What I hate about pen and paper editing (as great as it is!)

Back to the standard of the old days! It has its perks, for sure. I'm just a bit too neurotic to be comfortable with the whole "mark now, fix later" concept

Back to the standard of the old days! It has its perks, for sure. I’m just a bit too neurotic to be comfortable with the whole “mark now, fix later” concept

It’s really fun to be editing a proof copy of the last installment of my trilogy, don’t get me wrong! I wrote yesterday about how beneficial I find it to go through my novels on paper as well as on the screen, and it’s definitely just that: beneficial. Helpful. Positive.

The only thing, I generally find my impatience and my perfectionism get in the way.

Most of the time, when I decide to mark a small change, such as in punctuation or a typo to fix, I’m fine. If I decide I can cut a snippet of dialogue attribution, or say, a short paragraph in it’s entirety, it’s great. I just draw a line through.

But when a bigger change is involved–one substantial enough that I can’t really “fix it” on the printed page, just mark a general note of the edit to be made–I find that I get really antsy. I want to make the fix now. If it’s going to be an odd one, or take a while, or be difficult, I want to get it out of the way and under my belt. So I stop my reading/marking procedure to go to the doc on the computer and make the edit.

turn ON!!! Why are you so slow? WHY? Don't you edits are waiting????Oh wait, I get it. You're in league with Skynet, aren't you? Don't think I don't know....

turn ON!!! Why are you so slow? WHY? Don’t you edits are waiting????
Oh wait, I get it. You’re in league with Skynet, aren’t you? Don’t think I don’t know….

I drive myself nuts with the back and forth! Sometimes I forget where I am in the print version, and which changes I’ve corrected on the computer and which I haven’t yet. It can be a disaster that way.

So, I’m determined not to do that this time. DETERMINED. I need to be more focused. Steadier. Quicker. I need to get a release date in line! So I’ve come up with this strategy

  • I’ll set chapter breaks: as in, mark up a chapter, then transmit the changes to the computer file. And except for each chapter interval, when I’m allowed to go make changes, the computer file is off limits to me.
  • I might use two colored pens in the book: red to mark changes I need to make, and then a different color to verify that the changes have been made on the computer once I make them. This will save me a lot of double-checking!

Hopefully this will help with both time management and my sanity. I need to get more organized in pretty much every aspect of my life. Why not start here? I can’t wait to see how it goes: OR to finally decide on a release date for “The King’s Sons”

SUDDEN STROKE OF GENIUS: I’ll set myself a deadline to announce a deadline. Okay, here goes: make sure to stop by on April 1st to learn the release date! And for the cover reveal. It won’t be any April’s fools, I promise! πŸ™‚

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11 responses to “What I hate about pen and paper editing (as great as it is!)

  1. forgingshadows

    I love editing on paper! I think it’s a big motivation to look at a stack of paper and see that it’s all something I’ve accomplished, and it’s all part of the same whole. Good luck with keeping it tidy!

  2. Oh goodness! I know how you feel. My original MS that I wrote I printed out, luckily before my computer decided to eat the file. So I wrote from the print copy, which the computer deleted two months later again. This process continued (in the land before USBs) for some years, until I grew so frustrated I shelved the project.

    I decided to take another crack at it last year during NaNoWriMo, and was killing myself over the 7 different versions of the MS I had. I eventually ended up buying 5 highlighters. Yellow for keeping as it is, purple for cutting, blue for reworking, green as an earmark for plot that needs to be concluded elsewhere and pink for “finished typing, ignore!” It was such a hassle. That’s also when I fell in love with Scrivener and it’s multiple note taking options, haha.

    Lesson learned is that I like having a paper to edit from, but only in small doses. It sounds like your system will save you significant headache!

    • oh my gosh, I’m so sorry you lost your MS b/c of technology!!! that’s my worst nightmare. Glad you had a print copy!!!

      I’ve never used highlighters myself on my proof copies but that’s a fabulous idea, Alex!!!! thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚ I’ll have to keep highlighters in mind and maybe try proofs a bit earlier in the process next time. It’s fun to shake things up and try something new!!

      • Yeah, at least computers are a bit more reliable now, and NOW I have an external HD and my trusty USBs. In the end, it was okay because the writing was absolutely horrid. I had to start from scratch anyway. πŸ˜‰

        I agree! I love shaking it up! Looking forward to the unveiling of the cover!

  3. I do the whole on-paper edit before I go to the computer with them. That’s actually on my agenda for today! If I went back and forth, my head would probably explode…!

  4. I can’t wait to see the book cover! I printed my book out and then went through it. I really liked that process.

  5. Pingback: The Pros and Cons of Writing Fiction on Paper First | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

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