Just in case there’s anyone else out there who hasn’t figured this trick out yet, let’s talk “find” in Word. Of course, I’ve used this tool for years to make sure I’ve spelled names consistently and to track down those pet words that worm their way into each manuscript (if I had a penny for all the “justs” I’ve excised, I could just about buy a ticket to Paris!).
I was driving myself crazy with the latest WIP, trying to keep track of my main character’s correspondence with her off-in-the-Navy brother, making sure I’d kept that thread pulled taut throughout and hadn’t dropped it anywhere (I think my metaphor is falling apart here; that’s a topic for another post).
letters to and from home
My head was spinning and no amount of caffeine seemed to help. Then it occurred to me to use the “find” tool to search for the brother’s name. (Winston’s trying to take credit for this breakthrough but it was all my idea). Yes, the process was a bit tedious but within 20 minutes or so, I had graphed out the frequency of letters to and fro and was shocked to realize I had three major gaps.
So today was spent darning those holes.
Let me know if this helps you and if you have other, equally helpful, uses for such word processing tools.