One of the least pleasant tasks for most writers is editing. Once the story or novel is finished, authors are done with it. But editing a finished work is an important part of the process. It’s not enough to run a quick spell check, a manuscript takes careful and thoughtful consideration. One thing I do to help me with the editing process is to print out a copy and break out a trusty pen.
I know some people will be shocked by this. Yes, I understand the advantages of editing on a computer, and believe me, i do a lot of that as well, but there are specific reasons that I use the printed page as well.
The first reason is that I find more mistakes this way. The human brain is trained to process information in different ways. While I can correct the majority of my errors on the computer, there are some that slip by. The majority of the reading I do on the computer is scanning, and that is how I process information. Editing is not scanning. You need to look carefully and slowly. Paper helps accomplish this.
I also find that the story becomes more alive for me. I grew up with paper books, and while I love eBooks, the physical nature of the paper helps me to make the worlds I create more concrete, more real. I find that I can not only find basic grammar and spelling mistakes, but I can also find blocks of dead or dull writing, and make them stronger. There is an immersive quality to writing on paper that just doesn’t exist on the computer.
There is an environmental concern, yes. I try to purchase recycled paper, and it goes into the blue box. I also try to reuse pages, printing on the other side, or finding another use for the pages to help offset the expense, both financial and environmental.
So, when will you be able to see the fruits of this editing? Stay tuned for some announcements soon.
If you have any editing techniques that help you, feel free to share them in the comments.