Writers today have so many tools available to them. Here are just a few to consider.
· Word Comments - Use the Comments feature in Word. When doing your first draft, you can use these to leave yourself notes about areas that need to be researched or fleshed-out, research questions you have to answer, and anything else that comes to mind . . . but you don’t want to halt the flow of your writing at that particular time.
When you’re ready to revise, you can refer to these comments, or print them out.
· Running Outline - You might try writing your first draft by keep a running summary—an ongoing outline—of your story. Some authors find this a great tool to keep their story progress
· I suggest you copy and paste your first couple of paragraphs from each chapter, and the last couple. Then put a summary statement of the action at the top of each, in all caps.
· Spreadsheets or Tables
Some writers, almost always outline people, like to put their outlines in a spreadsheet or table. Then, using color coding and other markers, they can see the outline of their story, the characters involved, and a summary of the action, at a glance.
Yes, you’re still allowed to use paper. You can actually write things down with implements like pens and pencils and crayons. I know writers who like to lay out their stories on long rolls of butcher paper. They use different colored sticky notes and pens and make up a huge map. Then they roll this up and carry it around. (A couple of my writer friends actually use a map-carrying tube, with strap and all. Hey, whatever works, works.)
· Critique Groups
Many writers have benefited from critique groups, reader networks, and paid critiques. If you need that extra push, especially early in your career, a critique group can help. But make sure the following factors apply:
· Look for people you have a rapport with. Previous relationships help.
· Keep the group small. Four to seven, give or take.
· Give as much as you get. Make sure you give adequate time to everyone else.
· Establish realistic deadlines and stick to them.
· Make sure the people in the group understand the genre you’re
· writing in.