Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paper or PC?

I was talking to a friend, a fellow writer, about the different methods she uses when editing. I've learned that no matter how diligent I think I have been, no matter how closely I am sure I've read and re-read the new text, I'm unable to effectively (without mistakes) edit on my laptop. This makes me sad because my shiny, silver MacBook Pro is a haven for fancy editing-type paraphernalia and programs all just waiting for me to use them the way they were meant to be.

I have to print out a copy of the chapter or passage that I'm working on, take my trusty mechanical pencil in hand and start marking. If I try to make my edits in Word or Scrivener without paper assistance, mistakes abound. Not just tiny typos--big giant WTF could that sentence possibly mean type errors. I find it a strange quirk because I can write spreadsheets, insert formulas, check and double check the authenticity of the data and all without having to print a hardcopy. Why, doesn't this perk/talent/quirk transfer to the written word? Is it a 'numbers versus verse' anomaly?

I try to be as green as the next person by recycling paper or re-using the edited chapters as scratch paper for the kids math homework, but I get the feeling that many many trees might have to sacrifice themselves for my cause. Sorry, can't help myself. Wish things were different.

What is the most effective way for you to edit? On paper or via your computer? A combination perhaps?

I'm sure that this Nike commercial featuring Roger Federer is not new, but I only just found it and find it hilarious:

I'm sure that many of us aspiring writers feel just the same way as Roger's "coach" (love that guy from Flight of the Conchords) when we think of or encounter the masters in our genre.

Enjoy it.


Pamela Cayne said...

I wish I could offer some kind of reasonable opinion here, but the cold hard truth is just like every book I've written takes me on a different journey of how I write, so does the editing! I've done different kinds of print-outs, Word revisions, but oddly enough, though I am a Scrivener disciple, I've never edited there. I think it just goes to show how instinctive writing is to every one of us!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, I need paper for editing, too. Really, it's just that simple. I do as much as I can on my desktop and laptop, but I can't do a REAL edit until I've printed out the pages. As for Roger F., he might just have to join Bon Jovi if he keep playin' like that ;).

Pamala Knight said...

Pamela dear,
It's calming to know that your process is different with each work. Instinctive is a very good way to describe that individuality which not only allows for a wide range of stories, but also makes us each unique.

Hi Marilyn!
I'll share hiding space with you when the Save the Trees foundation comes gunning for us both ;-). We might need to stock some chocolate, for bribery purposes of course. Glad you liked Roger's rock star turn too.

elegantextracts said...

Instead of printing, simply change the font and size. It makes your pages look like a totally different story and you are forced to pay attention. Times New Roman is the scourge of the publishing world!

Eliza Evans said...

You know, I have a couple of different editing methods. I do like to edit by hand -- next time I see you, remind me to show you the bracketing method I learned at school -- but if I'm doing a big honking rewrite, I open two word windows and retype from one to the other. That's why I might abandon my Macbook for an iMac. I need more screen real estate.

Pamala Knight said...

Teresa I'll definitely have to try that trick. Save the passage/chapter/etc. in another doc with a totally different font. I'd like to hear more about why TNR is the script of the devil please ;-).

Thanks for the tips and I'll look forward to the tips and demonstration when next I see you. Don't know if you'll be at Arlington Heights tonight but I'll bring my Mac just in case. *waves*