Paper Vs Screen

When it comes to editing, which is easier to work on – your computer or printed paper? If I’m editing other people’s work, I always prefer paper as it allows you to doodle things in the margin, underline and change things easily. Then again, using ‘Track Changes’ on Word allows you to do exactly the same thing and is quicker to implement changes. All you need to do is click ‘accept’, rather than write it all up again. 

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The downside of this is that you might not think about what the editor is saying to you. It’s so easy to say ‘yes’ to changes that you may miss the fact that actually, not all the editor’s points are right for you. At the end of the day, they are an opinion. Even though I say to all writers that they must, must, MUST have at least one edit done, you should always take comments with a pinch of salt. Not necessarily the grammar and spelling corrections, as the OED will back them up no doubt, but definitely with structural changes. Remember, it is your novel and you can’t please everyone. 

When editing your own stuff (something I am smack bang in the middle of right now) it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve gone for an initial read-through on screen with post-it notes to aid a structural edit. When I was happy with the story, it was time to print it off and work from paper. It’s amazing how different my novel reads on paper than on screen. For one, I have realised that my chapters are waaaaay to short – something I couldn’t really tell on a screen. For another, my dialogue and descriptions are too flowery. Why didn’t I notice this before?! The attack of the red pen has rewritten scenes so they are more engaging and consistent, and it is almost reading like a kick-ass novel now. It is so easy to forget about the previous chapter once it disappears from your screen. On paper, it stays with you somehow. 

So there we go. I’m all about combining the two, apparently. I am sure I will live to regret this now I have three edited manuscripts to type up. Daunting! Hopefully I’ll get this thing finished at some point. Damn, that’s an exciting thought 🙂 For now though, time to crack on changing red pen to typed words. 

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