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Tip Tuesday #88

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today I have a fantastic tip from Jenna Wallace who blogs at Writing in the Dreamstate. She has a really interesting post up right now called, "How Many Queries Does It Take? -The Sequel" with an average based on QueryTracker stats. But before you run off to check it out, here's her tip!

Want to see at a glance how conflict and tension build through your manuscript?

Use Text Highlighting in Word to do this.

· Assign each conflict thread (internal, external, and relationships) a different Text Highlight color.

· Go through your manuscript and highlight each scene of conflict in the appropriate color.

· Use Save As to save this document with a different filename.

· Zoom out to 10 or 20% view so you can see multiple chapters at one time.

· Start at the beginning and look to see if there is a good balance of conflict threads.

· Look for chapters that have little to no highlighting – these may be lulls in the tension. Make note of the chapter/page number so you can address it in your working document.

I’ve just done a post on this, complete with screen captures, if you want to see examples:





  1. ooh, I love this idea of seeing your tension map. I'll have to try it.

  2. Great tip Jenna. It'd be a great way to see where you have those sagging middles. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Great tip - I've thought of doing that with an outline, but here you really get the whole sense of proportion in a glance.

  4. Thanks for the link Casey! And I hope everyone finds it useful!

  5. What great advice! Zooming out is always fun, no matter what you're doing.

  6. I've actually done this! And it works, especially when you zoom way out and can see the colors. Great tip!

  7. Great idea. I will save this one, Thank you. Now let's talk about "said" what's your take? http://tinyurl.com/6l9rfea
    I think I will also use this tric to show how many times I used said and howw many times I used a substitute.

  8. What a neat idea, Jenna. I haven't tried this before. I will have to give it a go once I'm ready. ;D

  9. *rushes out to purchase shares in companies that produce highlighters* :D

  10. Wow! This is a great idea!!! Thanks, Jenna. :-)

  11. This is a great tip! And it makes so much sense.

    I also appreciate the reminder that zooming way out is an option, so we can see a lot of the manuscript at once. It's a super alternative to printing the whole thing out and spreading it out all over the floor. ;-) Thanks!

  12. These are all excellent tips! I'm bookmarking. :-)

  13. Oooh, that is a good idea.

  14. That's an excellent tip. Thanks,Jenna.

    Hey, Casey and Natalie. You guys are doing such a great job with the blog. Sorry I haven't been around to comment lately. I'll try to stop slacking off in the future. :)

  15. I am a very visual person so this is a perfect tool for me. Thanks!!