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View Full Version : How Do You Edit? Longhand or Computer


joyce
02-22-2008, 10:47 PM
As I was editing the last couple of chapters in my novel, I was wondering about this. I've edited 2/3 of the novel by printing out each chapter and going over it with a pen. This can take some time since I find myself re-writing whole paragraphs and such. Then I decided to try and edit a couple of chapters on the computer and not print them out. I noticed that it seems to be a quicker process, but I don't seem to be editing as much crap in or out. Perhaps I should stick to the old pen. I was wondering which style of editing do you find works best for you.

Windsong
02-22-2008, 10:52 PM
I have the same problems with both. That said, I do both.

Charlie Horse
02-22-2008, 10:53 PM
Second draft on the computer monitor. Third draft with a pen on paper. Fourth draft, by reading aloud. Fifth draft, stick it in a drawer and let your kids do it after your dead.

slcboston
02-22-2008, 11:02 PM
I used to edit all my papers longhand, just because I preferred the tactile sensations that went with it. Plus I tended to read more carefully. Anymore, though, I've done so much editing on the screen I'm not sure I'd bother wasting the paper to do it longhand.

donroc
02-22-2008, 11:02 PM
Both.

SmartAsh
02-22-2008, 11:06 PM
Both. I simply can't catch all the little things when reading it on the computer. However, it's too time consuming to do every edit by hand.

ishtar'sgate
02-22-2008, 11:12 PM
I do both. I print a hard copy of my novel as I go along and do a daily edit with a pen. Once I've completed a chapter, I revise my flash plug copy and make a fresh hard copy of the chapter. I do this all the way along until I'm finished. I put the whole thing aside for a few months, make revisions and edits on my manuscript hard copy then do the rest of my revisions on screen, committing it to the flash drive every day. All of my really big cuts and alterations are done on my hard copy. Only the small changes are done on screen. For some reason I can see what needs work better when it's on a piece of paper in front of me.
Linnea

bubbagringo
02-22-2008, 11:12 PM
both

computer for the first drafts...paper and red pen for what I always think is the final draft

WendyNYC
02-22-2008, 11:15 PM
Both. I wish I could do a better job editing at the computer, but I just...can't.

joyce
02-22-2008, 11:31 PM
Thanks everyone. I wish I could feel I'm doing as good of a job on the computer, but I feel I don't see everything. I figured I'd do this experiment with the last couple of chapters so I'd know where the longhand editing left off and the computer editing began. Once I set it aside for a couple of weeks I'll surely know how sucky they really are. :)

kellytijer
02-22-2008, 11:33 PM
I print it out to edit, for some reason I catch more mistakes that way. My eyes are blinded to errors when I'm staring at the computer screen. I wonder why that is?

BlueTexas
02-22-2008, 11:42 PM
I print it out to edit, for some reason I catch more mistakes that way. My eyes are blinded to errors when I'm staring at the computer screen. I wonder why that is?

Ditto.

I read much more carefully on paper for some reason.

Jersey Chick
02-22-2008, 11:59 PM
I print out each chapter as I finish it and edit by hand for the first draft. Then I put the changes in the computer, print out each chapter and set it aside. When I finish the second draft, I read through the hard copy and edit with a red pen. I end up making notes as well as changes and I catch a lot more errors that way. I do the entire manuscript, put the changes into the computer, and start all over. I can't edit on a computer screen, even with the comments feature on. I miss too much that way.

auntybug
02-23-2008, 12:08 AM
I print it out to edit, for some reason I catch more mistakes that way. My eyes are blinded to errors when I'm staring at the computer screen. I wonder why that is?

Same here. I think its done after a few checks on the computer and print it out & read it again. I catch way more that way....and then again on the 2nd try...%$#! I'll plant trees to make up for the ones I'm killing...

DeleyanLee
02-23-2008, 12:11 AM
I print it out if I'm going to edit it for a combination of reasons.

1. It's another way to change hats between creation and editing.
2. I hate the comments feature in Word and I love writing things like "What were you smoking?!?" and "LOVE THIS!" as I'm doing the first read-through.
3. My eyes just can't take that kind of intense staring at the computer screen.

stormie
02-23-2008, 12:12 AM
I have the same problems with both. That said, I do both.
Yep, same here.

I print it out to edit, for some reason I catch more mistakes that way. My eyes are blinded to errors when I'm staring at the computer screen. I wonder why that is?
Yep, same here.

(Wow, I sure contributed to this thread!)

jannawrites
02-23-2008, 02:58 AM
Primarily by computer. My longhand gets sloppy, because I don't have the patience to make it any clearer. And my hand always starts to cramp. I think, though, once I'm totally done with the WIP, once I've done all I can on the computer, I'll make a print-out to look over. My eyes always catch more when it's a copy in front of me.

KarlaErikaCal
02-23-2008, 03:08 AM
I print it out to edit, for some reason I catch more mistakes that way. My eyes are blinded to errors when I'm staring at the computer screen. I wonder why that is?

