Now that Camp Nano is over, I’ve turned my attention back from short stories to a novella I’m editing. (Well, first I slept a lot. Then I went back to editing.)
I am–and always have been–an ‘edit on the computer’ kind of girl. It’s always seemed more practical to me, especially considering what a tangled mess my first drafts tend to be. After all, anything paper can do, computers can do better, right? (Obviously not, or the title of the post would be a bit superfluous, but let me run with this anyway…) I can color large blocks of text that need fixing. I can insert new scenes. I can leave myself little notes right in the text. And I save the unnecessary expense of paper and ink, which can be substantial if you’re printing a double spaced novel.
So, that’s all good and rational. But then I was talking to a beloved writer friend who is currently editing her trilogy, and she vastly prefers editing on paper. She was telling me about sitting down with the nice stack of pages and a fistful of highlighters and a brilliant color scheme for corrections, and good and rational Olivia might have dozed off. Instead, four-year-old Olivia returned to pout and want everyone else’s toys in addition to her own.
All metaphors aside, editing on paper sounds really nice. It sounds so official and professional, and I like the idea of getting away from the computer screen for a bit. And I haven’t actively used highlighters since the high school days. Whenever I see all my markers and such in the drawer, they look so lonely.
But now the question becomes ‘when?’ I doubt I’ll feel comfortable printing this out more than once, and my drafts go through many levels of messiness before they’re finished. Do I print the very first draft? There are SO many changes needed right now: new scenes and reworked scenes. If I print it now, it’s not really the full story. But I know myself: if I edit on the computer before printing, I’ll specifically put off correcting things so that I’ll have the joy of highlighting it on paper later, and that seems neither productive, nor sane.
Does anyone out there edit on paper? I find I draw inspiration from hearing other writers talk about their methods and why certain techniques work for them, so if anyone could share tales of office supplies and colors and creative chaos, it would be much appreciated!