Old Fashioned Editing

Today, I printed out my manuscript and bought a red pen.

I posted recently that I was going back to the beginning to do an editing run, and I thought I would settle into the rhythm of pruning my manuscript piece by piece, and honing every sentence. Instead, I ended up staring at my computer making all sorts of disgruntled expressions, McKayla Maroney-esque, and wanting to circle words and make squiggly lines under the bad sentences and scrawl notes in all the margins. Someone needs to make a computer program (maybe someone already has?) where you can type things and then draw on and around the typing. Until then, there’s old-timey paper and pen. I can’t seem to find the mojo to work on the thing as a clean manuscript; I keep noticing things that I know need to be fixed, to be added, to be cleaned up, but the existing text feels sedentary and I can’t always make it right in one go. This way, I can at least make a note of things, and nothing is quite so satisfying as making a note of something in a red pen. It makes the thing thing feel accounted for. Also, in the margins, I can write questions and toss out multiple solutions without feeling like I’m dirtying up my manuscript or increasing my word count with drivel. Yes, there are computer programs that allow you to place notes in the side, but I’m not using any of them right now, and besides: it’s really nice to not be staring at a computer screen for once. Hopefully, getting away from the computer and confronting my work on the page will jog my creativity, and be one more important step on the way to a finished product. So far, the first eleven of one hundred and thirty-five pages (size 13, 1.3 spacing) are covered in red, and it feels good.

Big news! My best friend Lady Higg, who you’ve heard so much about, has started a beer blog called Ales to Lagers. Check it out! http://alestostouts.wordpress.com/


6 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Editing

  1. Oh man! Part 2 of this adventure has commenced. =D And yes, while you can do many things on the computer, there’s just nothing like printing something out and going over it and drawing notes and those squiggly-lines that you mentioned. 🙂 Progress!

  2. Congrats on your squiggles! Just goes to show you how the revision process is just as individual as the writing process. When I tried to do a print out I took a look at the stack of paper and froze, but when I transferred it to my Kindle and read it like any other book I stopped hyperventilating. 🙂 Of course I still have to make notes, but I use my Stars Wars moleskine. 🙂

    • Your comment is amusing because for me, printing it out IS reading it like any other book—the only time I’ve used a kindle was when I borrowed my brother’s to read most of Game of Thrones while I was visiting. Every step of the process is individual, as you say… but your Star Wars moleskine sounds particularly bad-ass :).

    • Thanks! I like the layout better too, and I went ahead and bought the upgrade so I can pretty much do what I want with it, if I’m willing to take the time to figure out how.

  3. Pingback: Let’s Stop Writing Lazy « Grace Makley

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