I think it's because we're staring at the computer for such a long time, that our eyes get tired and can't focus in on the errors. That's the way it is for me, at least. I always edited on the computer, and once I printed it out I caught mistake after mistake. I still prefer doing edits on the computer, but I end up forcing myself to print it out. It's worth those tiny errors that you miss on the computer screen.

otterman
02-23-2008, 03:09 AM
Has to be on a hard copy. I always like to read drafts on paper and edit that way (writing above/below lines, in the margins or on the back of the previous page). It just works better for me. I tend not to lose my place or train of thought when I'm making changes longhand, on the computer I end up doing things over and over without getting anywhere.

KikiteNeko
02-23-2008, 03:35 AM
I do both. I edit as I go in Word, and then I like to print it all out, get comfy with a pen, and edit by hand. You'd be surprised how different the reading can be when it's on paper, not the screen you've been staring at.

Hummingbird
02-23-2008, 03:45 AM
I also do both. ^_^ It just feels different when you print it off and have it sitting in your hands. Because it doesn't look the same I'm able to pull myself away from it easier and edit.

Danger Jane
02-23-2008, 03:54 AM
I prefer editing longhand, even though I prefer writing on the computer. It's much easier for me to see it in a new format and for some reason, less daunting when I can rewrite a sentence and just type it in later.

TheIT
02-23-2008, 04:01 AM
I'm just beginning to edit my first draft, and I'm finding working from a printout makes it much easier for me to spot problems. Plus I get to play with my colored pens and highlighters while I'm busy ripping the wording apart. :D

I've also been using colored paper clips to mark the beginnings of scenes with different colors to indicate the POV characters. The other nice thing about working from hardcopy is that I can flip back and forth from one section to another much more easily than on the computer screen.

Jersey Chick
02-23-2008, 04:07 AM
I'm an arrow-er. When I add in scenes, I tend to scribble all over the back of the pages and there are a zillion arrows going here and there (especially when I'm rewriting scenes). It's a wonder I can follow my own notes between the arrows and the serial-killer handwriting. :D

scribbler1382
02-23-2008, 04:10 AM
There's an old saying (well, it's old to me, anyways) that goes something like "write with fire, edit with ice". This has several meanings, but I think one of them refers to speed. This is one of the reasons I don't write first drafts with pen and paper. I can't keep up with the "fire" without a keyboard. But it's also why I print out work for editing. To slow it down. To be more analytical and deliberate. There are things you catch on the printed page that you simply can't see on screen.

Sage
02-23-2008, 04:13 AM
I'm better at editing, especially tightening, when I've printed it out and taken a pen to it.

joyce
02-23-2008, 06:28 AM
Thanks again everyone for sharing. I did three chapters on the computer and printed out two more this afternoon. I was so surprised at how much I saw that needed changing once it was printed and in front of me. I plan on looking at the three chapters I did on the computer in a day or two. I'm positive I'm going to find a bunch of crap I should have edited out. For me, I'm finding it's ok to do quick edits on the computer, but anything final should be done in longhand.

GeorgieB
02-23-2008, 08:14 PM
I also do both. In fact, I bought a laser printer (B&W) so that I could print out the manuscript fast.

I read whatever I wrote the day before, make as many corrections as possible and then go on writing. When it's time to edit, I print it out and use a red pen to make corrections, additions, etc. Then it's back to the computer to input the changes.


Somewhere along the line, when I think a scene or chapter is complete, I set up my computer to read it back to me. I have a program where I can change the read-back pace, make more corrections, then input those. I'm always surprised at the number of errors I can find that way.

I then shred the printout. I don't want anyone to find and read the stuff...it would be too embarassing.

Diane
02-24-2008, 12:07 AM
I edited my novel several times on-screen, and then finally printed it out on paper. Whereupon I discovered that gremlins living in the wire connecting my computer to the printer had added in tons of errors I'd never seen on-screen.

Even weirder, when I began reading my text out loud, I discovered that all of my brilliant prose had been replaced by pedestrian, often nonsensical sentences. READ IT OUT LOUD. You will notice repetitions that multiple paper readers will not catch. You will notice bad constructs. You will notice you have a character walking upstairs shortly after having sat down at the table.

stormie
02-24-2008, 01:03 AM
Even weirder, when I began reading my text out loud, I discovered that all of my brilliant prose had been replaced by pedestrian, often nonsensical sentences. READ IT OUT LOUD. You will notice repetitions that multiple paper readers will not catch. You will notice bad constructs. You will notice you have a character walking upstairs shortly after having sat down at the table.
Yes, you can pick up quite few errors from reading it out loud. And I do have to add, I pick up more errors from the hard copy than from the computer screen.

She Raven
02-24-2008, 05:51 AM
Hi
I edit most of mine on the computer, unless I am having issue with certain chapters. I always print the entire manuscript when done to review. I will sometimes write an idea or correction in a different color so when I go back over through it's easy to find.

WistfulWriter7
02-24-2008, 08:27 AM
For me, I have to print it out if I want the edit to be good. I am probably one of the worst people at grammar and spelling...somehow it looks right on the screen. My best advice is stick to pen and paper, but that might just be me. Good luck!