My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

I printed off my chapter for critique today and it’s amazing how many errors I find once it’s on paper as opposed to on the computer screen.

I’m not sure why that’s the case with me. I tend to find more errors and more ways of clarifying something in a sentence or paragraph when I have an actual pen in hand. This doesn’t seem to be the case when I’m editing another person’s work though–only my own.

I’ve come to the conclusion that once this draft is done, I am printing it all out. Then I will go over it on hard copy as well as on screen too. Yes, that seems like infinitely more work but I think I’ll find more this way. At least, this is what I am planning.

I wonder–are there other writers out there who do this? Let me know what you end up doing in the editing process–I’m curious 🙂


Comments on: "Editing: On Screen or On Paper?" (9)

  1. It’s the same for me as well. I can find more errors on paper, because my eyes are trained to just fly over words when they’re on screen.

  2. Well, I sometimes write on paper or add to what I’ve written by sitting down with a print off. I did edit my whole book like this on the first draft and I think it was a waste of my paper. Mostly because it seemed to encourage me to see all the leaves on the trees, rather than the forest. What I WISH I’d done after the first draft and did do after the second draft was go through each chapter and detail what each character did. Then for each character, ask why they did it – because of whose action? What is the cost of failure? Do that in every scene of your book. It’s tedious, but necessary. You’ll see the value once you see major holes open beneath your plot or dangling red herrings you suggested and never used, blah blah blah. By the way, this is just one step in Cheryl Klein’s Art of Detection method of editing. Cheryl edited Elizabeth Bunces’ Curse Dark as Gold, which won the William Morris award that year. 🙂 For the rest of Cheryl’s editing tips, check out Once you’re done with the steps she lists, you’ll have a polished manuscript that WILL need a full print out before you can begin to nitpick each tiny leafbud to see where to cut. Otherwise, save a tree. 🙂

  3. I have to do it all to have a chance. On screen, printed, and read aloud. I’ve copied chapters into the word pad and used the text-to-voice function too, and that really helped me to get a better handle on flow, even with the awful robot voice. Happy editing!

  4. I do it both ways. I just finished a draft of a book and have printed it off, but I think I might just do a complete rewrite with this one. I like Victoria’s idea about detailing the character’s movements.

  5. I notice more mistakes when I print it out and hold a pen too.

  6. I agree. And there’s something somewhat satsfying about scratching stuff up with a red pen. Unfortunately I don’t have access to a printer 😦 Maybe I’ll get one though.

  7. i’m more of an edit-as-you-go kind of person. i can’t sit down to write any new words until i’ve finished editing through the old ones.. so while i’ve tried editing on paper, it doesn’t really work for me 😦 i like the IDEA of editing on paper tho. hehe.

    sometimes, though, as i’m going through the MS i’ll make little notes about what i need to address. that tends to help 😀

    hehe best of luck with everything!!

  8. I try to force myself to edit onscreen to save paper, but I much prefer paper, and have printed out a gazillion pages over the course of writing my book.

  9. P.S. Nothing is better for editing content, though, than reading aloud. Doesn’t help with typos, though.

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