Saturday, September 18, 2010

Editing: Paper vs. Computer

Editing is an important part of the writing process. A huge, time consuming part. I might spend two or three months writing, but I've spent four months revising and editing so far, and I've still got at least a month left to go. Part of it is that you only write the story once. You edit it a lot more than once.

Or least I do.

The question of whether to edit on the computer or on paper is one I think about a lot. I'm an old hand at writing, but when it comes time to figure out how to go about things after the book is written, that I'm still working on learning. I've done two revisions of this book now, one on paper, one on computer. Here's what I noticed about each.

Computer: It's easier to cut and rearrange things. If there's restructuring that needs to be done, doing it on the computer is much faster (for me) than slogging through paper, flipping through makes making notes all over the place about what should go where when it comes time to put everything back in the computer.

Paper: Grammar and punctuation errors are easier to spot. I've no idea why, but this is the case for me. I might catch some things on the computer, but I always see more on paper.

Computer: Outlining. Not something I do pre-writing, but after I have a first draft, it's good to have a road map to scribble notes and plans on. Scrivener makes outlining really super easy, and it takes 10 seconds to write a short little synopsis for each chapter after I finish writing it. There's currently no easy way to print out the short synopsis, but that's all right. Cut and paste into a word document works well enough.

Paper: Reading like a reader. There's just something about having a paper copy that puts my mind in a different state from when I'm working on the computer. Sentence structure, flow. A lot of little things that make a big difference are just easier to spot with a hard copy. It comes from years and years of reading hundreds of books. Reading is different than writing, and that hard copy flicks a switch in the brain so that I see the words on the page differently.

(Weird, I know. I'm just telling it like I see it. It might not be true for everyone.)

In the end, I end up doing revisions and editing on both the computer and on paper.

What do you prefer to use when you're editing and/or revising? Paper, computer, or a combination of both?

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I just found your blog and i love it! XD To answer your question, i use a combination of both computer and paper. I first edit on paper then I re-edit on the computer then revise on paper then re-revise on the computer and so on until i feel like puking my manuscript out of my nostrils.