, your manuscript should be justified to the left. It is far easier for editors and agents to read this way. If you can't find the buttons, you can find it by going to format/paragraph/ and clicking left in the alignment drop down menu.
What other helpful tricks do you know in Word? What’s your program of choice for writing?